Belfast Telegraph

Killing Eve: 'You want everyone to enjoy it as much as the first series'

When Killing Eve debuted last year, it became an instant hit. As the thriller returns, Georgia Humphreys gets the lowdown on series two

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri and Jodie Comer as Villanelle in Killing Eve
Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri and Jodie Comer as Villanelle in Killing Eve

By Georgia Humphreys

At the Bafta TV awards last month, there was one show in particular that everyone was talking about. BBC America's Killing Eve - a crime thriller which also has viewers laughing out loud - bagged three prizes at the ceremony, including Best Drama Series, Best Leading Actress for Jodie Comer and Best Supporting Actress for Fiona Shaw.

The first series was written by Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Call The Midwife actress Emerald Fennell is lead writer this time round) and followed a cat-and-mouse game which began between MI5 security officer Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and ruthless assassin Villanelle (Comer).

The eight episodes culminated in an incredibly tense scene between the pair (Eve stabbed Villanelle in a Paris apartment, remember?)

You'll be excited to hear the first episode of the new series jumps straight back into the action.

"I just feel like what was tricky and challenging picking the show up 30 seconds later is that you have to start with that type of energy," recalls Oh (47), before Comer (26) elaborates: "A lot of heavy breathing. A lot of being dizzy and hyperventilating."

"And in the first two episodes, Eve really tries to ground herself in the normalcy of her past life, which you see her not be able to do in the next episodes," continues Canadian Oh, who previously starred in hit US medical drama Grey's Anatomy.

What about Villanelle? Where is she at mentally when series two begins?

"We haven't seen her this way before, particularly physically," notes Liverpool-born Comer, whose other TV roles include Doctor Foster and My Mad Fat Diary. "I think she's surprised by how she's incapable of doing a lot physically - she can't get past that.

"She's extremely vulnerable. I think she's genuinely scared for her own life which we all know is the most important thing to her. And what I really enjoy about the opening two episodes is the people she meets along the way, who she uses to help her get out of the sticky situation that she's in."

We've seen Villanelle commit some shocking crimes in the past and there's plenty more of that to come in this series.

Asked whether she thinks Villanelle can ever be redeemed, Comer responds: "I think some people are bad and that's what they are and I don't think she should be redeemed.

"People think they have glimpses of hope where people go, 'Oh, my God, this woman is feeling remorse', or any sort of human emotion, and then all of a sudden she will do something that completely contradicts that.

"I think, within the show, what we're enjoying a little bit more, definitely in the second series, is living and looking through those moments."

As the show progressed, it became clear that Villanelle and Eve have an obsession with each other and part of that is, perhaps, down to sexual tension.

An important part of this season is the implications of the stabbing at the end of season one; it's as though that scene represented having sex with the enemy, but it affects both women in a completely different way.

"Symbolically, it's very intimate, so Villanelle's interpretation of the stabbing being an intimate act is not wrong," suggests Oh.

"I love playing on that symbolic level and then also playing the reality as much as I can - in that it's a television show - of what happens, the consequences."

A stylistic element of Killing Eve that really stands out is the fact it's filmed all over Europe - we can expect to see cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and London on our screens.

Comer admits it would be "crazy" not to feel pressure for the new episodes to live up to fans' expectations.

"But when you get on set, that definitely gets shut out. You can't think about other people's opinions; you just have to focus on your work. But, yeah, you want everyone to enjoy it just as much as they did in the first series."

Killing Eve, which is adapted from Luke Jennings' Codename Villanelle novellas, feels like a breath of fresh air when it comes to the spy genre, thanks to its tone, style and the fact it revolves around two complex, powerful and flawed women.

There's no denying its passionate and brilliant lead stars are delighted by the impact the programme has had on audiences.

"We're ecstatic about the reception," Oh exclaims. "It's very difficult to make television and it's almost impossible to have a show break through, especially now.

"So, the fact that it has, we're all naturally thrilled."

Killing Eve, BBC One, tonight, 9.15pm

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