In this somewhat special period punctuated by the coronavirus, confinement rhymes a lot with screens. It is an opportunity to discover films, binge-watcher series, to catch nuggets next to which we would have passed for lack of time. That’s good, Killing Eve, which is simply one of the best series of the moment, is available on myCanal. Confined to office work that is not very exciting, MI5 agent Eve Polastri is frustrated by a very monotonous existence. Until the day when she finds herself tracking down a serial killer psychopath nicknamed Villanelle … Here are three good seasons to discover this little thriller gem, created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, British writing genius behind Fleabag and led by the exceptional duet of actresses that make up Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer.
Brilliant writing that renews the genre
It was therefore Phoebe Waller-Bridge, showrunner of the first season of the series produced by BBC America, who set the tone: Killing Eve will an absolute nugget of bad spirit, feminist and sharp, or will not be. The least we can say is that the recipe works, because even though season 3 has just started, the show has already been renewed for a fourth season. Killing Eve, adapted from a series of short stories by Luke Jennings compiled in a book called Codename Villanelle, takes up a traditional recipe of many thrillers that we have seen in recent years: that of the hero who relentlessly tracks down his antagonist, his nemesis, often at the risk of his mental health and his life, driven as much by his professional conscience as by an unhealthy fascination. Except that it transposes it to the feminine.
The transposition of a hero configuration against antagonist that one can consider as usual, to two female characters, well written, complex, disturbing and endearing, immediately gives Killing Eve an innovative breath. And by transposing the model, Phoebe Waller-Bridge deconstructs it. From the pilot, we understood that it was partly to show that telling a story that some would qualify as classic with another point of view is enough to dust off the concept.
A mostly female creative team
The production team is predominantly female, as is that of the scriptwriters, and most of the episodes are directed by women. As for the position of showrunner, it is renewed each season and always occupied by a showrunneuse. So, after Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the seat was occupied by Emerald Fennell in season, then by Suzanne Heathcote this year for season 3, and it’s Laura Neal who should direct operations for the upcoming season 4. The soundtrack, meanwhile, is mainly composed of titles interpreted by female voices: that of Jade Vincent, singer of the group Unloved, resounds several times, and we also hear Françoise Hardy, Anna Karina or Brigitte Bardot.
However, Killing Eve is not only written for the attention of a female audience (who could have felt underrepresented on the screen – and rightly so – in a genre that is particularly fond of women) , but shows on the contrary that one can inject feminism into an otherwise rhythmic work by the feminine without leaving the male audience aside. Men also need heroines, written and directed by women. The world needs heroines, and antiheroines.
Actresses (and actors) who burst the screen
Killing Eve may be brilliant, black at will and carefully staged, she would be nothing without her actors. First, without the masterful interpretation of its two main performers: Sandra Oh, whom we already adored in Grey’s Anatomy, captivating and fair in the role of Eve Polastri, brutally removed from her very boring everyday life and to whom one offers the unexpected possibility of testing one’s investigative talent and thereby its limits; and Jodie Comer, whom we knew less about in France and who is a real revelation in the role of Villanelle, whose cruelty, matched only by his humor and his love of beautiful things, delights us at every moment.
Their performances, which respond to and complement each other, are enhanced by those, less flamboyant but just as impeccable, of supporting roles: Fiona Shaw at the head of section director of the M6 with an iron fist, Sean Delaney in devoted side-kick, Owen McDonnell as an abandoned husband or Kim Bodnia as a disillusioned mentor. We sincerely attach ourselves to all this little world and we ask for more, as the mechanics are well oiled. After a season 1 close to perfection, season 2 has amply fulfilled its promises and we can already say that season 3, whose broadcast started last week, starts very strong. Fortunately, episode 2 is available today on myCanal.
The trailer for season 3: