Review: The Fall (S2 E5/6), Thursday 11th December, BBC1

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TV previewers worked themselves up into a froth of expectation that this week’s episode would present us with a police interrogation room scene on a par with those blistering confrontations in Line Of Duty. But although it was at times tense and there was a fair bit of chasing around Belfast, in the end it was a rather frustrating teaser of a meeting between Det Supt Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) and serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) – teeing up what could be a heart-stopping clash in next week’s 90-minute closer.

The police investigation was less Keystone Kops this week (the squad’s accidental trashing of the Spector family house was pointless anyway as Spector knew immediately to look for listening devices and destroy them) as they put in some effective surveillance work, although it did take both foot units and several cars to track the slippery killer through Belfast’s backstreets.

At least the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s answer to the Chuckle Brothers – Glen Martin (Emmett J Scanlan) and Gail McNally (Bronagh Taggart) – managed to redeem themselves by arresting Sally Spector in a courteous and proficient way.

It was, after all, their outrageous lack of professionalism while interviewing local thug Jimmy Tyler last week that help set up a tragic encounter in this episode. Jimmy was already suspicious of Spector’s motives in counselling his wife over their child’s death in the last series. She had left him soon after and Tyler blamed Spector. When McNally lost her cool with Tyler during questioning, he got riled and swore to kill Spector.

As luck would have it, he got his chance during the police pursuit of Spector, who was driven into the less-than-loving arms of Tyler and his gun-toting Phil Mitchell-look alike buddy. When the cops closed in, Gibson’s former right-hand woman Dani Ferrington (Niamh McGrady) showed why she is probably the most efficient officer on the force by foiling a street execution and delivering Spector to Gibson’s new deputy Tom Anderson (Colin Morgan).

Teenage temptress Katie (Aisling Franciosi) is also now in custody, having been caught red-handed at Spector’s fleabag hotel room while trying to destroy evidence.

In fact, in this pincer movement the only cop letting the side down was Jim Burns (John Lynch), who was totally the wrong person to interview Jensen (a superbly nuanced performance from Sean McGinley), the jailed paedophile priest who ran the children’s home Spector had lived in. As we’ve seen in his relationship with former lover Gibson, our man on the verge of a nervous breakdown is unable to divorce his emotions from his job – a big handicap for a high-ranking police officer. He almost lost it when the unfrocked old rogue still insisted on being addressed as ‘Father’. As it turned out, Jensen played ball by giving background on Spector (whose real name is Baldwin, apparently) – no thanks to surly Burns.

Now in custody, Spector has no intention of playing ball with anyone. He arrogantly puts his feet up on the desk of the interview room to ram this home. Gibson, now able to pull the strings, watches on a screen as her would–be toy-boy Anderson does the talking. Actually, at the moment it is quite hard to see what Colin Morgan brings to the party – apart from boyish good looks and a vocal delivery that is even more ponderous than that of Dornan. Facing each other, they look like peas in a pod.

The stage is set for Spector versus Gibson. The stakes are too high for any more blunders; Gibson knows she has a short window before Spector must be bailed and her strategy has to be the right one. Kidnapped Rose Stagg may or may not be dead – it is four days since she was taken. Spector destroyed his laptop but impassively watched his smartphone videos of Rose alternately raging at him and pleading. He must have intended leaving them on his phone to taunt Gibson – everything Spector does is calculated. It certainly worked, as in private Gibson’s ice-maiden façade drops and her tears flow copiously as the wretched Rose begs for her life.

Deborah Shrewsbury

For our episode one review go here

For our episode two review go here

For our episode three review go here

For our episode four review go here

2 thoughts on “Review: The Fall (S2 E5/6), Thursday 11th December, BBC1

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