The Fall 2, BBC2, with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan PREVIEW

The Fall - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  DSI Stella Gibson (GILLIAN ANDERSON), Paul Spector (JAMIE DORNAN)  - (C) The Fall 2 L
DSI Gibson (Gillian Anderson) and Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan). Pics: BBC

Rating: ★★★★½

BBC2: starts Thursday, 13 November, 9pm

Story: It has been ten days since Paul Spector told DSI Stella Gibson that she would never catch him. As Gibson tries in vain to help Spector’s surviving victim remember the identity of her attacker, Spector is forced to deal with the loose ends that he left behind in Belfast.

SERIES ONE of The Fall had its uncomfortable moments of violence against women and the brutal murder of a victim’s brother in its final episode. The second series’ opener again spends a lot of time in the spine-chilling company of serial killer Paul Spector, but the horror is kept at bay – for now at least.

Instead, we get closer to the characters. Things are not going too well for the arch fantasist and evil
manipulator Spector, played with pent-up menace again by Jamie Dornan.

He’s now in Scotland, to where he fled with his wife and children after taunting DSI Stella Gibson at the end of the last series. However, his estranged wife, Sally, has returned to Belfast, and Annie Brawley, the dark-haired young accountant of his last thwarted attack in the Shankill, has given police a description of him.

Spector returns to Belfast

Gibson is also working hard to get a proper statement from Rose Stagg, the woman who was an early

Paul Spector (JAMIE DORNAN)  - (C) The Fall 2
Losing control? Spector

survivor of the killer’s. Finally, there is the problem of Katie, the 15 -year-old family babysitter he got rough with.

When he returns to Belfast to tackle these blips in his well-ordered campaign of murder, Katie taunts him about the lock of hair that he kept, one of his trophies. She stirs trouble for Spector with his wife…

So, while initially steering away from the shocks and violence, writer/director Allan Cubitt opens up the second series by posing new problems and possibilities for Gibson and Spector. Continued…

Gibson’s vulnerability

In exploring the mindsets of the hunter and hunted, he gives us glimpses into Gibson’s vulnerability and Spector’s brazen superiority complex. On a train in Belfast, he laughingly asks an attractive woman sitting opposite if she thinks a newspaper’s photofit image of the serial killer looks like him.

DSI Stella Gibson (GILLIAN ANDERSON) - (C) The Fall 2
Gibson is under pressure

Gibson tells Annie how she coped when ‘feelings and emotions overwhelmed me’. Was the detective also victim of an attack? Gibson and Spector mirror each other in many ways, particularly in Gillian Anderson’s exceedingly cool and controlled portrayal of the senior officer.

It’s an opening episode that ups the ante for all concerned, and throws open many questions as it delves into the psychology of Gibson and Spector and the complexity of this kind of investigation.

Brilliant twist in the tail

Annie Brawley (KAREN HASSAN) - (C) The Fall 2
In danger – Annie Brawley

The Fall was BBC2’s biggest drama to launch in eight years in 2013, grabbing 3.5m viewers. Signs
are that series two’s intriguing portrait of its protagonists, to say nothing of the mystery of the killing of Gibson’s one-night stand, detective sergeant Olson, should keep viewers rooted to their sofas.

The final line of dialogue in the curtain-raiser is also something of a humdinger that makes it almost impossible not to watch the next episode.

Cast: DS Stella Gibson Gillian Anderson, Paul Spector Jamie Dornan, Sally Ann Spector Bronagh Waugh, Asst Chief Con Jim Burns John Lynch, Prof Tanya Reed Smith Archie Panjabi, Annie Brawley Karen Hassan

Check these links…
Interviews with Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan and Allan Cubitt
The Fall 2 trailer

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Bates Motel on Universal, Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, PREVIEW

Freddie Highmore split with Vera Farmiga in Bates Motel
Split personality – Norman and Norma

Rating: ★★★½

Universal Channel: starts Thursday, 12 September, 9pm

Story: Norman and his mother take over a rundown motel in Oregon and seek a new start in life following the death of his father.

WERE ALFRED HITCHCOCK looking to cast beautiful blonde Vera Farmiga in one of his films, it’s unlikely the famously repressed director would give her the role of a homicidal old matron.

Vera Farmiga as Norma in Bates Motel
Vera Farmiga as Norma

And yet, here she is playing the character we last see in his classic 1960 shocker Psycho as a mummified corpse, impersonated by her deranged son as a hectoring harridan. That’s the first surprise in this new prequel series.

