5 Shows to Watch This Week
Political thrillers, female assassins, and historical crime dramas... so much to watch, so little time!
Debut show of the week: Killing Eve
Killing Eve is a darkly comic, gender-bender spy thriller from the creator of the hit show Fleabag and based on the novellas by Luke Jennings. The show pits Eve (played brilliantly by Sandra Oh), an inexperienced spy with killer instincts, against a sultry female assassin who's code-named Villanelle. After Eve suspects Villanelle for a string of unsolved assassinations across Europe, the two women, both obsessive, sardonic, and willing to sacrifice personal comforts to satisfy their ambitions, become engaged in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse that isn't without its moments of humor and genuine insight into character. The first three episodes are available on BBC America, and though there are only eight in total, a second season is on the horizon.
Here's what else to watch this week:
Alias Grace if you've already binged on season 2 of Handmaid's Tale
If the first few new episodes of Handmaid's Tale on Hulu have already come and gone, consider watching Alias Grace, a Netflix mini-series based on Margaret Atwood's historical novel of the same name. Just as dark but less bleak than Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace is based on the 1859 murder of a farmer and a housekeeper, which could have been committed by either a male stable hand or (as he insists) a young, soft-spoken housemaid named Grace. Though she swears by her innocence, Grace gains fame as a female killer, and whether or not she really did commit the crime (we never know for sure), her understanding of manipulation—how men have manipulated her, how she can manipulate a captive audience—makes this series mesmerizing.
Top of the Lake if you want a psychological detective procedural
Elisabeth Moss is captivating in this detective series directed by Jane Campion. Moss plays Robin Griffin, a detective with a dark past who, despite resistance from a sexist police force, becomes obsessed with finding missing 12-year-old Tui, who is also pregnant and the daughter of the head of the Mitcham clan, a family with mob-like control over their rural New Zealand outpost. Add to this GJ, played memorably by Holly Hunter, who has started a female commune called Paradise that protests violence against women and has set up shop on land that the Mitchams claim they own. The landscape is visually stunning, the acting superb, and the feminist themes—though not always subtle—pack a punch. You can watch seasons 1 and 2 on Hulu.
Babylon Berlin if you want an epic historical crime series
Based on the historical crime novels by German author Volker Kutscher, Babylon Berlin, on Netflix, is set against the backdrop of the gritty underside of the Weimar Republic, which was rife with cocaine, cabaret, and organized crime, not to mention unprecedented cases of shellshock that left many men traumatized, angry, and adrift. The makers of Babylon Berlin wanted to explore the prelude to the Third Reich, a time they feel has been largely forgotten given the horrors that came before and the mass murder that would ensue. But, as co-creator Henk Handloegten reminds us, "All these people didn't fall from the sky as Nazis. They had to become Nazis."
Dirty Money if you want a cross between documentary and true crime
A six-part documentary series on Netflix, Dirty Money explores corporate malfeasance from money laundering cartels to the VW emissions scandal to the greed of our very own President Trump. The results are enthralling; not only is the series competently researched and convincingly argued, but each episode also has the feel of a fast-paced and entertaining political thriller, in which the bad guys behind corporate heists are uncovered and laid bare. Though the real evils, capitalism itself and the chronic myopia it has inspired, are still at-large.