One of the best new series to make its premiere this year has been The Fall starring Gillian Anderson. Clocking in at only five episodes, the show told one story and did so with exceptional strength. Coming to us from the BBC, The Fall is like a breath of fresh air much like Luther was when it premiered. It is also much nicer that it is a BBC production as they do not have to drag a series out beyond what it needs. Should it need 2 episodes or 12, then they do what it takes which is also quite refreshing in a land of structured television seasons.
The Fall is drama at its best – a show about nothing new, but done so skilfully due to the writers, directors and actors. Taking place in Belfast, the show introduces us to Anderson who plays a police officer named Stella Gibson. She’s been around the block a few times it seems and knows the ropes better than most. Gibson seems tired but knows what she wants and goes after it with alacrity and determination. Not above lying to her superiors, she becomes the head of a task force on the hunt for a new serial killer who is every bit as precise and determined as Gibson herself.
There are many great characters in the series including the murderer himself played by Jamie Dornan to perfection. He can play creepy and menacing one moment, and loving and devoted parent the next and seems to be born into the role. A nice bit of casting was Niamh McGrady as the young police officer who Gibson recruits to essentially be her aide. She is determined as well to do as best a job as possible even though the circumstances may not present themselves.
Gillian Anderson though is the star of the show and she steals it with her commanding, yet understated and subtle performance. She is the woman every man seems to want in the show, a role she more than likely had enough experience playing everyday as she portrayed Dana Scully in the X-Files. She is older of course, yet still attractive and perhaps even more beautiful than she has ever been and uses it in the show to propel her character forward. As stated, she plays the part quite subtle, almost quietly, but her presence demands attention and your eyes are on her in every scene. She leads by example during the episodes, though doesn’t always seem comfortable in the role even though she wants it more than anything. Unlike the short supporting role in Hannibal, it is nice to see Anderson take center stage once more.
All in all, the show was done masterfully. Once again we got an ending that was not tied up as satisfactorily as the audience may have wanted. And even though it seems like a lot of shows are doing this lately, it was done quite well and so does not seem like a cheap ploy by the writers. A second series was commissioned and it looks like there will be more opportunities to explore Stella Gibson and cast come next year when it appears on our screens.
4.5 out of 5