Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Alastair McKay Looks at the Shows You Should Have Watched (and Still Can) and Gives a Serial Update

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Alastair McKay Looks at the Shows You Should Have Watched (and Still Can) and Gives a Serial Update

Article excerpt

Byline: Alastair McKay

SO THAT was The Fall (BBC iPlayer). After the first run ended with an unsatisfying tease, the story has concluded with a bang and a whimper. Not, perhaps, the bang that the story suggested was coming. And not the whimper either.

Still, it was a strange beast. At times, Allan Cubitt's serial thriller was Basic Instinct crossed with Cracker, with the Robbie Coltrane role occupied by Gillian Anderson and Sharon Stone played by Jamie Dornan. It was a romance in which the narcissistic cop, Stella (Anderson) was mirrored by the killer Spector ( Jamie Dornan). Stella was the star, and Spector was the spectre.

The Cracker bit was the sense that tough crimes can only be solved by people who inhabit the dirty emotions of criminals, and the drama which unfurls is a cat and mouse game in which the kitten and the rodent are happy to switch places. Tom, meet Jerry. Jerry, eat Tom.

There were several other tropes in play. The spectral Spector's transgressions were mobile-device crimes, splicing into a kind of Sex, Lies and Videotape for the digital era, with further opportunities for voyeurism provided by Skype and video-phones and cameras inside interrogation rooms; all of them combining to make a comment, of sorts, about pornography, and privacy, and voyeurism. It's now a cliche of crime dramas that the criminal must smash up his mobile or throw it in a river, because miscreants despite their mastery of murdering and stuff haven't worked out how to change a SIM card.

Spector the spectre had some pretensions, and a dangerous amount of education, so he was able to blah on about existentialism, which seems a bit out of synch for a man of his age, but his real talent was his ability to peel a tangerine in one go, leaving the skin in an unbroken loop (the true sign of a psychopath).

Similarly, it seems plausible to suggest that the show's creator Cubitt has seen a couple of Michael Haneke films, and maybe the interrogation sequence in Steve McQueen's Bobby Sands drama Hunger, because the energy of The Fall's feature-length finale had Stella and Spector playing light and shade in a game of serial killer speed dating, with both of them employing sexual charisma as a mask for their insecurities. …

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