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|“||It's my job to get the best out of people. Villanelle simply did what she does best. And so did you. You were the person who made this whole operation possible.||„|
|~ Carolyn revealing her true nature to Eve.|
|“||What I've come to realize is that one cannot destroy the Twelve. I know it. She knows it. Maybe it's time you went cold turkey? I think you know precisely what I mean.||„|
|~ Carolyn deciding to give up on her hunt for the Twelve, as she and Villanelle try to convince Eve to do the same.|
Carolyn Martens is the tritagonist of the TV series Killing Eve, appearing as the deuteragonist of Series 1, the overarching antagonist of Series 2, the tritagonist of Series 3 and is set to return in Series 4.
Initially introduced as a well-respected high-ranking MI6 officer teaming up with Eve Polastri in her pursuit for Villanelle and the Twelve, she is ultimately revealed as an immoral, cunning, arrogant and hypocritical manipulator who is more than willing to use questionable methods for the greater good, and both lie and betray anybody to achieve national security.
She is portrayed by Fiona Shaw, who also played Ramona Linscott in The Black Dahlia, Lena in the 1993 Super Mario Bros film, Mombi in Emerald City, Marnie Stonebrook in True Blood and Father in the 1998 film The Avengers.
Becoming an MI6 officer during the Cold War, Carolyn Martens rose to become the agency's most legendary head of the Russia Desk despite her questionable methods. After becoming aware of a dangerous assassin known as Villanelle operating in Europe for a secret organization, she recruited former MI5 operative Eve Polastri to find her and expose this conspiracy, eventually learning about the Twelve and their operations. However, she then learned that her former lover Konstantin Vasiliev was working for them and after he betrayed them, she protected him so he could help her uncover their operations. In the meantime, after Villanelle escapes their grasp and goes rogue, she convinces Eve to investigate the murder of a tech mogul, where they learn that his son Aaron Peel killed him to sell a cyber-weapon. During a sting operation in Rome, Carolyn offered Konstantin to see his family again if he sold out Villanelle to the Twelve, who were trying to kill her, so she could free Eve from her obsession.
After the Rome incident, Carolyn's son Kenny was killed and while being reunited with her estranged daughter Geraldine, she goes out of her depth to find those responsible despite being slightly demoted for her actions. During her assistance with Eve learn the truth of stolen money from one of the Twelve's accounts, Carolyn learns that her supervisor Paul Bradwell is one of the Twelve's informants. In the end, after finding out that Kenny's death was an accident on Konstantin's behalf and upon killing Paul for his treachery, Carolyn accepts that the Twelve cannot be defeated and declares that it would be best not to pursue them anymore.
In all of her appearances, Carolyn is shown to be a woman who only did things, no matter what questionable they are, for the greater good of her country. Upon meeting Eve, she was fascinated by her talent and interest towards assassins enough to recruit her to finding Villanelle and her employers. She remains level-headed when finding the assassin as she told Eve to not let anger get the better of her, especially after losing her best friend Bill. However, even then, Carolyn was not an open person, refusing to reveal what she truly wants at the end of her life and would always steer the question onto a different conversation topic. At times, it is shown that she misses the old days where she had a good time with parties and getting together with Russians for one-night stands. She has also shown to harbor feelings for Konstantin, whom she exchanged love letters with in the past and was always happy to help him in times of crisis.
Even before her true colors came to light, Carolyn was already a cold individual who would rarely show any sympathy for those who have suffered tragedy, such as being falsely supportive towards Frank Haleton so he could tearfully confess his treachery and allegiance to the Twelve. Her persona goes so far to her behavior around her family, particularly her son Kenny and daughter Geraldine. In Geraldine's case, after Kenny's death, she didn't enjoy her company due to being more her father's child and wanted to grieve in her own personal space; with Kenny, while he was rather afraid of her for her slight ruthlessness and controlling nature, the two saw eye-to-eye and Carolyn was always careful enough to make sure nothing happened to him, which sadly didn't work in the end. On another note, she revealed that she can't stand marriages, preferring divorces over anything else with her spouses.
During the disastrous events in Rome, Carolyn openly revealed herself to be a manipulative and immoral hypocrite who cannot admit that her motives are now less excusable because of her traitorous actions, as she had no problem with selling Villanelle out to the Twelve despite helping them with stopping Aaron Peel. She displayed great arrogance as she remained confident that MI6, Kenny and Eve would understand why she did what she felt was necessary that they wouldn't lose trust in her, where the exact opposite happened and it led to her superiors hiring a personal rival to oversee her from thereon. But while she doesn't deny anything she has done, she isn't without guilt and expressed slight remorse for betraying her son and Eve that she willingly helped Eve uncover what happened to her son Kenny to repair any destroyed friendship between the two of them.
Despite her immoralities and cold personality, Carolyn is not without her soft side, which she began to display after Kenny's death. While she tried to remain focused and level-headed as possible to find his killer, she showed deep grief for losing her only son. When confronting Konstantin on both occasions upon learning that the two made contact, she revealed a deeply angry and vengeful woman wanting justice for what happened and initially refused to believe Konstantin's claims that he tried to save Kenny from the Twelve. Her anger showed more of itself when progress into the investigation slowed down after Mo Jafari was killed. After letting him go, Carolyn came to the conclusion that the Twelve was too powerful and resourceful that they are unbeatable, which is possibly the first time that Carolyn has admitted defeat. She even realized that Kenny's involvement in the investigation got him killed and started blaming herself for it as a result.
|“||We think she's been operating for two years across ten countries. She's highly skilled as yet untraceable, and yet, she's starting to show off.||„|
|~ Carolyn revealing her intel on the assassin they are searching for.|
|“||I once saw a rat drink from a Coke can there. Both hands. Extraordinary.||„|
|~ One of Carolyn's most memorable quotes.|
- While Carolyn was in fact revealed to be manipulating Eve and Villanelle, she is considered the second series' overarching antagonist due to not being a direct threat and especially since Aaron Peel was the main antagonist and had bigger plans than her.
- In 2019, the actress Fiona Shaw won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. On the same year, she received a nomination for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
- Although she isn't outright villainous, Carolyn is similar to DC Comics character Amanda Waller, where both of them are immorally delusional high-ranking intelligence officers who manipulate, conspire and betray any person in order to deal with threats to their country.
- Even though Carolyn is one of the show's protagonists, she still resorted to immoral, unethical, extreme and questionable methods to stopping criminals throughout her career, thus making some of her actions somewhat inexcusable despite her intentions, similar to Oliver Queen from Arrow.