Six kick-ass fictional female assassins
Obsessed With… is a new TV companion podcast where celebrity super-fans take a forensic look at some of the biggest phenomena on the small screen. For series two, we’re delving into the world of global assassins and obsessing over the BBC’s compulsive hit show Killing Eve.
To celebrate the return of everyone’s favourite killer thriller, we’ve pulled together a list of our favourite assassins from film, TV and literature. They’re ferocious, ruthless, kick-ass – and all women.
1. Villanelle in Killing Eve
Oksana Astankova, codename Villanelle, is a brutal hired assassin. The talented killer is deeply unpredictable and never more dangerous than when she seems playful, enthusiastic and happy.
Unfortunately for her, super smart MI5 security officer Eve is on her tail.
The two women are soon going head to head in a fierce game of cat and mouse with a mutual obsession developing between them as Eve tries to hunt down the deadly assassin.
When they do come face to face, Eve discovers her nemesis is as charming as she is psychopathic. Villanelle won’t just run rings around you – she’ll do it wearing a designer dress, some chic sunglasses and a smile on her face.
Be whatever you want to be as long as you're outrageous
Why Killing Eve writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge seems determined to shock her audience.
2. Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games
Unlike many assassins in popular culture, Katniss Everdeen is killing to survive.
In what was once North America, but is now known as Panem, the powers that be maintain their hold on 12 different districts by forcing them to each choose a boy and girl to compete in a nationally televised event called the Hunger Games.
The youths must fight to the death until one survivor remains.
Katniss Everdeen, who enters the fray so that her little sister doesn’t have to, is a strong, mature and resourceful sixteen-year-old.
Growing up poor has left her tough, unsentimental, practical and – most importantly – skilled at hunting…
3. Hanna in Hanna
Sixteen-year-old Hanna was raised by her father in the Finnish wilderness and since she was tiny has been trained to be the perfect assassin.
Her father then sends her on a mission across Europe, on which she has to evade the operatives sent to track her by a ruthless intelligence agent called Marissa.
Hanna is exceptionally strong for a girl her age and build (the CIA enhanced her DNA as part of a project to breed super soldiers, which could have something to do with it), she speaks English, German, Italian and French and she excels at hunting and shooting.
She might be young, sweet, and innocent - but she’s also deadly.
4. Dominika Egorova in Red Sparrow
From professional ballerina to deadly killer. Set in modern-day Russia, Dominika Egorova is a famous ballerina. But following a career-ending injury, the dancer is strong-armed into joining the SVR, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service.
She is sent to a specialist training school for “Sparrows”, SVR operatives trained to use their body as a weapon and seduce their targets with “sexpionage”. Dominika – codename DIVA – excels in her training, but her first mission, in which she is targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both the American and Russian nations.
Dominika might have been trained to use her body but, ultimately, it is her razor-sharp mind that will help her prevail.
5. The Bride in Kill Bill
In Quentin Tarantino’s bloody martial arts revenge saga, Beatrix Kiddo (aka The Bride) wakes from a four-year coma and wreaks vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her – proudly sporting her trademark yellow tracksuit.
The Bride is an ex-assassin herself, a former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad – an elite, underground group of killers.
The formidable fighter trained under Kung-Fu master Pai Mei and is the only one of his students to have been taught the "Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique". The legendary technique involves striking five pressure points around the victim’s heart with the fingertips. After taking five fatal steps, their heart explodes.
Needless to say, it comes in handy (no pun intended) for the vengeful Kiddo.
6. Celaena Sardothien in Throne of Glass
Throne of Glass is the first book in a young adult fantasy novel series by American author Sarah J. Maas. Celaena Sardothien – the beautiful, clever and arrogant 18-year-old assassin – is the book’s heroine.
After being imprisoned for a year by the King of Adarlan, she accepts the offer to compete with other assassins, thieves and warriors from across the empire for a chance to serve as the King's Champion. If she wins she will remain in the King's service for four years but then she will be granted her freedom.
She agrees to accept the challenge but then one of the other contestants turns up dead, closely followed by another. Can the talented Celaena figure out who the killer is before she too becomes a victim?