Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector

Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector

The Fall is a BBC drama series created by Allan Cubitt that follows a police officer investigating a series of connected murders in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The story is simple and so is the presentation, yet it feels like so much more.

While describing the characters may sound like archetypes you’d find in a Thomas Harris novel, the subtlety in the actors’ performances defeat any assumption that these roles can be phoned in. Gillian Anderson’s Gibson is our tortured police officer, but she doesn’t need an Emmy-grabbing monologue or a quiet scene of her sobbing alone to show that. Her delivery of lines and posture says it all and carries the tone of The Fall.

Same goes for Jamie Dornan (soon to be Christian Grey of Fifty Shades of Grey) as serial killer Paul Spector. He doesn’t scream at his victims about some abused childhood or anything ridiculous of that sort that is often used in serial killer dramas. He can completely charming, yet blank at the same time which is what makes him all the more fascinating. His murder scenes are quiet and uncomfortable. No flashy photography or extreme gore special effects are used.

Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson

Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson

The show is a character study, an observation of two completely isolated personalities who couldn’t be more different from each other (or are they?). There’s some sexual tension running through the characters, even if some never share screen time together. At times, certain scenes made me feel uncomfortable for finding them a bit arousing. Not sure if that was the intent as I know nothing of the behind the scenes of The Fall. Lack of background might be to its advantage as no one is telling me how to take specific events and how I’m supposed to feel.

I love this show and am glad that the US gets their chance to explore it through Netflix. At a clean six episodes per seasons (or series as BBC prefers), The Fall doesn’t call for a huge commitment, yet demands your attention upon viewing.

  1. I, too, think this show is outstanding. It’s suspenseful without being full of big explosive action scenes. The characters are so well drawn – they are guarded, but the acting is so good that you understand them in spite of their attempts to hide everything. I’ve been writing about this show on my blog, too. I can’t say enough good things about it.

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