Award-winning drama Killing Eve is back for its highly-anticipated second series, this time with Emerald Fennell taking over as writer from Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
It picks up the story of cold-blooded assassin Villanelle who is caught in a game of cat-and-mouse with a bored, desk-bound MI6 officer looking for danger and excitement.
Here’s who to look out for in the new eight-part series, with some new faces joining the returning cast.
Eve Polastri – Sandra Oh
When we first met Eve, she was sleepwalking through life as a bored, desk-bound MI5 officer - until she got the opportunity to join a secret MI6 project.
Eve began tracking assassin Villanelle, but became seduced by the glamour and danger of her target's life and developed a far closer relationship with her than she would admit at work.
Things got very real when Villanelle murdered her colleague and friend Bill, and began to come after Eve too, but series 1 ended on a cliffhanger when Eve broke into Villanelle's apartment and stabbed her.
Eve is played by Sandra Oh, best known for her long-running role in US medical drama Grey’s Anatomy in which she played Dr Cristina Yang for 12 years.
What’s in store for Eve in season two?
Eve’s journey in season two takes her to a psychologically dark place. She’s pushed to the limit in every way - in her marriage, at work, in her personality and sexually. She isolates herself because she’s so obsessed with Villanelle. Her personality starts to change because she foregoes a lot of her friendships to solve a new mystery and ultimately succeed in her job. Eve and Kenny have always had a lovely relationship and it is really pushed and tried this season. All her relationships are.
How does Eve and Villanelle’s relationship develop in season two?
It’s definitely deeper and is not so much a discovery anymore. It’s not only a chase, it’s understanding how to be in relation to each other. When they are in the same room, it’s too much energy. They’re like two sparks that explode when they are together, yet they need each other. Season two gets much more complicated.
What is it like working with Jodie Comer?
I love working with Jodie. We have gone deeper in our trust with each other as actors this season and it’s deeper between Eve and Villanelle too. When we shoot our scenes together it feels like there’s only the two of us there in that moment. And that’s the same between Villanelle and Eve. It’s only the two of them so it’s very intimate.
Villanelle – Jodie Comer
The sort of impossibly glamorous, psychopathic killer that Eve had thought only existed in fantasy, Villanelle is incredibly dangerous and has absolutely no conscience.
She is paid to kill people all over the world without question, which she happily does to maintain her luxurious Parisian lifestyle, but she can also be unpredictable and impulsive.
By the end of series 1, we'd seen Villanelle become just as obsessed with Eve, but her reaction to having been stabbed by the MI6 officer will be unexpected...
Jodie Comer will be familiar to viewers as Kate Parks in Doctor Foster, and also featured in the BBC Three thriller Thirteen as well as the series My Mad Fat Diary.
Can you tell us a bit about how things start for Villanelle in season two?
At the end of season one Eve and Villanelle have a little altercation... I don’t know if you remember but Eve stabs Villanelle! Season two picks up from that moment and Villanelle has to escape the apartment before she’s found. She’s in a pretty bad way and has to get herself out of that situation. As the story progresses, we find out how Villanelle reacts to Eve stabbing her. I’m not sure whether it’ll be what people expect her reaction to be, but it’s interesting.
Can we discuss the fantastic response season one received when it came out?
The reaction to season one was insane and unexpected. We all believed in the show and were so passionate when making it, but you can never second guess how the audience is going to take it. The response was enormous - there were some incredible Villanelle Halloween costumes and fan art. I’ve never been part of a show that’s had such an amazing reaction so it’s been lovely. It’s really nice coming to season two knowing that there are people eagerly waiting for the continuation of the story.
What’s in store for Villanelle this season?
The most interesting part about coming back to play Villanelle is the exploration of her emotions and feelings, or lack of them. A huge conflict arises in her head from how she thinks she feels about Eve and the other relationships in her life. I think that’s another reason why the audience took to her. There’s a flicker of humanity about her and just when we think we’ve found it, we lose it again. That’s probably really interesting for the audience to discover.
Niko Polastri – Owen McDonnell
Eve’s husband Niko is her opposite in many ways – horrified by violence and disgusted by her dark sense of humour when it comes to discussing assassins.
