Series Review: The Fall-Season 1 (2013)


Two predators. Each methodically seek out their pre with surgical precision and patience. Each train for their conquests like Olympic athletes. And both are sociopaths. One is a cold-blooded serial killer; the other is the police detective tasked with finding him. Gillian Anderson stars as the detective, Stella Gibson, in the new BBC series, The Fall, streaming now on Netflix. She is called to Belfast to lead the investigation into a series of murders of young women. The women are bound, strangled, then carefully bathed and posed. The third victim is a young solicitor. When she realizes that someone has broken into her home and displayed her lingerie carefully on her bed, she alerts the police who don't take her very seriously. As more information about the first 2 murders surface, a profile takes shape. By the time the officers realize that one of the identifying features is a fetish with lingerie, it is sadly to late to help her. They are literally at the door when the killer is finishing her off.

DCI Gibson is a master at her job, but like so many career police officers before her, she lacks the skills to maintain a healthy personal life. We are not privy to her past at this point, but it is alluded to and we can only guess how and why she became the way that she is. She lives alone, is fastidious in her surroundings and dress, and religiously swims on a daily basis. As for companionship, she wants men for sex but nothing more. Anything else would be too complicated. And when she is with a man, you can rest assured that she is in control at all times. Unfortunately things do get complicated when she beds a young officer who not only ends up married but also ends up dead as a result of some nefarious dealings. Her commander, Jim Burns, also has a complicated relationship with her. It seems that the two have a past. He was even willing to leave his wife for her. But true to her cold nature, she tells him "that would have been a mistake." She knows who she is and just what her limits are when it comes to getting emotionally involved. But her personality makes her very good at getting into the mind of a sociopathic killer.

Our killer is Paul Spector, a grief counselor who is married with 2 children. His wife is a neonatal nurse. He is also highly unemotional even though his job involves counseling people through loss. He is so detached that instead of paying attention to a young mother who has lost her son, he sits and draws a naked picture of her on the chart. As for his murders, he carefully plans them, following each woman and keeping detailed notes on their lives. He also exercises rigorously in order to be strong and in shape for each kill. His method involves gradually strangling each woman, releasing her neck, and then resuming until she is gone. He has to then lift each woman, bathe her, and then carry her back to the bed to pose her. All of this takes great physical strength. 

HIs marriage isn't perfect. The two are quite busy and he doesn't always help out as much at home as he should. No doubt due to the fact that he is out on the prowl while his wife thinks he is volunteering at a suicide hotline. Things get complicated when he finds himself attracted to the teenage babysitter and she returns his affection. But while she desires him for sex, he is attracted to her for a more deadly reason.  

The Fall is an absolutely perfectly executed TV show. The script is taut and the plot is gripping. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and, at times, make you gasp. The only complaint that I have is that I have to wait until 2014 for Season 2, but I'm sure they will make it worth the wait. Check it out on Netflix today and let me know what you think. 

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