After the daughter of a prominent Northern Irish developer is murdered, Senior Investigator, Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) is called in to do an enquiry into the case. It doesn’t take her long to connect the case to a series of killings of professional women in Belfast, all of whom look similar. Is there a serial killer on the loose.
Meanwhile grief counsellor Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) is living a double life. By day he’s a loving husband and father, by night he’s acting out his dark fantasies.
It won’t be long before the two are catapulted into each other’s paths as Gibson’s unconventional methods lead to an abduction and Spector’s carefully constructed web of lies starts to unravel.
I love a police procedural, especially when serial killers are involved so it’s no surprise that The Fall appealed to me. There are several things that make it a particularly good example of this kind of show.
The first is the performances. Gillian Anderson is spellbinding as the enigmatic Gibson. She’s a great character, feminine and sexy, yet cold, direct and impassive. She confounds and intrigues her colleagues, particularly the men who are confused by her penchant for brief sexual encounters and apparent inability to be ruffled . Jamie Dornan is almost as good as Spector, who is both alluring and repulsive. They are well back up by the supporting cast which includes Archie Panjabi playing the coroner, Bronagh Waugh playing Spector’s wife, Sally, Valene Kane as Spector’s ex, Aisling Franciosi as Spector’s young protege and Brian Milligan playing a Shankill Road gangster whose wife Spector has been counselling.
Added to this is the gender politics at play with Gibson leading the investigation. Her male colleagues often struggle to know how to interact with her and it is very apparent that she has built up a hard shell in order to maintain her authority in the face of many challenges. If that wasn’t enough there are dirty cops, Russian mobsters, the IRA and Spector’s dark past to contend with.
I was completely sucked in and the cliffhanger ending meant I went straight into season two without looking back. Highly recommended, but we warned it’s got some pretty grim moments and you might feel a bit icky after some episodes. Not for the faint of heart.