An unofficial fascination with presumed female assassins results in MI5 agent, Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh – TV’s Grey’s Anatomy, American Crime), leading a covert MI6 team, headed by the highly irregular Fiona Shaw (Harry Potter, TV’s True Blood). A series of high profile deaths, seemingly unconnected, are believed to be linked to one operative – Villanelle (Jodie Comer – TV’s The White Princess, Doctor Foster).
Obsession leads to obsession as both Oh and Comer become inextricably linked over the two seasons as action switches from London to Moscow to Paris to Rome. They consume each other as deaths mount, leads fail to produce the desired results and Shaw’s loyalties are less than apparent.
It’s a gorgeously told series of narratives, visceral in appeal as the malevolent glamour and violence of Villanelle is balanced with the married ordinariness of Oh. Mordant wit abounds as the three women lock horns.
A mix of courtroom thrills, suspense and melodrama ensures the Sydney-set Janet King is an entertaining and engaging eight-episode TV series.
A feisty, no-holes-barred Janet King (Marta Dusseldorp – Jack Irish, A Place to Call Home) returns from maternity leave to find herself thrown in the deep end from the off. The NSW Assistant Police Commissioner has been charged with assisting in the premature death of his wife, dying from cancer.
Whilst King is dealing with in-house politics at the Department of Public Prosecutions (and a new, ambitious prosecutor in particular), the assistant commissioner disappears. She finds herself thrust into the limelight as the search for the high-ranking official becomes intertwined with an investigation into a child pornography ring. It soon becomes apparent it involves politicians along with senior members of the legal and public services.
Political pressure from the very top for results – and fast – result in mistakes being made. And King and her family are forced into safe-house protection as she receives threats to her life.
More than a hint of soap-opera with plenty of melodrama – and glossing over legal detail – make Janet King a light, readily-accessible drama. But it’s Janet King herself who adds a degree of depth – frosty, aloof, highly intelligent. It’s only at home with her two young children and partner Ashleigh we see a vulnerable side.