One’s a psychopathic serial killer with a penchant for particularly gruesome deaths. The other is a resolute MI6 agent whose one, bloody-minded obsession is to track that serial killer down.
On-screen, the chemistry between agent Eve Polastri (played by Sandra Oh) and her assassin target, Villanelle Astankova (Jodie Comer), forms the beating heart of the BBC hit that is Killing Eve.
Their relationship – translated brilliantly by the show’s creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge – is both toxic and compelling, oscillating between passion, compulsion, admiration and an ever-present sense of foreboding.
Each woman recognises a glimmer of herself in the other. And both are, by turn, fascinated and repulsed by what they see.
But now Oh has revealed that the pair rarely discuss their dynamic off-screen. Why? They want to keep the suspense running high.
“We just play the scene,” Oh tells The Sunday Times, in a new interview out today. “There’s a lot of mystery that needs to happen to keep creating, and I think it’s better to let it be.”
Oh does admit, though, that her relationship with her fictional nemesis is truly dark; and set to get more intense in series 2.
“We really dive into the relationship between Eve and Villanelle,” Oh says, of the second instalment of Killing Eve. “If you’ve been in a bad, obsessive relationship, or if you’ve struggled with addiction, you’ll relate.
“I have and … let’s leave it at that!” the Golden Globe-winning actor adds.
Season 1 of Killing Eve has clocked up more than 26 million requests on iPlayer; in large part due to the magnetic power play that unfurls between the two lead protagonists.
“I believe Villanelle is definitely sexually attracted to Eve,” Comer has previously said. “But there are so many other elements to what that relationship is. It’s funny, because I find that every viewer has a different experience with the character. I’ve heard people say it’s maternal.”
Due to rights issues, Killing Eve series 2 is already airing in the States and is due to hit UK screens at some point next month.
The new season sees Waller-Bridge takes on the role of executive producer for the show, which is adapted from the novellas Codename Villanelle by author Luke Jennings. In her place, Emerald Fennell (who worked on E4’s Drifters) is the main writer.
Remind yourself of the delights that lie ahead with the new season trailer, below:
Images: BBC, Getty