What Happened to Elena Felton? Why Did Kirby Howell-Baptiste Leave Killing Eve?

Across its four-season run, ‘Killing Eve,’ Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s show about two women, Eve and Villanelle, and the fascinating entanglement of their stories, sports an impressive cast of characters. From ruthless assassins, MI6 operatives, and an assortment of other personalities involved in similar circles, the series largely benefits from the interesting narratives that such characters bring to the overall story. Elena Felton, Eve’s assistant from her MI5 days, remains one such character who saw her introduction in season 1.

However, Elena’s involvement with Carolyn Martens and her highly secretive operation to track down Villanelle remains confined to the first season. As such, season 2 marks her character’s departure from the narrative, leading to Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s exit from the project. Given Elena’s significance within the first season, fans are bound to grow curious about the actress’ withdrawal from the show and her character’s fate within the narrative. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Elena Felton’s Exit From Carolyn’s MI6 Operations

Much like Eve Polastri, Elena Felton also started the show in the MI5 department as the former woman’s assistant. Therefore, once Carolyn Martens, a legend within British Intelligence, approaches Eve for a covert operation — with Eve extending the same invitation to Elena — the latter doesn’t hesitate to quit her job and joins Martens’ team. Elena’s reverence over Carolyn Martens remains a constant quirk of her character as she continues hero-worshipping the other woman within professional parameters. Nevertheless, her respect and adoration hold their boundaries.

Therefore, Elena’s enthusiasm toward the team falters after the death of her teammate and former boss, Bill Pargrave. Likewise, as the dangers of investigating an elusive assassin with an even more secretive organization behind her become more prominent, Elena grows weary of the job. Initially, the same manifests as her noticeable absence from Russia even after the entire team — Eve, Kenny, and Carolyn — operates within the foreign country. Even so, Elena manages to play an instrumental role in the investigation by sleuthing around and discovering the address to Villanelle’s French apartment. Consequently, her contribution ends up playing a significant part in the final confrontation of season 1.

Yet, it’s her final offering to the narrative before her character takes her exit from the team. As the next season arrives with Carolyn helming a new MI6 mission, Operation Manderley, Elena declines to be a part of the new team. Despite Elena’s idolization of Carolyn, it turns out she wasn’t cut out for the spy life. As such, the mounting potential dangers of the work put her off a return, diverging her story from the rest of the characters. For the same reason, Elena isn’t a part of ‘Killing Eve’ after her initial appearance in season 1. While her absence from the team’s dynamic remains noticeable, it also reinforces the idea that only particular kinds of people — such as Eve and Carolyn — are cut out for such lines of work.

Kirby Howell-Baptiste: Why Did The Actress Leave Killing Eve?

After Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s initial performance on season 1 of ‘Killin Eve’ as Elena Felton, the actress left the show, with her character getting cohesively written out of the narrative for season 2. Shortly after her role on Waller-Bridge’s show, the actress bagged an opportunity to appear in the third season of ‘The Good Place.’ In the latter show, the actress embodies the role of Simone Garnett, an Australian neuroscientist who goes on to become a significant part of the show. Consequently, while Howell-Baptiste hasn’t explicitly spoken about her departure from ‘Killing Eve,’ the instance seems like a natural progression in her career.

Kirby Howell-Baptiste/The Sandman

Back in 2019, Howell-Baptiste spoke about the same in a conversation with E News, where she said, “With ‘Killing Eve’ and ‘Barry’ [the 2018 dark comedy show], I’m in the first season of those shows, so it was much more of a surprise of what they would be. But ‘The Good Place’ [opportunity] was so exciting. I remember not thinking I was going to get the role but just being so happy that I got to audition— because it was — and still is — one of my favorite shows.”

Interestingly enough, Howell-Baptiste’s role in ‘Killing Eve’ became a catalyst for her career’s first lead role in ‘Why Women Kill,’ after Producer Marc Cherry noticed her talent in her previous work and offered her the role of Taylor Harding without an audition. Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s career has remained on an upward trajectory since then, with well-known projects like ‘Cruella,’ ‘Queenpins,’ and ‘The Sandman,’ added to her filmography. Currently, the actress is promoting her latest project, ‘Sugar,’ an Apple TV+ crime drama show — in which she stars alongside Colin Farrell.

Read More: Did Jodie Comer Learn Russian? What’s Villanelle’s Accent in Killing Eve?