Review: The Fall (S2 E3/6), Thursday 27th November, BBC2

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The game-playing has begun in earnest and quite clearly these adversaries locked in a deadly game of cat and mouse – Det Supt Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) and serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) – are well matched in the psychopathic stakes. Courtesy of Spector’s unrivalled ability to move wraith-like through the world unseen like an Irish ninja (even by high-end hotel CCTV, seemingly) and effortlessly break through locked doors, we get a glimpse into a chink in Stella’s armour in episode three.

Inveigling himself into the sancta sanctorum of her hotel bedroom, he sniffs her underwear and reads her notebook-cum-diary. Well, there is nothing unusual in a police officer keeping a notebook by her bed, you’d think, but whatever he’s gleaned it has obviously given Spector the ammunition he is looking for in his avowed quest to screw up her entire murder investigation. So she has deep and dark daddy issues?

So, as it transpires, does Spector. And the police are keen to know exactly what his sketchy but rather murky background will elicit, as Spector is now their prime suspect after his partial fingerprints were found on scissors used to kill Joe Brawley, rape victim Annie’s brother. All they know about him is that his birth certificate shows his name is Peter, his dad was a British squaddie and that he spent his youth in dodgy children’s homes.

However, Stella has been knocked back by the news that DCI Matt Eastwood (Stuart Graham) is joining as her deputy SIO in the increasingly expensive Operation Musicman case. The serial murders probe is positively hemorrhaging cash from the police service – is Eastwood here to run it down?

It was Eastwood who in the first series accused Jim Burns (John Lynch) of weakness for tipping off the Monroes (brother and father of Spector victim Alice) that he knew about their brothel activities with cop Rob Breedlove, who lest we forget, blew his brains out in the police station when it came to light. Not happy memories, but Stella grins and bears it – anyway, she now has Spector to pursue. If only they could find poor Rose, who was abducted by Spector in the previous episode.

The cops are looking for Rose’s car and keeping surveillance on her rather ineffectual husband Tom (Jonjo O’Neill) on the grounds that it’s usually the husband whodunit. Well, blow us down when the peeping toms clock pathologist Reed Smith (Archie Panjabi) getting cosy with Tom – a little titbit that Stella later teases her with to get her back over her snarky comments last week about the scratches on the late Det Olsen’s back.

Having stashed away Rose’s car as it’s too hot, Spector takes another car from someone’s front yard – carefully depositing the baby in it on the lawn. Ironically, he later has a first accidental near-encounter with Stella when he almost drives the stolen vehicle into a police crime site.

He has still to decide what to do about annoying teenage femme fatale Katie (Aisling Franciosi). Thrilled that she fancies a man who is probably a sex killer, Katie tells Spector proudly that the police have questioned her again and that she gave him an alibi. He begins to soft-pedal on the threats and he gives her a little bogus emailing job to do to help run interference with the police investigation – soon they are merrily sex-Skypeing each other.

Only moments before Stella feels that someone is walking over her grave by ransacking her room, she reveals another aspect of her hugely complex nature to Reed in the hotel bar as the women shake off a bar-pest. Snogging Reed in full view of all the punters, Stella then tries to sweep her back to her bedroom for some Sapphic action. As they wait for the lift it is obvious that one of them will crack and cry off.

“Sorry – I was brought up in Croydon,” gasps Reed, as she takes to her heels.

Deborah Shrewsbury

For our episode one review, go here

For our episode two review, go here

 

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