If you like psychological thrillers and have yet to see The Fall, grab the popcorn and prepare to be glued to your sofa. After broadcasting its third season in the United Kingdom, this tantalizing BBC produced crime show is now available to Netflix streaming customers.
Created by entertainment guru Allan Cubitt, The Fall takes the viewer on a bumpy ride for seventeen episodes as Gillian Anderson (starring as a senior police investigator) tries to capture a killer (played brilliantly by Jamie Dornan) and then, once caught, make sure he is punished with a long jail term. In between the chase and the search for justice, the audience struggles with the villain’s double life as an adult. He appears to function as a productive member of society and is shown as a loving father of two young children. When told of his horrible abuse as a boy in Season Three, fans wrote they felt almost sorry for him, despite the vast damage he inflicted on his many victims. Tragically, no one who crosses the path of the so-called Belfast Strangler comes away unscathed.
Though I initially powered up Season One to pass the time while recovering from surgery last year, I became thoroughly engrossed with Mr. Cubitt’s storytelling ability, his clever use of metaphors and his gift in conveying so much about the characters with few words. Others no doubt felt similarly as The Hollywood Reporter called the show “the highest-rated drama series launch on the channel since Rome in 2005.”
I plan to watch again, this time with pencil in hand so I can take notes about style and technique. In an interview about his process, Allan Cubitt talks about starting with research and “extensive reading” that quickly segues into a “beat-by-beat outline.” In answering a question about the role of themes, he calls out “best dramas” as those which “create variations on a series of themes.” In his latest work, the duality of hate and love takes center stage.
Be forewarned. The finale of The Fall is violent. I had to turn away from the screen several times. If the goal was to haunt the audience by depicting the goblins of a very dark soul, the writer succeeded.