Programming Review: ‘Hitmen’

Upstart streaming service Peacock taps the U.K. for a comedy series revolving around the exploits of two female assassins.

Hitmen follows Jamie (Mel Giedroyc) and Fran (Sue Perkins), two unlikely killers for pay whose lifelong friendship serves as the catalyst for the creation of unusual, unorthodox and humorous situations as they carry out their missions.

'Hitmen' on Peacock

'Hitmen' on Peacock

While the two are ruthless in completing their jobs, much of the action and storylines revolve around the comical and often bizarre actions of the two women leading up to the kill. The first episode of the series finds the two compatriots sitting in an unmarked van contemplating how to celebrate Fran’s birthday.

Their back-and-forth banter regarding the planning of an evening birthday party — which none of their contemporaries want to attend — comes while waiting for a call from their boss, Mr. K, to determine whether to silence a potential victim (Jason Watkins), who is in the back of the van tied up with a sack over his head. For obvious reasons, he’s keen on attending the birthday party and enthusiastically becomes engaged in the discussion.

While Hitmen is charming and has several funny scenes — including Jamie’s failed order of a stripper to perform in the van while waiting for Mr. K’s call, as well as an unscheduled stop at a McDonald’s drive-thru for a McFlurry with their target in tow — it comes off as a bit too quirky and gets lost at times trying to be funny and dramatic all at once. Still, Giedroyc and Perkins have great chemistry, and other episodes in the Sky One-produced series further build upon the hapless assassins’ often comedic misadventures.

The six-episode series originally premiered on Sky One in the United Kingdom this past month. 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.