During its two previous series, The Fall has proved itself to be quite unlike any other crime drama on television. Yes, it has all our favourite procedural elements, characters that kind of fit into familiar archetypes, but what sets it apart is the two main characters – DCI Stella Gibson (played by Gillian Anderson) and the serial murderer Paul Spector (played by Jamie Dornan) who have been locked in a cat-and-mouse game, both addicted to the chase and seemingly fascinated by each other. And this is what sets The Fall apart – great acting, and the kind of will-they-won’t-they that isn’t your usual will-they-won’t-they. It’s back for a third series in the coming weeks, and last night there was a screening and a Q&A with the stars.
Last night, at the BFI on London’s Southbank, the cast and creator of The Fall gathered to launch series three. The Fall has always had a huge global reach thanks to its stars – Anderson has always been a fine actress, and her work in The Fall continues this quality, while Dornan has, during the show’s lifetime, gone on to become a household name thanks to this and his roles in Hollywood movies. That’s why it felt more than just your average launch last night – besides the press there were fans of the show also in attendance, who produced almost as much excitement as some of the Sherlock events I’ve been to. There were rows of fans waiting to get into BFI1, clutching pictures of Dornan and Anderson in the hope they’d get an autograph.
I’m not going to give too much away about what happens, but you can safely say the first episode of this third series is excellent, with Cubitt once again achieving the high levels of directorial flair he showed in the first two series. I don’t think it’s giving too much away to say that events pick up directly after the series two finale, where Spector was shot in the woods. “We’re losing him,” cried Gibson as she cradled her nemesis.
So this first episode is all about whether Spector lives or dies, and whether ultimate or earthbound justice will be served. And it’s thrilling. Really thrilling. There are so many counterpoints and moral juxtapositions throughout – which I’ll discuss in my review when the show starts – that it adds so much more context to the frenzied attempts of the hospital staff to save the killer’s life. They know he might be the fabled Belfast Strangler, but have a job to do. Gibson is never very far away from Spector as he’s being worked on in the hospital, and this mirrors what has happened in the rest of the show – she’s so near, and yet so far. But instead of distance as the barrier, it’s consciousness.
She’s desperate for him to survive, not just because she wants to get him to court, but, you get the impression, because she wants contact with him. Not sexual contact, but something else; something valedictory and on a different level altogether. Still two sides of the same coin. Still forever locked into an internecine relationship.
It’s really great stuff.
Anderson is, as usual, utterly fantastic, letting her emotions show a little bit more than usual. Let’s not forget it’s not just Spector in the hospital – the kidnapped and rescued Rose Stagg also fights for life, and Tom Anderson (who was shot alongside Spector in the series two finale) is also receiving treatment.
Who lives and who dies? Who knows.
Interestingly, in the post-screening Q&A Cubitt said that there may well be more Fall. Whether he was joking or not, well have to see.
For all our news and reviews on The Fall, go here