It is also based in the current day, which jars at first – a prequel set decades after the original. And Norman, aged 17, played by Freddie Highmore, is a bright charming young guy who has all the girls flocking round him at his new school. Anthony Perkins’ nervy, creepy, candy-chewing taxidermist is nowhere in sight.

Dark backstory of Bates Motel

So it should be obvious by now that there’s no point in being uptight about these apparent discrepancies. The reason to watch Bates Motel is to enjoy a twisting psychological tale in which these characters pass through the dark backstory – and end up as twisted mom and serial killer son.

On the surface, Norman’s mom seems a decent sort, but there are clues that all may not be as it appears. As the local sheriff points out soon after the Bates take over the motel, mom Norma has called her son Norman. Boys are named after their dad’s all the time, she explains.

Yet her possessiveness is clear in other ways. Norma is also reluctant to let Norman hang with the girls at his new school, always finding more chores for him at their new, gothic monstrosity of a house. She even turns passive-aggressive when he wants to join the school track team – signing the form but making him feel guilty about it.

Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
As Norman says in Psycho, ‘A boy’s best friend is his mother’ 

How did Norman’s father die?

So far, so emotionally suffocating for Norm. We also learn Norma has another son by an earlier marriage – Dylan, an angry, troubled drifter.

Mother also has a yen to keep on the move, and we find out that Norman has attended five schools, never having time to blend in with friends. And then there is the death of his father in the drama’s opening moments – what happened there?

The plot twists further when a disgruntled local abuses mom and son for buying the motel after the bank foreclosed on it. He insists it’s all still his. When he breaks into the house one night, events turn bloody indeed.

Norman and Norma in Bates Motel
Before the madness – son and mom

Bates Motel is basically a mood piece, the makers (Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano) citing the surreal Twin Peaks as their inspiration. It is also most likely to appeal to a young audience who may well be into an offbeat tale of teen alienation.

So, Hitchcockian it ain’t. But Bates Motel looks as though it will definitely be having some fun with the Master of Suspense’s last really great film.

Cast: Vera Farmiga Norma Bates, Freddie Highmore Norman Bates, Max Thieriot Dylan Massett, Olivia Cooke Emma Decody, Nicola Peltz Bradley Martin, Nestor Carbonell Sheriff Alex Romero,  Mike Vogel Deputy Zack Shelby,  Keegan Connor Tracy Miss Watson, Ian Hart Will Decody, Jere Burns Jake Abernathy

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Dexter series 8 ep3. What We’re Watching!

Vogel and Dexter (Charlotte Rampling and Michael C Hall). Pics: Fox

SO DEBS IS OUT of control now, as far as Dex is concerned. This third episode of the last ever series got right to the heart of Dexter the serial killer’s incomprehension with his sister’s crisis. She’s got a conscience, duh!

That Debs (Jennifer Carpenter) shot their boss LaGuerta at the climax of the last season, instead of shooting/arresting Dexter, is now eating her up. She’s on a drug and booze plunge, unable to face the world, arrested last night for DUI, and then drunkenly barging into Miami Central and demanding to make a confession that would finally detonate Dexter’s secret vigilante lifestyle as the killer of killers.

Fortunately for Dex, Quinn (Desmond Harrington) has been on hand to keep her away from doing the right thing – not that he knows it was the right, because everyone believes Estrada killed La Guerta.

Debs is horrified that Dex keeps turning up

What is Vogel up to?

Charlotte Rampling’s character of Evelyn Vogel – an expert on psychos who helped Dexter’s dad Harry to channel his killer tendencies into destroying other remorseless murderers – is a very interesting addition to this series.

As the video below shows, when she asks Dexter why he never killed his sister after she discovered his secret, it’s as though she is not just playing devil’s advocate. ‘Not that I’d ever advocate such a thing,’ she says, averting her eyes. Is she suggesting to him that the smart thing for a ‘perfect psychopath’ to do would obviously be to eliminate Debs.

In response to Vogel’s probing about Debs, Dexter says, ‘I don’t just want to keep making her worse.’ That almost sounded as though he might put her out of her misery. Vogel looks all empathetic, offering to help Debra – but can she be trusted?

The Brain Surgeon

No question, she is up to something. Of course, at the moment she needs clever Dexter to kill the Brain

Quinn tells Dexter that Debra is trying to confess

Surgeon, who seems to be a former patient who is circling her.

