An odd one this – and all the better for it. It’s hard to place Gillian Anderson’s DSI Stella Gibson in the canon of TV cops, but it’s probably fair to call ‘The Fall’ post-Scandinavian. There’s a touch of Sarah Lund in her un-clubbability and single-mindedness, and a little Saga Norén in her taste for commitment-free, even affection-free sex. The whole thing also feels nicely unadorned, with no incidental music and hardly any characterising exposition.
If there’s a flaw, it’s that Jamie Dornan’s character, the killer Paul, seems simply too handsome, likeable and generally functional for his somewhat outré treatment of women to feel all that credible. Tonight, Paul strikes again, fitting another brutal killing into his routine of work, parents’ evenings and generally being a great father and husband. Elsewhere, Stella is learning about the gangsterism, corruption and residual violence that still pervades Belfast. Gripping stuff.