Few people seem to have missed one of this year’s most popular TV series, Killing Eve. For those who have not yet caught up with the latest craze, the show follows Eve Polastri, an intelligence officer whose sole mission becomes to track down an assassin named Villanelle – an operation that leaves a comedy (and sometimes tragedy) of errors in its wake.
The story of Killing Eve is perfect for the world of TV, yet in reality it poses an interesting debate, highlighting what not to do as an employee. Eve might win an award for sheer determination, but she certainly does not win “Employee of the Year”. Spoilers ahead.
Only a few episodes into the show, Eve is fired from her official role as MI5 officer due to a flagrant disregard for proper procedures and orders from her supervisors. And due to her flouting of the rules, disaster strikes – Villanelle catches wind of Eve’s ploys and commits multiple murders (including of a potential key witness).
While some might interpret Eve’s tenacity as evidence of her fortitude, in a day-to-day scenario this would most likely be considered a reckless (not to mention dangerous) move, which leaves her unemployed.
Having been sacked, Eve remains undeterred and continues her mission “off the record”, after receiving a green light from a top MI6 agent.
In an ordinary world, someone of Eve’s seniority would have most likely been subject to – and in breach of – several post-termination restrictions in undertaking such an operation following the termination of her employment.
Meanwhile, one of the key themes that frequently rears its head throughout the series is Eve’s lack of concern for protecting confidential information. Again, for the purposes of showbiz, it’s easy to find yourself feeling sorry for Eve’s misfortune – on the other hand, you could argue that she ought to know better than to leave a suitcase full of confidential material on a busy street in Berlin, or to forget to password-protect her phone which contains vital information regarding a protected witness.
As for potential data breaches under GDPR, well, who knows what the Information Commissioner’s Office would make of Eve’s misdemeanours – exposing that amount of sensitive personal data, particularly given the nature of the work undertaken by her team would undoubtedly breach a multitude of data protection laws.
Last but not least, Eve’s conduct relating to her colleagues leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the level of professionalism that would normally be expected in the workplace.
To name a few examples: putting her colleagues in danger without protection; verbally abusing those more senior to her (even if, on the face of it, they appear to have deserved it); and, albeit as a joke, making sexually inappropriate remarks, which might not be as well received by individuals with a very different sense of humour, particularly in light of the #MeToo movement.
All that said, the show is a triumph for equality and diversity – with the two leading roles played by women, one of them of Asian descent.
While Eve’s actions probably wouldn’t be met with such a positive reaction in real life, her adventures certainly make for a thrilling Sunday night watch. Stay tuned for season two.