Nevertheless, they’re a loving couple and Eve knows Niko will always stand behind her…although she may live to regret not checking that he’s still there.
Series 2 sees their relationship hit trouble when Eve wants to delve into her darker side, but Niko struggles to cross that boundary with her.
Sandra said: "During the series he is forced to wake up to how deep, how far and how dark Eve has gone, but he can’t follow. Ultimately it’s disappointing for Eve because the success of a long-term relationship is if your partner can also change."
Owen McDonnell recently appeared in Paula, and also starred in Mount Pleasant.
Konstantin – Kim Bodnia
Villanelle’s handler recruits and manages assassins for a living, and isn’t afraid of anything except his most unhinged killer.
He’s the closest thing Villanelle has to family, but Konstantin knows that she is not to be trusted and is hoping to make as much money out of her as possible while he has her under control.
Kim Bodnia will be most recognisable to viewers for his role in hit TV series The Bridge, in which he played Martin.
Carolyn Martens – Fiona Shaw
Head of the Russia desk at MI6, Carolyn has saved the world at least three times and is determined to do so a fourth by setting up a secret unit investigating a string of apparently unrelated assassinations.
She admires Eve’s enthusiasm and, whilst not being a maverick herself, loves to hire them for her department, but as series 1 progressed and we saw Carolyn's connections with some dodgy characters, her motives began to seem a little murky.
Fiona Shaw played Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter films and has also appeared in True Blood.
What’s in store for Carolyn this season?
We’ve now closed the splinter group and gone back to join MI6 with a couple of new team members. We are trying to solve a case where a powerful media mogul has been murdered and it doesn’t seem to be a Villanelle kill. There’s now a pursuit of another killer, so two killers on the loose. In this season, Carolyn floats above a lot. She knows an enormous amount that the others don’t know, and is sometimes playing a longer game than her behaviour might appear to show.
Can you describe Carolyn?
The personality needed to work in MI6 seems very particular. It’s not warm and cuddly because you have to be wary of everything everyone says to you. You also have to be very careful of what you say, how you behave and who you love. I’m sure Carolyn loves her son Kenny, but she can’t show it because you can’t afford to have any weakness. It makes for good tension.
I suspect that Carolyn has had a series of disastrous relationships, because in the end, the love of this particular type of work dominates people’s lives completely. That makes her intriguing. Carolyn and her team are always looking for behavioural excesses. Most of us don’t believe that people behave outside of the pendulum swing, but they definitely do in Killing Eve, and nothing surprises Carolyn.
Kenny Stowton – Sean Delaney
Kenny is a computer whiz-kid, a former hacker recruited by MI6 who is brilliant at what he does, but in the first series it was revealed that he'd got into the service as Carolyn's son.
What’s in store for Kenny this season?
Kenny is the IT genius within the new MI6 team that Carolyn has put together called Operation Mandalay. He’s clever at what he does, but not so clever when it comes to social interaction, and very much in the shadow of his mother. His moral core however, is probably stronger than anyone else there.
He is loyal to Eve but concerned about her choices. He’s probably started washing a bit more now he shares an office. In season one a lot of the story follows his job, but as it goes on we begin to see the personal side of things taking hold of him. We look at his relationship with his mother, his relationship with his job, and his relationship with his co-workers. In season two we see a lot more personal costs of the job.
What is the mother and son relationship like between Kenny and Carolyn?
Quite early doors in season one, I think it was Fiona or Sandra who were joking about how similar Carolyn and Kenny were, and then Phoebe Waller-Bridge just ran with the genius idea of Carolyn being Kenny’s mother. She probably brought him into the office knowing his skills and how he interacts. She must have known there wouldn’t be many other jobs out there for him.
It’s an incredibly weird relationship which is really complicated. It adds a lot of comic relief throughout the first season, but when you delve into it you start to realise that this lad has a mother who is travelling around the world doing top secret work and so there hasn’t been much of a relationship between them. As he gets older, we start to see the effects of him not having a stable or normal mother figure. A lot more of that creeps into this series.
Jess - Nina Sosanya
New for series 2 is Jess, an experienced MI6 agent who's worked with Carolyn in the field for many years, but is now coming back into the office as her circumstances have changed.
