Everyone’s excited for the second season of BBC America’s Killing Eve, a whip-smart take on the cat-and-mouse procedural that set two incredible women against each other and quickly became one of the hottest TV shows of 2018. In fact, its ratings actually increased every week – something basically unheard of these days.
The series features Grey’s Anatomy star Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, a role which won her both a Golden Globe and an Emmy in the past year. But what of her onscreen partner in crime? Lesser known actress Jodie Comer plays Villanelle, a highly skilled assassin who loves killing people almost as much as she adores luxury fashion. Her complicated, and messy performance has won her accolades from all corners of the entertainment industry.
But who is she? Where have you seen her before? We run down eight of her best previous roles – and take a look at two exciting new productions headed our way.
10 The White Princess
The second installment in Starz’s lavish period drama series about the women of Tudor England, The White Princess tells the story of Elizabeth of York. A York princess forced to marry the Lancaster prince who became King Henry VII, their wedding united their fighting families at the end of the War of the Roses.
Jodie Comer stars as the Princess Elizabeth, and her transformation from frightened, naïve girl to a steely monarch the equal of any in her court is exhilarating to watch. Long live the queen, indeed.
9 Rillington Place
This period drama follows the story of one of Britain’s most famous serial killers. John Reginald Christie killed at least eight women, including his own wife, in the 1940s and early 1950s and hid their bodies around his property. (Yikes.)
Comer plays Beryl Evans, one of Christie’s unfortunate victims, whom he kills alongside her young daughter. A tragic figure to be sure, she is also a young woman struggling against a life that hasn’t turned out quite the way she wanted. And her story is one of the most interesting pieces of what is otherwise a dark and ghoulish tale.
8 Doctor Foster
It’s not easy playing the Other Woman in a love triangle. That's especially true on a show that’s based around the wife whose husband you’re having an affair with (i.e the titular Doctor Foster.) Yet Comer manages to make Kate Parks a three-dimensional, fascinating and even occasionally sympathetic figure.
During her two seasons on the show, Kate became something much more than just a stereotypical mistress for the audience to hate. She’s manipulative, disruptive and petulant, sure. But Comer still manages to make her combative selfishness feel really relatable. Her dramatic departure, when it comes, is a shock. But it's also a reminder that nothing about Kate’s character was ever predictable.
Probably the first big role people recognized Comer for was BBC drama Thirteen. The series follows the story of Ivy Moxam, a young woman who escapes from her kidnapper after being held prisoner for 13 years.
Comer spends a sizable chunk of Thirteen silent, as Ivy readjusts to “real life."As she attempts to deal with years of trauma and the ongoing hunt for her kidnapper, Ivy often comes off as cold, unpredictable or even unlikable, a bold acting choice when many would have just played her as a straight and sympathetic victim. This tends to be a hallmark of Comer’s work, and it’s part of what makes her so interesting to watch as an actor.
6 Remember Me
Comer stars opposite British icon Michael Palin – of Monty Python fame – in this creepy ghost story. (FYI: Lots of people watched this series because it marked his return to dramatic roles versus travel shows or comedy.) Palin plays Tom, a Yorkshire widower who must move into a care home after a bad accident.
However, after patients start dying violent deaths following his arrival, teenage assistant Hannah (Comer) gets suspicious. She suspects Tom may have brought something weird along with him to the retirement home. (And she starts having disturbing dreams.)
5 My Mad Fat Diary
Every British actress probably has a notable “best friend” role somewhere in their resume. Teen drama My Mad Fat Diary is Comer’s. Yet, her portrayal of Chloe, the confident and often cruel best friend of lead character Rae, turns her into something much more than a mean girl who deserves to get hers.
Instead, her Chloe is secretly fighting her own battles with insecurity and anxiety, despite her popular status. And My Mad Fight Diary sends her on her own journey of growth and self-discovery. In it, Comer gets the chance to go to some pretty serious and unexpected places. And, of course, she kills it. (Just... not literally this time.)
4 Law & Order UK
There’s no part of the earth that’s safe from a Law & Order franchise, apparently, and much like its American cousin, the U.K. version is also home to many well-known British actors who were once looking for their big break. Such is the case with Comer, who appears in Season 7 episode, “Fatherly Love”.
This particular installment is a British twist on American episode “Family Values" from Season 5. A story with the ripped from the headlines feel of Law and Order: SVU before that show existed, it involves a murder and a scheming husband who fancies young girls. Comer plays Jess, a school friend of the victim’s daughter, who has an unfortunate connection to the case.
3 Snatches: Moments From Women's Lives
This series of monologues, which aired on the BBC last year, features eight extraordinary stories of women over the 100 years since female suffrage was first granted in the U.K. Comer portrays a 1960s secretary whose just starting to explore her sexuality with another woman in “Bovril Pam.”
Unfortunately, her segment here is just fifteen minutes long. Yet Comer's performance is absolutely fearless, wry and hilarious and naughty and moving by turns. It takes a lot of nerve to give a performance this open when you’re only onscreen by yourself and Comer’s work here is impossible to look away from.
2 Free Guy
A starring role opposite Ryan Reynolds in the action-comedy Free Guy is up next for Comer. This film follows the story of a young man who realizes he’s actually a background character inside a video game. Comer will play the game avatar that helps him try to prevent the ending of their world. The film will also star Get Out’s Lil Rel and Stranger Things’ Joe Kerry.
For all of Comer’s impressive resume, we haven’t seen her do a ton of anything that might be called comedy. Given her impressive skill at one-liners and deadpan retorts in Killing Eve, this should be an exciting new development to watch when the film hits theaters.
1 Death On The Nile
Comer will join the next Hercule Poirot movie from Kenneth Branagh, Death on the Nile. This sequel to Murder on the Orient Express was hinted at during the final moments of the 2017 film, but is now officially happening. (Though we likely won’t see it until 2020.)
She will star alongside two fellow buzzy actors of the moment – Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot and Call Me By Your Name’s Armie Hammer – as part of the story’s “central trio”.
Using our Poirot-like sleuthing skills – and the fact that Gadot has already been confirmed as heiress Linnet Ridgeway Doyle – we can deduce that Comer will portray jilted fiancée Jacqueline de Bellefort. No one should be terribly surprised to see Comer playing a maybe-murderess again. But at least we already know she’ll be amazing at it.