SPOILER ALERT: Do not keep reading f you have not watched the Season 3 premiere of “Killing Eve.”
Oh my God, they killed Kenny! You bastards!
Talk about a shocking, tragic way to kick off Season 3 of “Killing Eve.” Kenny Stowton (Sean Delaney), the former MI6 tech whiz — and son to spy boss Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw) — was killed at the end of the show’s season opener. But by whom, we don’t yet know (although we can start to speculate).
After the disastrous end of Season 2, which left Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) near death at the hands of Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and estranged from Carolyn, the show’s characters scattered. Eve was essentially hiding out by working in the kitchen at a Korean restaurant, Villanelle somehow tricked an unsuspecting woman into marrying her, and Carolyn was essentially demoted, with a new boss.
As for Kenny, he was no longer working with his mom at MI6, and instead took a job as a reporter at a news operation. But he couldn’t leave well enough alone, and was still quietly doing his own investigation into the Twelve, the mysterious organization pulling many of the strings on the show.
Kenny was alone in the office on a weekend when he discovered pertinent files — and then heard noises in the elevator. When Eve (Sandra Oh) dropped by to see Kenny, who has always been one of her staunchest allies, he was not there — and then his body dropped off the roof. Apparently someone didn’t appreciate his continued snooping.
“It’s such a tough call,” says Season 3 head writer Suzanne Heathcote, of the decision to kill Kenny. “Sean is a brilliant actor, Kenny is a fantastic character and beloved. He has an emotional relationship with Eve. But it was really because of all those reasons that the death would mean so much.”
Heathcote says she knew the show needed a shock to the system in order to provide the impetus to bring the characters back together.
“It had to be something that meant a lot,” she says. “It couldn’t just be professional — it would never be enough. It had to be something bigger than that. It had to be like a bomb going off in Eve’s life to wake her from this cocooned existence that she put herself in. They are always difficult, those decisions, but it’s on a show there has to be an element of danger. You have to really feel like anything can happen. And that is unfortunately that does mean that some beloved characters inevitably die. And so it’s a double-edged sword.”
To Delaney’s credit, Heathcote says the actor agreed. “Sean, when we told him, he was the first to say, ‘it’s brilliant, story-wise,’” she says. “But we were all sad to lose him because he’s such as great guy.”
The death comes as Heathcote, who took over as head writer following creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Season 2’s Emerald Fennell, says she wanted to go deeper with the characters.
“So much has happened to them in the past two seasons, and it’s such a short period of time, it really was by third season I felt you’ve really earned going into the characters emotionally in a deeper way,” she says. “And also, particularly Eve, taking stock of who she is. Obviously Kenny’s death will have a huge impact on Carolyn, and causes her personal and professional life to intertwine in a way we haven’t see before as well. It was really about that for me, how the personal and the professional are merged together in this season. That’s always been the case to a degree, but this is personal because it’s Kenny. And there’s no getting away from that.”
In the coming weeks, audiences will meet Carolyn’s daughter Geraldine, played by Gemma Whelan, and learn more about the dynamic between Villanelle and her new handler, Dasha (Dame Harriet Walter). And then there’s Konstantin (Kim Bodnia), who once again appears to be playing all sides.
As for Delaney, “Killing Eve” was the actor’s first major role, although he briefly appeared in “Midsomer Murders.” He’ll next be seen in “Venom 2,” as well as the film “Seacole.”