The Fall is a show that focuses on a serial killer who is committing sexually violent murders in Belfast. When he’s not killing young women he is a bereavement counselor, a husband, and a father. Metro Police Superintendent Stella Gibson is a senior investigating officer who is sent to assist the Belfast police department as they’ve been unable to solve the case. Being an outsider Stella faces a lot of hostility from the local detectives but she knows serials killers and is good at her job. The show essentially consists of the two hunting each other which makes for an interesting dynamic.
The Fall is an intense psychological game of cat-and-mouse which is a nice break from all the whodunit and whydunit shows of late. It’s incredibly crafted with everything from the scripts, settings and acting being near perfect. It’s a slow burn show but worth the time if you can stick with it.
Belfast is portrayed beautifully in the series and the way they make the setting a character is what reminds me so much of Scandinavian crime dramas. I don’t think the show would have had such a strong character and identity had it been shot in London. It’s so much more mundane and realistic in Belfast. For me that was one of the draws of the show – the mundaneness of it all, the versimilitute – this could happen in my back yard. I found the killer’s story incredibly fascinating and was interested in finding out why a husband and father could and would do such things. In the behind-the-scenes extra the producer talks about how extensively they researched the show including dicussions with police and psychologists and it paid off, hardly anything revolving around the crimes or motives seems inconceivable.
The show explores some interesting topics and plays with gender roles and stereotypes which could be construed as feminist, misogynist or misandric. One of the quotes that made me think this was “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” -Stella Gibson (Quoting Margaret Atwood). I can see how some may not like the show because it creates a hero in Stella and portrays men as either weak or monsters (even the cops are pretty flawed). I think this is a very simplistic reading, the characters are multifaceted and Stella is incredibly damaged and has a lot of particularly male traits. There is a tendency for the male characters to be portrayed as cruel or weak, but Dornan’s character is a family man and capable of love and compassion. It’s a complex show, but I can see how a basic reading of the show could be portrayed as a feminist text and not particularly favorable towards males. I can think of many shows wear the women are portrayed terribly (Breaking Bad for example) and this is a non issue. It has also been accused of being misogynist for glamourizing sexual violence – you can’t win!
You can read a more in-depth review for series 2 here.
It is great to see a box-set of the show and it’s a must have for fans of the show. While it is light on extra content it is still well worth the purchase coming in at 640 minutes over four discs. If you’ve never seen the show then buy it now! It’s also been extensively well received with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
There will be a third and final series of the show. You can view a teaser trailer here.
Some random trivia: A lot of the characters are named after guitar brands: Spector, Burns, Stagg. There’s apparently over 60 references to guitars throughout the series.
Includes behind the scenes extras which run for 12 minutes. It provides a brief background about the development of the show, the portrayal of Belfast, troubles finding an actor to play Spector, and Dornan discuesses doing difficult scenes with beautiful women, which is kind of funny given his role in 50 Shades of Grey doing nothing but that. This is all inter-cut with scenes from the show and interviews with Julian Stevens (producer), Gillian Anderson, Director Jacob Verbruggen, Jamie Dornan, and Tom McCullough (production designer).
Available on R4 DVD from Madman Entertainment.