The Fall: Mystery Great from the BBC

the fall

the fall

Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan in “The Fall.” Image via BBC Two.

I’m a mystery fan. Aside from the highbrow stuff I read for my book clubs, I almost always pick a mystery for my personal reading. Watching The Fall is like reading a good mystery.

The Fall is a BBC Two production, available on Netflix. It was first broadcast on BBC Two in May of 2013. The two leading characters are played by Gillian Anderson from The X Files and Jamie Dornan from Fifty Shades of Grey. Anderson is Stella Gibson, a police detective on the hunt for Dornan as serial killer Paul Spector.

Here’s the BBC Two trailer.

It’s a large cast with a number of excellent actors, including Archie Panjabi who plays a motorcycle riding medical examiner. Season 1 has 5 episodes. We know who the killer is from the beginning, but Gibson only gets a glimpse into who it is by the end of episode 5. Season 2 is coming in 2014.

It’s the Pacing

Pacing is the key to this series and the reason it feels like reading a good book as much as it does like watching a TV show.

Everything is revealed in meticulous unhurried detail. The killer’s hunt for prey, his crimes, his attention to detail and his slow slide into carelessness as the pressure builds while the police come closer are all given to us in logical slivers and slices. Jamie Dornan is superb as a loving dad who is hides his killing from his family and co-workers. He comes off as a completely nice guy who is absolutely beyond suspicion to those who think they know him.

Netflix released this trailer for the series.

Gillian Anderson stuns as a Detective Superintendent who gives orders to a whole raft of men of lesser rank. She plays her part with stoic brilliance. Occasional glimpses into her thinking or emotions both reveal and conceal. She’s strong and wields her power quietly but emphatically. If Gibson catches Spector in season 2, I hope there will be additional killers for this Detective to hunt, because Stella Gibson is a strong character, and Anderson makes the most of her. I want more.

Of Similar Minds

The detective and the killer are of very similar minds. They think in the same way, they problem solve in the same way. They are both smart and intuitive. The only difference is that they take these qualities in themselves and use them in different ways – one character for good, the other for evil. In the Netflix trailer above, we see Gibson staring into space as she quietly and brilliantly gets inside the mind of the killer and paints a profile of his needs.

We see the psychological similarities between cop and murderer as the story of the hunt for victims and the hunt for the killer unfold side by side in parallel sequences and mirrored actions. I love the way this story is told. It makes you ponder the thin line between good and evil.

Gillian Anderson is in her 40s now and more beautiful than ever. As Stella Gibson, she dresses in gorgeous suits and attractive silk blouses. Detective Gibson isn’t above unbuttoning the blouse a bit to attract attention if it will help her solve the crime. You can enjoy The Fall just for the gorgeous, even if you don’t like mystery stories.

If you don’t have Netflix, you may be able to catch some episodes of this series on the BBC iPlayer. (They aren’t always available there.)

Have you seen The Fall? What did you think of it.

4 thoughts on “The Fall: Mystery Great from the BBC”

  1. I so agree with you, I just love this show. I love Gillian’s character, she’s smart and knows it, she’s sexy and isn’t afraid of it. And I like how we see both sides of the crimes. I can’t wait for season 2, it cannot come soon enough.

  2. I watched this and liked a lot about it. Anderson in particular was stunning; her performance reminded me a lot of other ‘ice blondes’ such as Nicole Kidman and January Jones, only much better. Dornan was good as well; you genuinely liked his character (when he wasn’t killing) and he really conveyed the effort of keeping his nasty side hidden away.
    The direction was good as well, especially the scenes where the camera glided above the rooms in Dorman’s house – a neat metaphor for the compartmentalisation of his life.
    But there were a couple of things bothering me. The first was that, once again, we had a crime drama in which all the victims were young, pretty females. This trend has been ongoing for a long time – its one of the reasons why I stopped watching the various CSI franchises – and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is disturbed by this. After all, crime figures from all Western countries show that men are overwhelmingly the victims of violent crime, so why don’t fictional dramas do more to reflect this?
    The second thing was that it’s getting a second series. OK, I’ll watch it, but I hope it doesn’t go beyond that. I’m sure we all have fond memories of TV series that we enjoyed for the first, second, maybe third series, then got increasingly fed up with as the writing and characters got stale and repetitive.
    And this could so easily have remained a one-series drama – in the final episode there were only two, maybe three, scenes that would have need to be rewritten.

    1. Val, you make an excellent point with the serial killer targets pretty young women trope. I’m going to be thinking about this for a long time and it may change my watching habits.

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