When we last saw the TV character Eve Polastri, she was crumpled on the stony ground of some ancient Roman ruins. She had been shot.
So the natural question as Season 3 of sharp-edged spy thriller “Killing Eve” starts on Sunday is: Is Eve dead? The answer from the creators of the hit series is a resounding: “Are you kidding?”
“Nah,” says the show’s executive producer Sally Woodward Gentle with a hearty laugh. Fans have also approached actress Jodie Comer, whose character shot Eve at the end of season 2. “I’m like, ‘C’mon, guys! C’mon!’ I love that people are so involved,” she says.
Eve may not be dead, but she’s keeping a low profile when season 3 kicks off on BBC America and AMC. Comer, who won an Emmy Award for playing the assassin Villanelle, says the action picks up six months after the shooting in Rome.
Eve, played by Golden Globe-winner Sandra Oh, is trying to live a normal life, working at a restaurant, somewhat protected by the fact that Villanelle thinks she’s dead.
“That is very short lived,” Comer says. “There is a visitor from her past who she is definitely not expecting or ready for. That takes her on a different course again.” Any guesses on who that visitor might be?
Season 2′s shocking ending was a mirror of the way season 1 ended, which had Eve plunge a knife into Villanelle’s belly.
Since then, Eve’s life has alarmingly unraveled even more — not just her marriage and job with a secret British intelligence unit but also her ethics. Season 2 saw Eve murder someone with an ax. (“How did it feel?” Villanelle asked her earnestly. “Wet,” Eve said flatly.)
Season 3 promises to be less hectic. “There’s much more an air of calmness, strangely, than in previous seasons where they’re chasing each other, they’re shooting each other in the back,” Comer says.
“They’ve arrived at a very different place, and I think that’s due to what these women experienced in the season apart from each other. They both go through life-altering events, which unify them in a strange sort of way.”
Gentle says both Eve and Villanelle look inward this time. The assassin thought she was an orphan, but that may not be the case, and new characters make “her question who she is and how whole she is as a human being,” Gentle says. “And Eve, at the same time, is questioning everything she’s known, too.”
The cat-and-mouse will continue, of course. The relationship between Eve and Villanelle is complex, with elements of infatuation, mutual respect, envy and loathing.
The final scene of Season 2 included Villanelle saying to Eve, “You love me, I love you.” To which Eve retorted “You don’t know what that is.” Villanelle, enraged, responded with a bullet.
Comer says she and Oh are constantly renegotiating their onscreen relationship. “That’s what’s so great about it: You can’t put your finger on it,” she says. “It’s constantly shifting and it’s constantly changing.”
The lead writer and executive producer for the third season is Suzanne Heathcote and season 4′s main writer is Laura Neal, who was in the writer’s room for season 3. Gentle is proud of the fact that the show has been women-led, beginning with season 1′s showrunner Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
“It’s an arena where women can come and write their best, most entertaining, most provocative work but at the same time can have a slightly different voice each time,” Gentle says. “What has been exciting is to find newer, female voices.”