The series finale of “Killing Eve” aired in April 2021, just a little over four years after the espionage thriller originally premiered in 2018. When it initially debuted, the BBC America original series was met with rave reviews across the board from both TV critics and casual viewers alike (via Rotten Tomatoes). Its success helped cement creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s status as one of the most esteemed screenwriters working in TV. However, while the success of “Killing Eve” Season 1 only further raised Waller-Bridge’s profile, the writer and creator did not reprise her role as showrunner on any of the series’ subsequent seasons.
Instead, “Killing Eve” began a tradition of passing its showrunner baton to a new writer each season. Consequently, while it was Waller-Bridge who oversaw the production of “Killing Eve” Season 1, it was ultimately “Promising Young Woman” director Emerald Fennell who ran the series’ second season. Suzanne Heathcote took over for Fennell when it came time to make “Killing Eve” Season 3, and it was later Laura Neal who ran the thriller’s 4th season.
After maintaining its unique behind-the-scenes tradition for four years, though, “Killing Eve” ultimately came to an end with its 4th season. Now, nearly two whole years later, it’s worth asking: Why was “Killing Eve” Season 4 the series’ last?
Killing Eve ended for purely creative reasons
In January 2020, BBC America handed out a Season 4 renewal for “Killing Eve.” The news came just a few months prior to the show’s Season 3 premiere, but it wasn’t until well over a year later that BBC America also announced that Season 4 would be the espionage thriller’s last. The network’s announcement understandably came as a major shock to fans, especially coming off the events of the “Killing Eve” Season 3 finale, which set the stage for the series to move in a refreshingly new direction in its future episodes.
While the announcement initially came as a surprise, both BBC America and the series’ creative team made it immediately clear that “Killing Eve” had not, by any means, been canceled. Instead, the show’s writers and producers had simply determined that the series’ story demanded that it come to an end sooner rather than later. The Hollywood Reporter noted that was the case in its coverage of the surprise announcement, and some of the show’s key creative members also confirmed as much in their comments about its conclusion.
At the time, Dan McDermott, the President of Entertainment and AMC Studios, even teased, “We look forward to what is sure to be an unforgettable final season and to exploring potential extensions of this compelling universe.”
“Killing Eve,” in other words, came to an end for a fairly simple, straightforward reason. Of course, what few could have predicted when the show’s conclusion was originally announced was just how divisive the “Killing Eve” series finale would go on to be.
Killing Eve’s ending was notoriously divisive
In the “Killing Eve” Season 4 finale, the series’ two leads, Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), finally get together. Unfortunately, their long-awaited romance turns out to be short-lived when Villanelle is tragically shot to death in the episode’s closing moments by an assassin hired by none other than Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw).
To call the series’ final moments dark or morbid would be a massive understatement, and fans of “Killing Eve” didn’t hesitate to share their disappointment over the show’s conclusion. Essays were written explaining why viewers believed the show’s series finale ultimately betrayed its previously subversive spirit by playing into several widely disliked TV tropes. Even author Luke Jennings, whose novels inspired “Killing Eve,” wrote an article for The Guardian criticizing the BBC America drama’s conclusion. In the end, many even named Villanelle’s death in the “Killing Eve” finale one of the worst TV moments of 2022.
In case that wasn’t bad enough, the divisive nature of the “Killing Eve” finale hasn’t just tarnished the show’s legacy for many of its fans, but it’s also called the viability of any potential spin-offs into question. It was notably reported in April 2022 that a “Killing Eve” spin-off centered on Carolyn Martens’ early years as an MI6 spy was being developed, but no updates or announcements related to the project have been released since then.
Taking all of this into account, it seems safe to say that “Killing Eve” fans will likely be debating for a long time whether or not the show really should have come to an end when it did.