The Fall is an incredible police/crime drama produced by the BBC. The series ran for two seasons from 2013 to 2014. The second season ended on quite a high note and it seemed like the series was over. After a year long hiatus the third season of The Fall hit Netflix and this show, along with the third season specifically deserve to be the So Wizard Netflix Pick of the week.
The Fall, on the most basic level, is a police investigation show. Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson, in the best role of her phenomenal career) is an obsessive Detective, married to her work. Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) is a grief counselor with quite a few secrets to hide. The duality and simultaneous sameness of the two lead characters makes the show absolutely enthralling. Both characters are good at what they do. Both characters are obsessive. Both characters are broken in ways many people consider ‘normal.’ And both characters are flat our predators.
The Fall does everything right. The crimes portrayed in the story are horrific. The way they are approached is without any bias or attempt to lead the audience into judgement, no easy thing given the horrific nature of the crimes. Paul Spector is a monster when committing the crimes but as a family man, as a human being, he is relatable and even goes as far as to be likable; if the other side of the man can be put aside. It can’t. It shouldn’t. Paul Spector has all the qualities of any great cult leader.
As the crimes are investigated more backstory is revealed. The crimes aren’t as cut and dry as ‘murder’ or ‘kidnapping.’ The methods, the thought, the drive, and all the small intricacies that go along with it are explored deeply.
Gibson’s investigation delves just as deep. The average 44 minute police procedural barely scratches the surface of an investigation. The Fall allows the audience to be along for the ride in a detailed fashion almost as in depth as the very accurate series ‘The First 48.’ The investigation, evidence, office politics, and personal relationships within the department make up the side of the case most viewers would anticipate. The fact that the lead detective is also a Superintendent means that she also has to deal with the press, lawyers, and civilians. Every victory is expected and every setback is her fault. She is scrutinized professionally and personally for her involvement in this massive case when all she is trying to do is the right thing.
The conflict and duality of The Fall is certainly what makes it shine. The story is flawlessly written but the characters are so perfect the strength of the story is overshadowed.
With the strength of the first two seasons and a season two finale that could have been a series finale, and a good one, finding that season three would be realized was a moment that presented very mixed emotions. Excitement to see more. Worry that too much may undo all the greatness Creator Allan Cubitt already established.
After diving deep into The Fall (so deep no other forms of entertainment existed until I was finished) any hesitation in the third season evaporated almost instantly. With the year off between seasons my brain fired fast to catch up with what had happened. The third season picks up immediately after the game changing events in the second season. The repercussions of the climactic ending are just starting. The ripple effect of the actions, and Spector’s personal persuasion on everyone he comes into contact with is felt. As interesting as the investigation was, (SPOILER) catching the killer is only the beginning. A change in Spector’s attitude further challenges Gibson’s resolve as she appears more and more tired.
The Fall is the type of detective show that only comes around once every few years. The Killing, Luther, and the first season of True Detective come close. The Fall is just as good, or better, than all of them.
The Fall: 5/5
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