She's played by Nina Sosanya, who described her as an ambiguous character and said: "She’s an old hand, an experienced agent, who is settling down and about to have a child.
Nina has previously appeared in W1A, Last Tango in Halifax, and Strike Back.
Can you describe Jess?
Jess is an MI6 agent who has been working with Carolyn for many years out in the field and is now based in the office. She’s an old hand, an experienced agent, who is settling down and about to have a child. You can’t quite tell how much she’s welcoming the prospect of motherhood in that she’ll have to leave behind her career. She’s going to do both up until a certain point, but she’s in a position where she could throw caution to the wind and be a bit reckless. Seeing Eve go off the rails means she wants to temper that a little though. She’s an interesting character because she’s quite ambiguous and you don’t really know what her ultimate aim is.
How does it feel to be part of a female-led ensemble that is breaking down genre conventions?
The show is packed full of interesting, unexpected female characters and none of them are stereotypes. We also see females in positions of power having to fight against the old-boy network. Jess finds that irritating but rolls up her sleeves and has a go. The thing that really attracted me to this show was the calibre of the acting and the actors. Having two female protagonists at the forefront of the show is quite new for the spy genre. It’s becoming more prevalent, but I can only think of Cagney and Lacey as examples!
It shows that as long as it’s character driven, the plots are exciting and the script is excellent, you don’t actually notice how many women are part of the show. Then you start to notice that there aren’t enough of them in other shows. It’s not an unusual world to be in, where there are lots of women, because that’s the world we actually live in.
Hugo - Edward Bluemel
The other new member of the team this series is Hugo, who's walked into a job at MI6 through family connections and a privileged education at Eton and Oxford.
Edward has previously appeared in The Halcyon, A Discovery of Witches, and Sex Education.
What can you tell us about Hugo?
Hugo is a young, new member of the MI6 team who has walked (or blagged) his way into the job through family connections. He’s almost an intern, the whipping boy, doing all the dogsbody work. He comes from a very wealthy background with the ultimate education, having been to Eton and Oxford. He’s very intelligent and incredibly ambitious. He’s not afraid to step over people to get what he wants.
Despite being the lowest member of the team, he’s got his eyes on bigger things. His upbringing and background made it quite easy for him and he hasn’t had to work as hard as the other members of the team. People like him and find him affable, but under the surface there’s something quite dark there. He’s an interesting character as we haven’t really met anyone like him before in this show - basically a privileged posh male! He’s the epitome of what the show isn’t about, but brings a different perspective to season two.
Can you describe the relationship between Hugo and Eve?
Eve is a woman on the edge, on a knife edge. In season two you don’t know which way she’s going to go: is she going to stick with the people and life that she knows or is she going to abandon that completely for a life of excitement and drama with Villanelle?
When Hugo and Eve first meet they spend a while sussing each other out. Hugo would quite like a job like Eve’s. He respects her and sees her as an inspiration, but his way of handling things is to undermine, manipulate and charm. They are stand-offish with each other to start with and don’t give each other much time, but as they get to know each other they find similarities in their characters and establish a strange kind of connection. It’s a slow burner throughout the series as they dig deeper into each other’s personalities.
Julian - Julian Barratt
The comic is best known being part of the surreal comedy troupe The Might Boosh with Noel Fielding.
His TV career includes roles in Nathan Barley, Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, Sally4Ever and the sitcom Flowers.
Aaron Peel - Henry Lloyd-Hughes
The young star is best known for playing Mark Donovan in The Inbetweeners and roles including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Parade's End, Indian Summers and Weekender.
Raymond - Adrian Scarborough
The much-loved English actor is best known for playing Pete in the BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey.
He's also a renowned film, TV and theatre act, who you may recognise from The Madness of King George, Gosford Park, The History Boys, The King's Speech and Cranford.
Helen Jacobson - Zoe Wanamaker
The nine-time Olivier Award-winner makes a cameo in Killing Eve season two's fourth episode.
You will recognise the actress from TV roles My Family, Mr Selfridge, Prime Suspect and Girlfriends. Her movie career includes Wilde, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and My Week with Marilyn.
Eve returns on Saturday, June 8 at 9.15pm on BBC One.
Never miss an episode with BT TV – watch the full season 1 + 2 box set on the iPlayer app.