It’s rare for me to do a write-up of a TV series or film but when opportunity strikes for me to rave about one, I go full steam ahead. The Fall, a new BBC 2 series completed its first season and is available now on Netflix streaming. The Fall is dark, disturbing and features one of the strongest female performances in awhile. The Fall is one of the best crime drama’s I’ve watched on TV this year.
The Fall is described as an “Irish-British” crime series that premiered on BBC 2 earlier this year and ran from May 2013 to June 2013. The series stars Gillian Anderson from the X-Files fame and Jamie Dornan (I haven’t heard of him but he’s on my radar now). I’ve never watched the X-Files and didn’t recognize her but Gillian Anderson’s performance in this series is what made this one a winner. She’s tough, as the lead investigator Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson. She’s brought in to help find a serial killer who’s terrorizing Belfast.
The Fall has the classic “violence against women” type of story line. The killer targets beautiful, professional women who live alone. His hunting ground is a dating service. The identity of the killer is known from the start. He has a wife and family. He’s a grief counselor. He’s good-looking and smart. He hides in plain sight. I thought he was one of the creepiest villains I’ve seen on TV. The suspense for the most part lies in the hunt. DS Gibson is determined to catch this sadistic killer. You can also say that they are equally matched in how he continues to elude capture and in how she tries to get into his mind.
I thought the series, it’s only 5 episodes, well written and well-acted. Nice cinematic style with close-ups in key scenes and moments to amp up the tension. This is also a psychological thriller, in part. For a short series, it hit all the bases for me. This in spite of its unsavory subject.
Nice Belfast scenery but I wish there was more of it. The dialogue was smart and incisive. DS Gibson had some great lines. We all know that the best women detectives are depicted as what? Emotionally distant, smart, dedicated and tough and can hang with the big boys. DS Gibson is no different. However, most men tend to find her sexually alluring and are willing to leave their wife and children behind for her. Of course, she’s the only one with common sense enough to say: that would be a mistake. She enjoys her share of “sweet nights” (first time I’ve heard the term) and gets called on it when things get messy and complicated in an internal investigation in another storyline. I liked how she handled that one, too. I liked her character, period. She’s no nonsense and calls it like it is. She’s a strong female protagonist. She makes this series worth watching.
There are multiple storylines with one involving a prostitution ring. The pacing was great. Every episode left me wanting to watch the next one. I liked how the surprises popped out of nowhere making things even more complicated and interesting. The show’s violence is matter of fact. Different from other shows where the bloodier and gruesome it is the better. Not for me. There are forensic details and clinical scenes. While this story may sound conventional, the writer Allan Cubitt decided to emphasize some things and make tweaks to other elements in the serial killer trope. The ending is somewhat different and unexpected. I’m not sure how most viewers felt about it but it made sense to me and dare I say it? Realistic. There’s to be a season two and I’m excited by that news. I think this series is worth watching.
If you get the chance to watch it, do it.