Fiona Shaw’s Killing Eve character Carolyn Martens is the best thing about the show. It’s just a fact of life.
Head of the Russia Section at MI6, Carolyn is ruthless, impeccably-dressed and has a penchant for eating sausages and cheese puffs (not at the same time).
Shaw steals every scene she’s in throughout the Bafta-winning first series of the assassin thriller with her dry delivery. And in a second season where the humour is generally less discreet, her subtle excellence continues to shine through.
In celebration of Carolyn Martens ahead of season two, we’ve made a list of all of her best moments from the series so far…
“You might want to make him think you’re having an affair, then.”
Carolyn recruits Eve as a special agent in the milk aisle of a corner shop, Killing Eve (BBC)
Eve being recruited as a secret agent at the end of episode one is a fantastic set-up for the rest of the series – and trust Carolyn to deliver the news not only in a corner shop, of all places, but also in the most mischievous and mysterious way.
“They all think we’re having affairs before they think we’re secret agents,” says Carolyn, telling Eve she better buy some milk to avoid her husband becoming suspicious.
“Niko would assume I was an agent before ever thinking that I was having an affair,” protests Eve.
“You might want to make him think you’re having an affair, then,” smiles Carolyn.
Carolyn is caught casually sleeping and/or meditating in a restaurant
Carolyn having some time-out, Killing Eve (BBC)
Carolyn appears to be indulging in a cat nap, or a spot of mindfulness, while waiting for Eve in a central London restaurant. It’s a wonderfully weird and peaceful moment.
“Extraordinary” – Carolyn tells a story about a rat drinking a can of Coke with both hands
Carolyn tells Eve the profoundly moving rat story, Killing Eve (BBC)
As Carolyn opens the door to her secret MI6 base, she glances down at the bins outside, turns to Eve with utter sincerity and says: “I once saw a rat drink from a can of Coke there. Both hands. Extraordinary.”
Carolyn responds to a crisis
Carolyn contemplating a cigarette, Killing Eve (BBC)
When Carolyn discovers that Villanelle has given her name as Eve Polastri at the scene of a murder, the game of cat and mouse truly begins.
Carolyn’s brilliantly relatable crisis response is to wish she was a smoker so she could de-stress with a cigarette.
“Do you smoke?” Carolyn asks Eve, and when Eve responds that she doesn’t, Carolyn muses: “Nor do I, shame, now it’d be good.”
“Take a minute. Look at the sausages.”
This is another example of Carolyn responding to a crisis – but this time the remedy is sausages, not cigarettes.
Eve enters the butchers in a state of panic after discovering that Frank is the mole in the organisation, and to calm her down Carolyn says: “Take a minute. Look at the sausages.”
There are many references to sausages throughout the series because season one writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge “loves a sausage gag”, according to the show’s producer Sally Woodward Gentle.
Carolyn ends the conversation with a legendary sign off: “Stay nourished, get some chops. I’ll be in touch.”
Definitely stealing that one.
“Oh dear, I’m bordering on the profound. Bed.”
Carolyn has had a complicated love life. “For me,” she tells Eve, “it was always the ones that I liked the least that I loved the most.
“Maybe it was the fact that I loved them that made me dislike them so much.”
Catching herself, she downs her drink and adds: “Oh dear, I’m bordering on the profound. Bed.”
The moment in Killing Eve’s season one finale when we learn that Carolyn brings cheese puffs with her everywhere she goes – in a sandwich bag resealable for freshness, of course – was arguably the biggest and most important reveal of the series.
Killing Eve series two begins on Saturday 8th June at 9.15pm on BBC1, after which the entire series will be available immediately to stream on BBC iPlayer