TV Focus// The Fall - Episode One

Warning: May contain spoilers!

"No-one knows what's going on in someone else's mind. And life would be intolerable if we did..."

Cast: Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan.

The story: Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) is dispatched to Belfast to conduct a case review on a local murder as the murderer sets to adding to his list of victims...

Describing a new television series as "the next Killing" is something of a mixed blessing in promotional terms. With such expectation weighted on top of the always pivotal premiere episode - such a claim can fall flat on its face easily. It's a relief then to see The Fall not do as its name implies at the first hurdle. 

There are definite echoes of the Nordic Noir dramas that have deservedly been given much praise over the last couple of years; with some definite nods to the aforementioned The Killing in stylistic content. But a certain element of straightforwardness is necessary given that there isn't the luxury of the ten episodes usually afforded to the Nordic dramas it's been compared to in previews.

There is a blanket bleakness to the performances, perhaps characteristic to the setting of Belfast and it this that makes the drama. Dark corridors are traversed sans the flicking of a light switch and an unrelenting feel of claustrophobia fills every scene perfectly. To say that the series starts as it means to go on is an understatement. 

The killers sexual compulsion is performed admirably by Jamie Dornan, who makes the act of drawing erotic sketches during a marriage counselling session look a lot more sinister than it should be. The contrast between his family life and secret fetishist murder adventures is drawn well, with the actor’s facial expression just the right side of emotionless. That old line about Counsellors being madder than their patients is just about right here!

The drama cracks on at a slow but precise pace as we see Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) arrive, review crime scene videos with the analytic coldness of a certain character she portrayed for nine years and announce she's "staying at the Hilton" to a detective in the street in a manner that suggests some eroticism may be lurking beneath that cool professional outer layer. The killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) meanwhile is down to the act of killing by the conclusion of the episode as two police officers unknowingly drive off into the cold evening. 

A good start then for this mini series. It's good to see Gillian Anderson back on television in the kind of detached role she was made for and the lack of a 'next time' teaser makes the wait for the next episode all the more thrilling!

Best Line: "Really and truly you should fuck off. Now!" (Stella tells a reporter bothering her in the hotel bar where to go in no uncertain terms.)

The Next Killing?: We'll see...

Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan.

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