Killing Eve, Dead to Me, Normal People

Looking for a TV series with significant psychological focus? Three I’ve watched, each highly rated on IMDB, are Killing Eve, Dead to Me, and Normal People. Below are some brief but pertinent observations—watch out for the spoilers.

I. Killing Eve (Amazon Prime Video or cable channels AMC and BBC America)

Starring Sandra Oh as security operative Eve and Jodie Comer as hitwoman Villanelle, Killing Eve now has three complete seasons. One of the latest developments is the significant insight the audience is given regarding the childhood and family background of psychopathic Villanelle (whose given name was Oksana). What role did her mother and others play in the formation of her psyche?

Last year Katie Heaney, The Cut, reported the opinions of several different mental health professionals, one of whom is Killing Eve‘s psychiatric consultant. Two others are co-authors Michael H. Stone and Gary Brucato (The New Evil: Understanding the Emergence of Modern Violent Crime), who say that women who are psychopathic killers are relatively rare. There are primary and secondary psychopaths, they say, the latter “effectively induced by abuse, usually in childhood.”

Which is Villanelle?

…(A)ccording to the show’s psychiatrist consultant, Dr. Mark Freestone, Villanelle is a primary psychopath, which means that she was born that way — someone with ‘hereditary, genetic factors, where they’re born with a brain that is predisposed to be fearless, and sensation-seeking, and guiltless,’ says Brucato.

Watch Killing Eve through the third season and decide for yourself: is it that she was just born that way or could other things be involved?

II. Dead to Me (Netflix)

Dead to Me stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini as grieving women sharing a growing and complicated friendship. Now at Season Two. Dana Feldman, Forbes:

Dead to Me, with its tightly woven storylines and multi-layered characters, was an immediate hit after its first season debuted on Netflix last year. The story exquisitely delves into some of the most painful parts of life in a uniquely unfiltered, oddly hilarious way, and though it touches on tragic loss and the gutting grief that follows, it does so with heart and humor in a way few shows have pulled off.

Adds Feldman, “Dead to Me impeccably mixes the funny with the tragic in life and it would be too simplistic to try to label it even as a dramedy. A few fitting terms used to describe the show are tragicomedy and traumedy.”

III. Normal People (Hulu)

Elena Hilton, NBC, sets it up:

Based on Sally Rooney’s beloved second novel, the series sticks closely to its acclaimed source material. The 12-episode adaptation follows the lives of two Irish teenagers, Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal), through the lens of their intense on-off relationship during high school and college, made complicated by their insecurities and shifting social statuses.

Themes of interest related to mental health include loneliness, anxiety/panic, depression, guilt, loss, and suicide.

At one pivotal point, and encouraged by a male friend, Connell seeks the help of a therapist. As portrayed, his first session reveals how pent-up emotions can finally find release with the help of a caring and knowledgeable professional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Share via
Copy link