Killing Eve just returned for its third season and the backdrop of the compelling cat-and-mouse game has gotten even bigger. We may know the show for its largely London locale, but this season promises a deeper dive into the British capital, stunning Spanish homes, and the far-flung edges of rural Russia. Come for charming psychopath Villanelle (Jodie Comer) as unofficial MI6 agent Eve (Sandra Oh) quite literally goes to the ends of the Earth to track her down, stay for the gorgeous architecture.
The scope of the show has grown immensely since season 1. Not even the creators of the show could have anticipated the large scale at which the show operates now. “When we first started season 1, we thought we would probably do two-thirds on location and one-third in the studio, but now the story has dictated that we are a location show,” executive producer Sally Woodward Gentle told Architectural Digest. “We really wanted to go places this season that shows don’t normally go, which is quite hard in Western Europe, as most places have been used [for filming].”
One thing Killing Eve has always managed to do, whether set in London, France, or somewhere else entirely, is capture the chaotic movement and dramatic changes of scenery Eve experiences when doing her best to keep up with her unpredictable and compelling target, Villanelle. This dynamic posed a challenge for the show’s creators.
“We spend an enormous amount of time going through airports this season, and we burn sets like crazy; Villanelle does not stand still,” explained production designer Laurence Dorman. However, it is this challenge that helped gain Killing Eve the loyal following it has, quickly catapulting it to the status of cult favourite.
To say that Killing Eve is based in London wouldn’t be the most accurate statement. Yes, it started there, and Eve lives there when she is not risking life and limb to track down Villanelle. But the map of the show is much broader. Still, London serves as an important location for Killing Eve. This season, the home of British head of MI6’s Russia team, Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw), is a gorgeous mid-century modern house in the northern London neighbourhood of Highgate. Also, we see the London offices of Bitter Pill, an online publication. At the start of season 3, we find Eve hiding out in New Malden, London’s Koreatown, quite a ways from the bustling central London many associate with both the city and the show.
Barcelona houses one of the most gorgeous locations used in season 3, especially if you’re Villanelle. The trained assassin finds herself with a new apartment in the Spanish city that was as much a dream for her as it was the show’s set designers. “We came across this incredible apartment with Spanish interiors, a Moorish influence, textured glass colours, lovely light control, and the whole thing was spectacularly different from anything I had ever seen,” Dorman told AD. “We decided on the spot that has to be it.”
Not everything filmed in a television show is as it seems, and Killing Eve is not above a little movie magic. A house in Russia wasn’t actually shot there at all. All exterior shots were of a house in Romania with the interior set entirely on a London soundstage. “The season’s biggest build was a Russian house interior that Dorman completely matched to the exterior location, building the dimensions slightly bigger in the studio and creating a beautifully conceived set with connecting rooms and a staircase,” said Woodward Gentle.
Watch Killing Eve Sunday, 9pm on BBC One.