I stumbled across The Fall on Netflix last year while looking for a new series to watch. Gillian Anderson aka Federal Agent Dana Scully being the main character was also a big draw. And with only 6 episodes in each season, that seemed like an easy show to get through.
“Easy” to get through it was not. (That sounds like Yoda.)
Scully–FINE, I’ll call her Stella Gibson–a Senior Investigating Officer, is assigned to Belfast to help out with an unsolved murder investigation. When the killer strikes again, she realizes this is not an isolated incident and the hunt is on.
Meanwhile, Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan from OUAT/50 Shades of Grey), appears to be a respectable family man, working as a grief counselor. He has those kind, understanding eyes and cares deeply about his children with a special bond to his daughter But the realization of his true life is revealed as he stalks brunette women, getting to know them intimately before he strikes.
Thus, the cat-and-mouse game between Stella and Paul is underway.
This show is fascinating, but also extremely creepy. Our TV culture is obsessed with getting its viewers to feel for the murderous/adulterous misunderstood man (e.g. Walter White, Don Draper, Dexter). By showing Paul’s affection towards his children is definitely an attempt at tugging on our heartstrings. But the moment he attacks, all that is forgotten and we see his true self.
“Men like Spector are all too human, too understandable. He’s not a monster. He’s just a man.”
Stella constantly reminds us that Paul is simply a man. That all men are capable of these acts. That we shouldn’t give him any credence because he feels godly or above a basic human because he is capable of such violence and heinous acts towards women.
In order to punctuate her point that all men have this capability in some form or another, she reminds a colleague that: “No, you’re not [like him]. But you still came to my hotel room uninvited and mounted some kind of drunken attack on me. I was saying no quite clearly. You ignored me and carried on…No, it’s not the same. But you still crossed the line.”
Stella is in charge of not only her work, but of herself. She has no qualms about taking men to bed for one-night-stands and shrugging them off the next day. She knows who she is and what she wants. And she breaks the rules to get there when need be.
“Why are women emotionally and spiritually so much stronger than men?
“Because the basic human form is female. Maleness is a kind of birth defect.”
One of my favorite things are the parallels in filming created between Stella and Paul. Their actions are mimicked, but in completely opposite circumstances, which just adds to the creepy factor. Stella doing seemingly mundane research, while Paul stalks his next victim. Or Stella taking someone to bed, while Paul cuddles one of his children. It’s just a really cool way to illustrate who they are.
Gillian Anderson is also British in this show, which took a bit of getting used to for me. She grew up in London and developed the accent as a child, but eventually trained herself to speak with more of an American accent when she moved to America. She can easily shift back and forth between her two accents, depending on the circumstance. Sometimes she does interviews with her British accents, sometimes not. It’s interesting. Anyhoo…
All in all, this show is dark, it’s uncomfortable, it’s squeamish, but it’s important. If you have 12 hours to spare and love the slow burn of a serial killer drama, I’d recommend checking out the 2 seasons of The Fall on Netflix.
And I sure hope there is a series 3 because it ended on quite a bit of a cliffhanger.