Owen McDonnell

Owen McDonnell (born 1974) is an Irish actor best known for playing Garda Sergeant Jack Driscoll in RTÉ Television's Single-Handed and Niko Polastri in BBC's Killing Eve.

Owen McDonnell
Owen McDonnell

1974 (age 46–47)
Galway, Ireland

Early lifeEdit

McDonnell was born in Galway in Ireland. He attended the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England, moving to the city in 1996.[1] Before breaking into film and television, McDonnell did a lot of theatre in Ireland and the United Kingdom.[2][3]


McDonnell had a role in the 2003 feature film Conspiracy of Silence.[1] It was RTÉ Television's police drama Single-Handed that was McDonnell's television career break.[2] He starred in all four series of the programme and was nominated for an IFTA Award for the role in 2011.[1] McDonnell was given the lead role of Garda Sergeant Jack Driscoll after receiving a call from casting director Maureen Hughes. Appearing onstage in The Lieutenant of Inishmore in Galway Town Hall at the time, McDonnell, alongside two other cast members, left for Dublin to read the script for the original Single-Handed director Colm McCarthy. He was given the lead role a day later.[4]

McDonnell appeared in RTÉ's Wild Decembers,[5] MI5 thriller Spooks on BBC One,[1] crime thriller Silent Witness[6] also on BBC One, and the first two series of sitcom Mount Pleasant on Sky1.[7]

In 2014 McDonnell starred as Inspector Fiachra Greene in the Irish language movie An Bronntanas (The Gift), screened at the Galway Film Fleadh and later put forward as Ireland's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 87th Academy Awards (2015).[8] The film is edited from the five-episode television series of the same name, screened on TG4 in October and November 2014.[9][10]

In 2015 McDonnell starred in the hit TG4 series An Klondike, a western set in the Klondike gold rush. In 2016 he starred in Wrecking the Rising, about time travelling gobdaws who accidentally kill PH Pearse before the Easter Rising, and in the short film An Béal Bocht based on Flann O'Brien's satirical novel.[11]

In 2018, McDonnell first appeared as Niko Polastri, husband to Sandra Oh's title character in Killing Eve. Upon meeting him at the first script read-throughs, Oh immediately felt that their on-screen relationship would be believable, and would serve as an important grounding force for her character.[12]

Personal lifeEdit

McDonnell lives in London with his British girlfriend Jill.[2][7]


Year(s) Title Role Notes
2003 Conspiracy of Silence Noel
2007–10 Single-Handed Sergeant Jack Driscoll RTÉ
2008 An Ranger An Ranger (Short film)
2009 Wild Decembers Joseph Brennan RTÉ
2009 Spooks (series 8) Vadim Robinov BBC (guest star)
2009 Rásaí na Gaillimhe Eamonn O'Connell TG4
2010 Rewind Brendan
2011 Daybreak Himself (Guest) ITV
2011–12 Mount Pleasant Jack Sky1 (series 1 and 2)
2011 The Wright Stuff Himself (Guest) Channel 5
2012 A Year of Greater Love Neil (TV film)
2012 Saving the Titanic Thomas Dillon (TV film)
2013 A Terrible Beauty... Ned Daly (TV film)
2013 Ghost Train Michael (Short film)
2013 Made in Belfast Smith
2013 Scéal Morris TG4 (Short TV film)
2014 The Question Dr. Fialan (Short film)
2014 Silent Witness (Series 17) Ryan Kelvin BBC (guest star, episode: "Fraternity")
2014 An Bronntanas Inspector Fiachra Greene TG4 (film and TV series)
2014 Swung David Sigma Films (feature film)
2015–present An Klondike Tom Connolly TG4 (film and TV series)
2016 My Mother and Other Strangers Michael Coyne BBC/RTÉ
2017 Paula McArthur BBC/RTÉ
2018–present Killing Eve Niko Polastri BBC America
2018 Women on the Verge Sean
2021 Three Families Mark Ryan BBC


  1. ^ a b c d "The Lisa Richards Agency: Owen McDonnell". lisarichards.ie. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Tackling the dark side of life pays off for McDonnell". The Irish Independent. 31 October 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Owen McDonnell and Barry Simner on Single-Handed: interview". The Telegraph. 31 July 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Owen McDonnell on the Case in 'Single-Handed'". iftn.ie. 13 December 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Production starts on Wild Decembers". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  6. ^ "DOCUMENTARY: Dan Snow's History of the Winter Olympics (BBC Two, 9pm)". breakingnews.ie. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Owen McDonnell Interview Extra". TV Choice Magazine. 5 July 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  8. ^ Aoife Kelly (14 October 2014). "Irish film 'An Bronntanas' submitted for Foreign Language category at the Oscars 2015". Irish Independent.
  9. ^ "ROSG Productions – An Bronntanas (The Gift)". Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  10. ^ Seán Brosnan (2 October 2014). "IFTN Speaks to 'An Bronntanas' Producer Ciarán Ó Cofaigh". IFTN.
  11. ^ https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1711652/[bare URL]
  12. ^ Video on YouTube

External linksEdit