Killing Eve's kill plots were inspired by real life murders

Killing Eve’s extravagant kill plots were inspired by real-life murders including nerve agent assassination of Kim Jong-nam after victim was poisoned by perfume

  • MI6 consultant Gordon Corera helped writers in making killing plots plausible
  • One of the murder plots was inspired by the death of Kim Jong-nam in 2017 
  • The BBC spy drama, which was written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, aired in 2018

The hair-rising spy drama Killing Eve drew its inspiration from the murders of real people, it has been revealed. 

MI6 consultant Gordon Corera described how he was able to collaborate with the creators of the drama to give avid fans a glimpse of the world of espionage and make the narrative plausible.

The drama, which was written by actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge, follows Sandra Oh’s character Eve as she tries to catch the cunning Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer.

Corera, went on to explain that the assassination of the fragrance mogul Carla de Mann in series one, who was killed by Villanelle by a poisonous perfume, was inspired by the assassination of Kim Jong-nam- the half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in 2017.  

The spy drama Killing Eve, which  follows Sandra Oh’s character Eve as she tries to catch the cunning Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer (pictured), drew its inspiration from the murders of real people


Among the deaths the show’s creators took inspiration from was the killing of the North Korean leader’s half brother Kim Jong-nam (left). Following his death Doan Thi Huong (right) was among the two women arrested by Malaysian Police for his murder

MI6 consultant Gordon Corera collaborated with the creators of the drama to give fans a glimpse of the world of espionage 

An autopsy showed the banned VX nerve agent was found on Kim’s face and in his eyes, blood, urine, clothing and bag. 

He had been waiting for a flight to Macau at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia on February 13 when two women ran up to him from behind and appeared to spray an unidentified liquid on him. 

Following his death, Doan Thi Huong, from Vietnam and Siti Aisyah, from Indonesia were arrested based on CCTV footage.

The true event went on to influence the killing of Carla de Mann in Killing Eve, who is followed into a bathroom by the psychopath killer Villanelle and asked to smell a perfume.

The action leaves the fragrance mogul suffering with an asthma attack and she dies immediately.

Speaking on the BBC’s Obsessed With… podcast Corera said: ‘It was Sally the producer who got me involved right at the start and Sally was a friend of a friend at the BBC.

‘The friend had forwarded me an email from Sally just saying ”we’re working on this show and it’s going to be a little bit different but could I meet you for a coffee and tell you about it”.’

Following a meeting with the show’s producer, Corera set about helping the show’s writers in building a world of espionage based on true events and bringing a real life element to the show.

He continued: ‘I think the wildest thing I got asked to do was quite early on sitting with them and they said ”so it’s a show about assassins, it’s about killing people and Phoebe and the writers said we haven’t killed that many people ourselves but we don’t know that much about how to kill people”.

The show’s writer previously said Villanelle’s character was influenced by the U.S. killer Angela Simpson

‘I was like ”yeah” and they said could you help us come up with some ways of killing people and I was like ”ok”.’

‘So I went away and wrote this document called the Kill List which is somewhere on my laptop somewhere on my laptop. It’s basically a load of different ways to kill people, but crazy quirky ways.

‘I took some things that happened 50 years ago, some that had been in the news, some that you hear about in other places and just passed that on and of course they used some of them

‘And they gave that Killing Eve ”zing” to some of the ideas that I had and I think that’s what the writer’s are great at.’  

The chilling drama, which first aired in 2018, has seen characters killed in the most gruesome and horrific ways, from a poisoned needle in the eye to choking a victim to death in an elevator.    

While the BBC security correspondent did not reveal any other plots that had been inspired by the murders of real people, writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge has previously revealed that Villanelle’s character was influenced by the U.S. killer Angela Simpson.

In the spy drama Sandra Oh, who plays Eve Polastri (pictured), is left trying to catch the psychopath killer

Villanelle and Eve share many close encounters during the course of the chilling spy drama 

Simpson, from Phoenix, was responsible for impaling, strangling, dismembering and burning Terry Neely in 2009.

She pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison in 2012.

Waller-Bridge previously told The New York Times: ‘She sounds more like a psycho than anyone has ever sounded.’ 

The writer, who also created the award-winning drama Fleabag, recently revealed that she would like to write a role for herself in the third series of Killing Eve and see her character meet a gruesome end at the hands of Villanelle.

Speaking to The Sunday Mirror she said: ‘I was like, I am going to write myself a part so that I can be murdered by Jodie.’ 

The chilling kill plots in Killing Eve

The poisonous perfume 

In series one, Villanelle follows the perfume mogul Carla de Mann into a bathroom and asks her to smell her fragrance. 

The action leaves the fragrance mogul suffering with an asthma attack and she dies immediately.

The strangulation in the elevator 

Villanelle is seen using a tie to strangle businessman Greg Richardson in episode three of the spy drama. During the scene she approaches her victim before using his own necktie to choke him between the lift doors 

The poisoned needle

In the first series Villanelle stabs Cesare Greco with a hairpin while attending a party at a Tuscan villa. She presses on a plunger attached to the hairpin to poison her victim.  

The pig mask in Amsterdam

In series two, the psychopath killer Villanelle wears a chilling pink pig mask to lure a victim inside a building in the red light district in Amsterdam. Viewers are left horrified after she hangs him upside down and mutilates his body.

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