There was a touching moment when Dexter, the ever excellent Michael C Hall, tried to prove to Debs that she is a good person. Having cajoled her into going to dinner with him, he showed her a man in the restaurant whose life she had saved when she was a police officer. He was there with his kids.

But even here Dexter’s cold machinations backfired, making Debs realise that if she is a good person, she should confess to LaGuerta’s murder.

UK television lacks Dexter’s cutting edge

Dexter is light years better than most UK dramas. A series that dares to make us side with a mass murderer – and pulls it off superbly through its wit, satirical expose of the schemers and fakes in us all, and its sheer devil-may-care audacity.

Do we dare hope for a happy ending for Debs and Dex? Do they deserve it?

Whatever… but what’s certain is we won’t see an anti-hero like him again.

Video: What’s Eating Dexter Morgan?

Dexter is on Fox UK on Sundays at 9pm

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Dexter, Final Season, with Michael C Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Charlotte Rampling PREVIEW

Michael C Hall in generic shot from series 8 of Dexter FOX
It’s a wrap – the last series of Dexter is under way. Pics: Fox

Rating: ★★★★

Fox: starts Sunday 7 July, 9pm

Story: It’s been six months since LaGuerta’s murder and Dexter is still managing life as a dad, brother, and serial killer. Meanwhile, Miami Metro investigates the murder of a man who has had pieces of his brain removed.

DEXTER MORGAN has been balancing on a knife edge for seven seasons and tonight embarks on his final act.

It’s been an audacious show, inviting viewers to empathise with a mass murderer of other mass murderers, and through its subversive and satirical thrust it’s worked beautifully.

The last series heightened the drama by having Debs, his half-sister, finally uncover Dexter’s secret life, and concluded with her having to choose between shooting their boss, LaGuerta, who was also onto him, or killing Dex.

Debs now hates Dexter

Her snap decision to kill the innocent LaGuerta has huge ramifications for this final season. The opener, called A Beautiful Day, picks up six months after the detective’s murder, with Dexter’s voiceover telling us, ‘A better person would feel bad about LaGuerta’s death, but in truth it solved all my problems…’

Except that it hasn’t. Not by a mile. Because Debs has now turned against Dexter, the irony being that

Michael C Hall as Dexter in the final series from FOX
DIY enthusiast – Dexter

he can’t understand why she is disgusted with herself. ‘I’m in hell, which is what I deserve,’ she says.

Having left the police, she is also endangering herself, working as a bounty hunter and shacking up with a thief she wants to arrest, but not until she knows where his haul of stolen jewels are. When Dexter learns that a hitman is coming for the guy and will probably kill her too, she refuses to let her half-brother help her.

Charlotte Rampling joins the hunt for the real Dexter

Would a psychopath develop feelings for a half-sister? Dexter’s life has always been complicated, but the writers explain his desire to reunite with Debs by plausibly suggesting that without her he will lose his identity, and possibly turn into the monster that his foster father, Harry, tried to stop him becoming by directing his murderous impulses towards other serial killers.

But Debs is only the start of his problems. Charlotte Rampling has joined the cast in the form of a psychopath expert, Dr Evelyn Vogel, who volunteers to help Miami Metro track down the maniac who has removed part of his/her victim’s brain. As Dex says, ‘She’s the last person I need looking in my direction now.’

There is definitely something off about Vogel, and she seems to be more than an expert here. There is a

Michael C Hall and Charlotte Rampling in Dexter series 8 FOX
Dexter wants to know who Evelyn (Charlotte Rampling) is

really good twist when Dexter confronts her at the end of the episode.

Dexter has been cutting-edge TV

All in all, Dexter – which is showing on Fox just a week after it goes out in the States – is set for a fine send-off. It’s been a compelling and original show, inspired by Jeff Lindsay’s amusing, almost camp novels. But the characters have evolved to the point where it it the right time to conclude the story before it is stretched too thin.

It will be fun to see what the writers have in store for our favourite killer.

Cast: Michael C Hall Dexter Morgan, Jennifer Carpenter Debra Morgan, Desmond Harrington Joey Quinn, CS Lee Vince Masuka, David Zayas as Angel Batista, Aimee Garcia Jamie Batista, Geoff Pierson Deputy Chief Tom Matthews, James Remar Harry Morgan, Charlotte Rampling Evelyn Vogel, Yvonne Strahovski Hannah McKay

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The Fall episode 4 – What we’re watching

The Fall BBC2. DCI Matthew Eastwood (Stuart Graham) and DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson)
Stella helps DCI Eastwood after Breedlove’s shocking suicide. Pics: BBC
As serial killer Paul Spector starts to make mistakes, writer and blogger Pat Nurse feels the tension…

Psychological crime drama The Fall was as chilling and intimate, shocking and yet gentle, as ever in episode 4. It is a paradox of contradictions and messy lives that is hurtling towards its final instalment next Monday. 

Serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) is beginning to lose the air of normality he displays in his everyday life as a grief counsellor. The caring mask is slipping and the arrogance that allows him to select, stalk, torture and kill women has burst to the surface showing his very ugly side 

Reprimanded for last week’s indiscretion, he apes his boss during a disciplinary hearing. With some irony he insists he does good things to help people and that petty rules shouldn’t stop him. 

But he has surely directed his client to a domestic violence shelter, and reported her husband on her behalf, because he was manipulating her to cover his tracks. After all, the woman’s husband – a paramilitary from the Shankhill Road – has threatened Spector and he needs him out of the way. 

Things are starting to go wrong in other ways too. He writes to apologise to the family of victim Sarah, who we saw in episode one, but not because he’s feeling remorse as much as bitterness that his perfect kill is tainted by news of her pregnancy. 

Things don’t get better as he moves in to slaughter his latest victim. She isn’t alone when he grabs her. A male friend is in the house and he attacks Spector, there is a furious struggle and Spector bludgeons him to death. 

Meanwhile at home, his daughter is still drawing disturbing pictures and his wife still seems oblivious to what her husband is up, though she is preoccupied by the baby whose life support has been switched off in the neonatal unit where she works. 

DCI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) has a possible lead. A professional woman tells her about a student she met at University who had a penchant for sex with the unconscious, and he almost strangled her to death in bed. This left her so traumatised she has spoken to no one about it – apart from her friend the pathologist who, conveniently for the plot, passes this news onto Stella. 

We now know that the partner of murdered drugs squad officer James Olsen, Rob Breedlove, was up to his neck in a drugs and prostitution racket – as well as having an affair with Olsen’s wife. He is suspended from duty and fears for his life. Rather than surrender his gun at the police station, he shoots himself in the head, leaving his boss dazed and in shock. 

Stella immediately jumps in and takes charge of the incident. Lesser women are screaming in shock but she is in total control and knows what needs to be done such is her cool, calm and composed professionalism – the sort of woman perfect for Spector as a victim – except as a blonde, the hair colour is wrong. 

Perhaps this is deliberate. Gibson is no victim although her superior Jim Burns accuses her of victimising men and says she clearly has no idea of the effect she has on the opposite sex. Really? With all that open shirt, busting cleavage on show and summoning men to her bed with a click of the fingers? 

Maybe she is the female Spector without the killing edge, although she can be accused of murdering male pride. 

There is still plenty to resolve in this fast paced thriller. Spector must be caught. The Olsen incident needs more explanation – how deeply, if at all, was he involved? Stella has to look at whether her ‘Sweet Night’ – where she takes men to bed for one night only – is really what she wants. Most of all, will we be left feeling let down or satisfied that the world is back in order and everyone is where they should be at the end of this five-week journey into the warped and twisted mind of a serial killer and the unconventional female cop out to catch him. 

We’ll have to wait and see next Monday at 9pm on BBC2 when the final episode is aired.

The Fall BBC2. DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) and the serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan)
Watch your back – is Stella about to come face to face with Spector next week?

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The Fall episode 2 – What we’re watching

Blogger and writer Pat Nurse is on the case for episode 2 of BBC2’s The Fall

THANKFULLY the suspense and edge-of-the-seat fear was not as intense in the second episode

DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) in BBC2's The Fall
Gibson attends another murder. Pic BBC

of new BBC2 crime drama The Fall, but still every bit as chilling.
Family man and serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) has finished off his latest victim and is savouring every last detail he writes or pastes into his sick little fantasy notebook. He isn’t even on the radar yet for investigator Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson), who is trying to solve the murders of professional women she now knows for sure are linked. 

Stella has her own problems. She’s in hot water over a meeting with a journalist, even though she said nothing, and her steamy one-night stand with drugs squad police officer James Olson (Ben Peel) ends in her rejection of him – and his assassination in front of his young son on his own doorstep.
Spector’s trophy of hair washed and cut from his victim have been found by his family’s teenage babysitter and he plays rough to get it back after she hides it in her pocket. This is witnessed by Spector’s young daughter, who is causing concern at her school for drawings that appear inspired by her father’s notebook keepsake.
The pressure is building on him. He’s lied about who the hair belongs to and questions must be asked about why his daughter’s artwork is so dark, but with three more episodes to watch on Monday nights at 9pm, there is clearly more killing to come before he is found out. 

