In serial drama, The Fall, extremely creepy (and handsome) serial killer, Paul Spector, played by Jamie Dornan, may have met his match with Superintendent Stella Gibson played by Gillian Anderson. Set in the city of Belfast, this Irish/British drama will send the chills climbing up your back.

My favorite kind of drama includes the nastiest characters, that’s why I wrote Fractured Girl. In The Fall, serial killer, Paul Spector, is married with two small children and is a grief counselor by trade as he begins killing professional women in their homes. Able to keep his family life and secret, murderous life divided, he hides a journal in the ceiling attic above his daughter’s room. The journal contains drawings and information about each of his victims.

Sexy Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson arrives from London to help solve the crime. Both beautiful and calculating, she realizes from the start that the crimes are driven by a solitary individual. She is promoted to Senior Investigating Officer.  As evidence unfolds, her task force is met with difficulty. Law enforcement is tangled in payoffs to a wealthy government official and though she identifies a suspect right away, there isn’t enough proof to arrest Spector.

Throughout the first season, you get the feeling that Stella is playing an unwinnable game. Paul is the first to notice her efforts and  enjoys the cat and mouse with her. To add to his collection of creepy behaviors, he befriends the fifteen year old babysitter, inviting her over for beer. This friendship evolves with some hidden motives, both from Paul and the teen, Katie. Paul’s wife is too busy see the reality unfolding in her living room, but their young daughter is, unfortunately, not.

If you know anything about the Kansas BTK killer, you will see parallels between that real life psychopath and Paul’s character. This spine chilling psychological thriller delivers enough creep and crawl to last through the cold winter months ahead. James Dornan’s convincing performance as cool  Spector was all too real.

The title of this serial killer drama was drawn from lines of the fifth stanza of T. S. Elliot’s poem, The Hollow Men.  The reference to “Falls a Shadow,” is a theme covering the entirety of the series. Many nights, my husband and I debated the meaning as it applied to each character’s arch, the arch of the investigation and the arch of the plot. One could argue that each of them might be plunging, failing or declining in some way.

Add to that, the name Spector plays on the word specter- meaning shadow, or ghost. Food for thought. Watch the Netflix original just in time for Halloween.

 

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