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TV Review: Killing Eve

Cat and
mouse:
Russian
assassin
Villanelle
(Jodie Comer)
with MI5
agent Eve
(Sandra Oh) PICTURE: JASON BELL

REVIEW

Killing Eve

BBC1/BBC3 ★★✩✩✩

YOU know when a friend says ‘I want you to meet this new guy/girl I’ve met, you’ll get on really well’? Your heart sinks because being told you’ll get on really well pretty much guarantees that you won’t? That’s where I am with Killing Eve.

Because we should get on really well. Based on novels by Luke Jennings, it’s written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge — and my devotion to her show Fleabag is unequivocal. Killing Eve has the same whipsmart dialogue, sharply written characters and offbeat humour.

It stars Jodie Comer and Grey’s Anatomy’s Sandra Oh — two great actors and both of them terrific here.

The trouble is, the show is all just so cold and knowing, an in-joke stuffed with unbelievable characters.

Write about what you know, so the saying goes, and Waller-Bridge obviously knows her Tarantino and Bond. But the shooting and spying stuff is pure cartoon.

Of course, you know the cool people — the people Killing Eve seems so obviously aimed at — will already have seen it months ago via some subversive means or other. So, of course, it’s riding the crest of in-the-know word-of-mouth.

But after a bright start — who doesn’t like to see cute kids get their ice creams totalled? — the excitement rapidly starts to pall.

The cat and mouse cross-continental adventures of Oh’s MI5 officer Eve and Comer’s Russian assassin Villanelle are meant as black comedy but struggled to make me laugh for long.

Maybe it’s just that I don’t find people wandering around killing people in gruesome fashion that funny, however stylishly it’s pulled off. Which made for a mighty long BBC3 binge-watch.

By the time Killing Eve found what passed for a heart, way late in the day, mine had virtually stopped beating.