The Fall: Complete Series
Created by: Allan Cubitt
Starring: Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, John Lynch, Aisling Franciosi, Bronagh Waugh

Review by Stephanie Cooke

The Fall is a series that follows a police task force, led by senior detective Stella Gibson. They try to find the man responsible for a series of murders in Belfast.

Unlike many crime dramas, The Fall doesn’t switch cases from episode to episode— it doesn’t even switch cases from season to season. Rather it focuses on one serial killer and the cat and mouse chase between him and the police, specifically the character played by Gillian Anderson in the series, the aforementioned Stella Gibson.

The whole thing is set up to show the comparisons between our villain and hero within the story. Not unlike what so many others have set out to demonstrate before this whether it be Batman and Robin or Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. Stella and Paul are essentially two sides of the same coin that are driven by different means but ultimately are so incredibly similar. Even the costuming and hair/makeup reflect this with Stella’s blonde hair and white blouses while Paul often dresses in blacks and other dark colours with dark brown hair.

It’s difficult to watch The Fall sometimes (aka almost all the time), especially as a woman. With all kinds of women coming forward with stories of sexual harassment, assault, and rape in the wake of Harvey Weinstein-Gate and the other subsequent abusers named. It’s especially hard to go from living through victims sharing their awful stories to watching a show that deals entirely with sexual assault, rape, and murder.

I’d seen the first season of The Fall when it first arrived on Netflix. After it concluded, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to continue watching it or not. As mentioned, the subject matter is extremely uncomfortable and triggering for many which makes it especially hard to sit through.

It is deeply unsettling.

With the series lasting for three seasons, it’s hard to tell someone to try to commit to watching it. While it’s completed and done with which sometimes makes it easier to take the time to sit down and binge something, the show doesn’t feel wholly satisfying from start to finish. There are lots left unanswered. Due to the uncomfortable nature of the show, it feels like one of those things that might be better left untouched. Not to mention the fact that, again, the subject matter is very disturbing and binge-watching is probably not something that I would recommend.

However, there’s a lot of interesting components within the show. To me, Stella Gibson is an incredibly fascinating character – crummy accent by Gillian Anderson aside. I love that we have this woman who is completely in tune with her body and what she wants. She’s not afraid to go after exactly that and has zero shame when it comes to defending her choices. She has deep-seeded issues that are brushed on throughout the show but hey, who doesn’t? Anderson brilliantly portrays her character and embodies it to the fullest. I think people can’t help but compare everything Anderson does to her iconic role as Dana Scully. Stella’s like Darkest Timeline Scully got 100% fed up with everyone’s shit, moved to Ireland and decided to get shit done by putting bad men away.

The Fall Complete Series Special Features:

  • Behind the Scenes Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Photo Galleries

It’s hard to say with this one. It’s a show that has such triggering and traumatic content, as I’ve mentioned numerous times now. The show is well done overall and intriguing as heck. There is little to be gained regarding answers and closure within the series and for a lot of people, that’s dredging up some uncomfortable feelings in not getting to a satisfying end.

So I’ll say this…

If you’re into slow crime dramas, definitely check out The Fall. The characters and the complex story will win you over.

If you’re not willing to commit to three seasons of the same story with the same case (and no others) for its entirety, or if you’re triggered by any of the content, I would steer clear of this. Not even Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Stella Gibson will be worth something that will make you feel horrifically uncomfortable.

Stephanie Cooke
Stephanie is a Toronto based writer and editor. She's a comic book fan, avid gamer, movie watcher, lover of music, and sarcasm. She is a purveyor of too many projects and has done work for Talking Comics,, Agents of Geek, Word of the Nerd, C&G Magazine, Dork Shelf, and more. Her writing credits include "Home Sweet Huck" (Mark Millar's Millarworld Annual 2017), "Lungarella (Secret Loves of Geek Girls, 2016), "Behind Enemy Linens" (BLOCKED Anthology, 2017), "Home and Country" (Toronto Comics Anthology, 2017) and more to come. You can read more about her shenanigans over on her <a href="">personal web site</a>.

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