Fiona Shaw's stunning character Carolyn Martens in 'Killing Eve' makes us forget all about the vile Aunt Petunia

Fiona Shaw's stunning character Carolyn Martens in 'Killing Eve' makes us forget all about the vile Aunt Petunia

This article contains spoilers for Killing Eve season 2.

One of the earliest memories of the brilliant Fiona Shaw has got to be watching her as the unpleasant, curt Aunt Petunia in the 'Harry' Potter films. We grew up despising the Durselys, especially Shaw's character Petunia, purely because of how vile and vain she was when it came to Harry.

But gone are those days, and Shaw isn't the mean old lady playing the rude aunt anymore. These days she is better known as one exceptionally skilled MI6 agent, Carolyn Martens on BBC America's 'Killing Eve', and people can't have enough of it.

As Carolyn, Shaw is still quite the proverbial pain in the a** to be around, but still much better than Aunt Petunia, because there was no tolerating the vile nature of that character. Where Aunt Petunia was a frigid, cold woman, who turned her sister's orphaned child into household help right in his childhood, Carolyn - even though not particularly fond of children - actually has a soul. Some might like to argue that in the past she has proven to be quite duplicitous, but hey - what secret agent isn't?

That Carolyn isn't as clear cut as the portrait of herself she paints for the world, is no secret. But what really makes up for the lack of trustable traits in her, is how efficient she is at what she does. As an MI6 agent, she is directly in charge of handling the special task force that has to hunt down the show's serial-killing psychopath, Jodie Comer's Villanelle. She is also the one who hired the titular detective Eve Polastri, played by Sandra Oh, and grooms and guides her towards her goal.

As refreshing a detour from the typically brooding, dark, twisted male detective characters as this is, Carolyn isn't all fair play. It's no secret Carolyn hasn't been entirely transparent, particularly considering Eve herself finds out by the end of season 1, that despite being her boss, the MI6 agent isn't someone Eve can trust completely. Even though we find her being all calm as she questions Eve about her unexplained obsession with Villanelle in season 2, there's no forgetting her erratic ways in season 1.


It's true Carolyn is poised, composed, and a character with effortless gravity on the show. But at the same time, her flaws run quite deep too. All through season 1, her temperament was quite unpredictable, and her immediate reactions to certain developments in the case, quite unconventional too. For instance, at times she would remain all tight-lipped and secretive about Eve's mission to kill Villanelle, but the very next moment, blurt out something as private as having had an affair with Villanelle's handler, Konstantin.

On one occasion, Carolyn even paid Villanelle quite the clandestine visit in prison and the very next moment, she disbanded Eve and her newly created team, pretty much firing all of them from the task assigned. We know Villanelle works for a top secret shadowy organization called 'The Twelve' — who hire assassins to do their dirty deeds - so, is it possible that Carolyn is secretly a part of it too? 

While we have to wait for a couple of days more to find out the truth and lies of Carolyn, Shaw was ever so generous to offer her an insight into why this character and the show are so dear to her. Of course, there was nothing worth loving about Aunt Petunia, the hateful character in the Harry Potter franchise, but as for her love for Carolyn, Shaw says she fell in love with the script and that's what drew her to the role.


At the recently held season 2 premiere event of the show, Shaw shared, in an exclusive interview with MEA World Wide (MEAWW), about the first time she fell in love with 'Killing Eve.' "I was in bed, and I thought it was bewilderingly brilliant, and will anyone ever understand it, will they get it? So, my hats off to everybody because they have," said the 60-year-old actress. And she also notes how spectacular it is that her character, and the show especially, has been able to garner praise and admiration from fans all over the globe, irrespective of their age or gender.

"It's not a girls' show, boys love it just as much," Shaw remarked, talking about the upcoming season 2. "And young people love it, but I'm delighted to see that there are also older people who love it. So, it has huge popularity. And I don't know why that is, but it's also very clever, and it's also very stylish, very witty. very good on the human condition. A very good use of television."

And as much as we agree with Shaw, we wish she revealed more about what lies ahead for her character on the show. For now, all her fans need to know is that things keep getting messier and as usual, Carolyn will be there to bear the brunt of it all - something Aunt Petunia would have never done.

'Killing Eve' returns to BBC America with season 2, Sunday, April 7.

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