The juxtaposition of family man aka serial killer, and compassionate grief counsellor aka cruel sadist, gives the baddie the sort of cover few in reality would ever suspect. The voyeuristic nature of Spector’s crimes is what makes the series hard to watch but also absolutely compelling. We’re rooting for Stella to solve this quickly and as all hope lies in her hands we can forgive her flawed and selfish character.
Next Monday’s episode sees Spector on the hunt for a new victim in his Belfast killing fields and Gibson is urged to carry a gun for her own protection. This is a series that is a must watch, however uncomfortable it makes us feel.

Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) and his son Liam (David Beatie) in BBC2's The Fall
Family man Paul Spector and son Liam

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Hannibal, Sky Living, with Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy

Hannibal Series 1.Episode 01 "Amuse Bouche"..Dr Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and Special Agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy)
Mads Mikkelsen as Lecter and Hugh Dancy as Will Graham in Hannibal. Pics: Sky Living

Rating: ★★★½

Sky Living: Tuesdays, 10pm

Story: FBI man Will Graham is using his psychological empathy and insight into killers to hunt a mass murderer, Garret Jacob Hobbs, when he is assigned a new man to assist him – Dr Hannibal Lecter.

ARE WE NOT OVER Hannibal Lecter? Four novels, five Hollywood movies – but producers think we still want to gorge on tales of the serial killer and gourmand.

Hannibal Series 1.Episode 01 "Apéritif"...Special Agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy)
Special Agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy)

So we have this 13-part TV series, which has just started on Sky Living. And pretty grisly it is too, with throat slashings, pools of blood and naked women mounted on the antlers of decapitated deer heads (I decided not to include a picture of that scene).

It’s all madly far-fetched, but that’s because Hannibal and his fellow serial maniacs are closer to the horror genre than crime. Author Thomas Harris’s creations here evoke that other great devourer of humans Dracula, along with Sherlock Holmes, represented by the similarly Asbergers-affected Will Graham, with his totally implausible deductions – ‘He has a daughter, same hair [as the victim], same height, she’s an only daughter…’ How the heck did he work that out?

Hannibal‘s selling point, of course, is not its believability but its thrills and shocks. These it has in abundance.

Gillian Anderson coming up
In addition, it is slickly filmed and has a good cast. Hugh Dancy, seen recently in The Big C with
Laura Linney, is the straight guy Will Graham to Mads Mikkelsen’s charismatic, beautifully dressed Lecter. Perhaps best known as the villain in Casino Royale, Mikkelsen mixes erudition with homicidal menace very well indeed, particularly in an early scene when Laurence Fishburne’s FBI chief comes calling unexpectedly.

Hannibal Series 1. Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki).Dr Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen)
Journalist Freddie gets close to Hannibal

Gillian Anderson will also be featuring later as Dr Bedelia Du Maurier, Lecter’s psychotherapist (could be dangerous job to have). In the States this is being seen as the former X Files‘ star’s big TV comeback, whereas everyone in Britain knows she been moonlighting as Victorian ladies in BBC productions Bleak House, The Crimson Petal and the White and Great Expectations.

She can also be seen in this week’s The Fall on BBC2 as a detective hunting a serial killer in Belfast, a less lurid but more chilling drama than Hannibal.

Lecter is using Graham’s ‘pure empathy’

Hannibal Series 1.Episode 01 "Amuse Bouche"..Dr Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen)
And the award for best-dressed serial killer goes to…

Anyway, the Grand Guignol continues this week in episode two with the discovery that Hobbs has spawned a copycat killer, a mass woodland grave is found containing people that were buried alive, and a journalist hunting a scoop is lured into Lecter’s therapy room.

The big twist will come, of course, when Graham finally works out that Lecter is observing and learning from the FBI man’s ‘pure empathy’ with mass murderers such as himself. In the meantime, watching Hannibal toy with Graham should be interesting.

Hannibal is over the top, and the attempt at dark humour (each episode is named after a course on a French menu) is not as biting, so to speak, as the satire in Dexter, for instance. But the show is getting good reviews in the States, and the superior writing and acting seem set to have patrons coming back for more helpings.

