Have you seen The Fall, starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan?
If you can get over the combined ick factors of this police procedural/psychological suspense drama being about a serial killer who stalks and kills women, as well as the fact that Jamie Dornan’s other most well-known role is that of Christopher Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (I’ve got no problem with Fifty Shades of Grey, really, but how did they manage to cast two such beautiful people–the other being Dakota Johnson–who had absolutely no chemistry with each other as the leads in an erotica series?), this program is a superb watch. I’m not into giving spoilers, but I think I can give you the lay of the land without giving it all away (and the trailer at the link in the first line gives away more than I’m going to). In the first series, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (the show is set, and filmed, in Belfast) is struggling to try and close a murder case, and some things have gone wrong along the way, so they bring in a senior officer from the Metropolitan police force in London to investigate their investigation.
Enter Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson). Gibson shows up and starts doing the top-notch policing for which she is known, finding connections that the other detectives have missed, but she also rankles her colleagues when she singles out a Belfast officer for a quickie affair (which does not end well, and leads to bad public relations for the department). Throughout the first and second series we see the killer doing his work and DS Gibson doing hers, interspersed with scenes of Gibson struggling with her own demons and Paul Spector (Dornan’s character; the killer) in warm domestic scenes with his wife, Sally Ann, and their two children. It’s unsettling, to say the least. Although they are, of course, the focus of the show, the investigator and the killer are not the only strong characters in this program: we also meet a variety of other Belfast investigators and cops, and I actually kind of got to like Sally Ann Spector.
Here’s where it gets hard to talk about the program without giving away too much. In the third series Spector has been apprehended and undergoes medical treatment for a serious traumatic injury. In its aftermath, he exhibits symptoms of amnesia, meaning he cannot remember (so he says) any of the crimes from the past six years that the police want to charge him with. It looks dire for him, and it looks dire for his wife Sally Ann, who is being criminally charged for providing an alibi for her husband before she realized what she was covering for. Accordingly she takes some pretty dire steps to try and get out of her situation, and then…the series ends, with her story never discussed again. Did she go to prison? What happened to their kids?
I think this was totally weak. A show that took such pains early on to really examine some of the most troublesome miscommunications and misunderstandings between men and women (one of my favorite lines: “She may have complied, but that doesn’t mean she consented”) does not even try to resolve the storyline revolving around the killer’s spouse and family? And there certainly would have been time. The episodes in the first two series moved along at a fairly brisk clip, but the third series relied very heavily upon slow-motion scenes and a lot of intense and long close-ups of Spector and Gibson.
Anyone have any thoughts on how The Fall ended, or other thoughts about the show?