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Series: The Fall
The Fall is a British crime drama series created by Allan Cubitt. The series stars Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson, a senior police officer investigating a string of murders in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The series is set in Northern Ireland and follows a PSNI investigation into a string of recent murders. When the PSNI are unable to close the case after 28 days, Detective Superintendent Gibson of the Metropolitan Police Service is called in to review the case. Under her new leadership, the local detectives must track down and stop the Serial Killer Paul Spector who is attacking young professional women in the city of Belfast.

Due to good reception, the BBC has renewed the show for a second season, which has aired on November 13, 2014. So far, there has been a release of the first season in DVD and Blu-Ray.


The Fall provides examples of:

  • Above Good and Evil: Discussed in-universe between Spector and Stella during their phone conversation. Spector taunts her "moral relativism" and claims to be free from the shackles of moral conventions.
  • Alone with the Psycho: How it ends for Spector's victims, unfortunately. He sneaks into their homes, ambushing them while they're alone. Backfires spectacularly during Annie Brawley's murder, when her brother unexpectedly shows up.
    • Nearly happens to the Spector family's babysitter. She develops an obsession with Spector and attempts to seduce him. He nearly loses control and murders her but is able to control himself (she's none the wiser).
  • Break Them by Talking: Jimmy Olson attempts this with the minor crook he arrests in the first episode. It doesn't go so well, as the crook just smiles the whole time before creepily remarking "I know where you live". He's murdered outside his home by a hooded assailant the next night.
    • Stella later attempts this on Spector as they're talking on the phone. She gets in some good Armor-Piercing Questions, but unfortunately isn't very successful in getting new information.
  • British Brevity: The first series was only five episodes.
  • Creepy Doll: Spector has a particular "type" of woman. It's revealed in a later episode that he has a mannequin that looks like this type, which he dresses up and gropes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Stella, who's deadpan most of the time but isn't above dropping a dry, sarcastic remark from time to time.
  • Death by Sex: Happens to Jimmy Olson. After his one night stand with Stella, he's murdered on the lawn of his house as he's coming home.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Spector truly loves his wife and children, and seems shaken when Stella reveals during their phone conversation that she knows he has children and taunts him by asking what they'll think of their father when his crimes come to light.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Spector actually has many standards. In fact, he seems to be a pretty stand-up guy...aside from the from the whole serial killer thing.
    • In his day job as a grief counselor, he recognizes that one of his patients is a victim of spousal abuse. He goes out of his way to help her though helping her seemed to be incidental to the fact that he was stalking Annie Brawley and his patient happened to live nearby while he was casing Brawley's home, facing punishment at his job and harassment by the husband's former gang buddies.
    • When he finds out that Sarah Kay was pregnant at the time he murdered her, he's genuinely remorseful and actually writes a letter to the police department, addressed to her father, apologizing for the act and stating outright that, had he known she was pregnant, he would not have killed her.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Spector seems to fall into this, as he has concerns about his daughter's seeming sociopathic tendencies. He tells his wife that it's just a phase, but it's clear he suspects that she's like him and he actively tries to steer her away from it.
  • Ethical Slut: Stella fits this. She's staunchly feminist yet open and unashamed of her sexuality. See Madonna-Whore Complex below.
  • Fair Cop: Stella and Ferrington.
  • Fish out of Water: Stella, who at the beginning of the series hasn't been to Belfast in some time and has to quickly adapt to the circumstances there (including general unrest between the population and the police, as well as the rampant corruption).
  • Freudian Excuse: Subtly hinted at when it's revealed that Spector is an orphan. His wife remarks that his lack of family creeps her out a bit.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Spector attempts one with Stella during their phone conversation, but she rebuts it.
  • Happily Married: Spector's cover story, and it seems to be a happy marriage on his wife's part. At least before she finds out that he's been "cheating" on her. She decides to keep their relationship together for the kids and agrees to move north to attempt to repair their relationship after Spector suggests it. Little does she know he's actually trying to get away from Belfast and the rapidly closing-in Stella.
