Netflix Review: Season 2 of ‘THE FALL’ – A Stately Serial-Killer Drama


THE FALLWill Darnell // Contributing Writer

While rumors circulate of a possible reprisal of her iconic run as Agent Dana Scully on the out-of-this-world X-FILES, Gillian Anderson is currently starring as a tight-lipped, detached detective on the unheralded Irish drama THE FALL.

With motley choices, even in the weighty and serious crime category, it would be easy to miss the Belfast-centric series amid the hundreds of options on Netflix.

However, unlike many of its contemporaries, this show, like its leading lady, is taut and terse and more than moves the needle. The years between major projects has not tamed Anderson’s ability to lead a drama, even if this time the actor opposite her is less comic, alien-obsessed foil, and more dark and brooding strangler.

Fans of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY will quickly recognize her co-star, Jamie Dornan, as Christian Grey in the year’s most tepid sex soiree. Dornan, here as Paul Spector, plays an unhappily married bereavement counselor, who spends his time hunting, dominating and strangling business-savvy brunettes.

Jamie Dornan is Paul Spector in THE FALL. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Jamie Dornan is Paul Spector in THE FALL. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Through the series’ first six episodes, it’s nearly impossible to determine who is cat and who is mouse, as Anderson delivers a stunning and sturdy performance equaled by the cold and menacing depravity Dornan emanates every time he opens his mouth.

The series, featuring exceptional writing and characterization, alters point of view between its two leads, alternating between the strong, cool detachment of Anderson and the quiet intensity and white-hot anger of Dornan.

The second six-episode season just hit Netflix, and is more than worth the time for fans of slow-moving, though tense, crime dramas.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.