Cast: Hugh Dancy Special Agent Will Graham, Mads Mikkelsen Dr Hannibal Lecter, Caroline Dhavernas Dr Alana Bloom, Hettienne Park Special Agent Beverly Katz, Laurence Fishburne Special Agent-in-Charge Jack Crawford, Lara Jean Chorostecki Fredricka ‘Freddie’ Lounds,  Scott Thompson Jimmy Price,  Aaron Abrams Brian Zeller,  Kacey Rohl Abigail Hobbs, Gina Torres Phyllis ‘Bella’ Crawford,  Ellen Greene Mrs Komeda, Raúl Esparza Dr Frederick Chilton, Gillian Anderson Dr Bedelia Du Maurier

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The Fall, BBC2, with Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan PREVIEW

The Fall BBC2 The serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) and DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson)
Hunting the hunter – Gillian Anderson as DSI Gibson. Pics: BBC

Rating: ★★★★½

BBC2: Monday, 13 May, 9pm

StoryWhen a murder in Belfast remains unsolved, DSI Stella Gibson is brought in from the London Metropolitan Police to review the case. She soon suspects that the killing is related to another murder.

GILLIAN ANDERSON stars alongside relative newcomer Jamie Dornan in this complex and dark serial killer drama, set in Belfast.

While the fiendishly brilliant serial murderer has become a cop show cliche since The Silence of the Lambs, The Fall is a far more intriguing portrait of a lone killer operating under the guise of your normal family man.

Unfolding with visual flair (directed by Jakob Verbruggen) and with multi-layered characters written by Allan Cubitt (one of the Prime Suspect writers), this will fill the Monday night hole left by Broadchurch in the must-see TV stakes.

The Fall BBC2 DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson)
Stella wants to head the investigation

The Fall is not a whodunit
Not that The Fall is a whodunit like the David Tennant/Olivia Colman series. It is more a how-will-they-catch-him gripper.

DSI Stella Gibson is called in from the Met in London to review a Belfast murder inquiry that has stalled. The female victim is the daughter of a politician.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has investigated many sectarian killings down the years, but the sexually motivated murder is a crime they have little experience of. It is not long before Gibson suggests the killing may be linked to an earlier crime in which a woman’s bound body was found in her wardrobe.

Paul Spector – daddy and stalker

The Fall BBC2 The serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) and his wife Sally Ann (Bronagh Waugh)
Family man Paul and his wife, Sally-Ann

The audience knows more than the characters in this drama, because we can see Paul Spector going about his daily routine as a grief counsellor, daddy, stalker and predator. As he talks through the grief of one bereaved couple in his office, he sits drawing nude sketches of the mother before him.

Outside of work he has in his sights a young female solicitor, a brunette whom we soon realise fits a type he is obsessed with, and he burgles her home, arranging her underwear on her bed for when she returns.

More chilling are the scenes of him at home, father to his children and husband to his wife, who’s a nurse. The monster hiding behind a mask.

The Fall vs Hannibal
Gibson, whom Gillian Anderson plays as an understated but formidable personality, starts to ruffle the local force with her theory that a sexual predator is at work. She puts herself forward to head the Task Force to hunt the hunter.

Solicitor Sarah is stalked

The story is plausible and down-to-earth, and doesn’t rely on mad plot twists to keep us engaged. And Dornan, the former Calvin Klein model perhaps best known as the sheriff from the fantasy series Once Upon a Time, is by turns warm, cold and intense as the devious, narcissistic, stalking, peeping killer.

The opening episode (of five) ends on a chilling note that will have viewers on the edge of their seats for more.

Incidentally, Gillian Anderson, who since her cult stardom in The X Files in the 1990s has been something of a BBC costume star in recent years (Bleak House, The Crimson Petal and the White, Great Expectations), can currently also be seen in Hannibal over on Sky Living. But while the Hannibal Lector show is full of gore and outlandishly twisted murders, The Fall is nearer the truth and a far more engrossing portrayal of a killer among us.

Cast: Gillian Anderson Stella Gibson, Jamie Dornan Paul Spector, Archie Panjabi Tanya Reed Smith, Bronagh Waugh Sally-Ann Spector, John Lynch Jim Burns, Niamh McGrady Danielle Ferrington, Laura Donnelly Sarah Kay, Frank McCusker Garrett Brink, Simon Delaney Jerry McElroy, Siobhan McSweeney Mary McCurdy, Gerard Jordan Brian Stone, Michael McElhatton Rob Breedlove, Ben Peel James Olson, Karen Hassen Annie Brawley, Lisa Hogg Marion Kay, Emmett Scanlan Glen Martin, Aisling Francios Katie

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