  • Hello, Attorney!: Sarah Kay.
  • In the Blood: Implied with one of Spector's daughters, who seems to show some of Spector's sociopathic tendencies. It's ambiguous, however, as she has terrible nightmares from glimpsing Spector's mannequin in the attic and later seeing Spector violently wrestling with the naked babysitter through a cracked door.
  • Just Between You and Me: Spector calls the police station and demands to speak with Stella. When she answers the phone, he immediately asks for her personal number so he can talk to her privately, since he knows the other investigators are listening/recording the conversation. Unbeknownst to him, Stella hooks up a device to her cell phone that allows her to record their "private" conversation.
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: Stella notes that the media tends to have this, dividing women into virgins or vamps. She specifically asks someone to remove "innocent" from a press release about the victim. Not that she wasn't innocent, but Stella didn't want to give the impression that she is pure or virginal, which would backfire if the killer's next victim was a prostitute; she doesn't want people to think that someone less "pure" would possibly deserve her killing in some way.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Invoked. When Spector's wife starts getting suspicious (especially after he asks her to lie to the cops about his whereabouts on the day of Annie Brawley's death), he concocts a fake affair with the underage babysitter to cover his serial killing.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Spector not only makes the usual remarks on vaguely morally relativistic lines to excuse his acts, but quotes Nietzsche himself multiple times.
  • Northern Ireland: The show is set in Belfast.
  • Not So Different: The show overall follows both Stella and Spector, juxtaposing their similarities and personalities. In-universe, Spector actually says this to Stella during their phone conversation, claiming their only major difference is that he's unburdened by conscience. Stella flatly rejects this, telling Spector that he's just a commonplace misogynist.
  • Off the Record: A reporter tries this with Stella. She flatly rebuffs him with "You and I both know there's no such thing". Later on, Spector tries this with Stella by calling her personal cell phone rather than the police station's official line. Luckily, Stella manages to covertly record the conversation with a device plugged into her phone.
  • Omniscient Database: Averted with the nail polish on Sarah Kay's body. It takes at least several days before Stella and her investigation team find out the specific brand the killer used.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Spector usually sneaks into his future victims' homes before killing them and rummages through their underwear drawer.
  • Precision F-Strike: Stella to Spector during their phone conversation when he claims that he will get away with the murders and she'll never find him.
    "No. You fucked up."
  • Significant Sketch Book: Spector keeps a scrapbook/sketchbook filled with disturbing drawings and keepsakes from his murders.
  • Straw Nihilist: Spector defends his acts by quoting Nietzsche at length (though he does appear to feel somewhat bad about them, but rationalizes these impulses he cannot control).
  • The Stoic: Both Stella and Spector.
    • Spector for obvious reasons: he's a sociopath who has to fake most socially-expected emotions. He does, however, genuinely love his family.
    • Stella has virtually no reaction to the news that Olson was murdered the night after their one-night stand.
  • The Troubles: They constantly overshadow the series, inevitably given that its Northern Ireland. Notable are the memorial plaque to police officers murdered during the conflict, and former IRA members involved with drug trafficking.
  • You Are Too Late: A rather tragic case with Ferrington when Sarah Kay is murdered. Sarah called the police a few days before because someone broke into her house and left her underwear on her bed. Ferrington and her partner are skeptical, and their scrutiny makes Sarah feel ashamed of the incident and she asks them to leave. A few days later, Ferrington has second thoughts and begins to regret dismissing Sarah. She decides to check on Sarah. She goes to the house and knocks on the door, but no one answers. She leaves...and the camera cuts to Sarah being gagged and smothered on the other side of the door.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Stella has a one night stand with Jimmy Olson. After he's murdered, Stella confesses the tryst to Burns (since there's an investigation going on and she wants to be open and honest). Burns is angry about it, since Jimmy was actually married. Stella coolly replies that Olson never told her he was married...then she reminds Burns about their own affair in the past, when he didn't tell her he was married either.
    • And the real irony is that Olson's wife was also having an affair... with another police officer.

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