The Fall starts tonight on BBC One and whilst Broadchurch might have completely moved the goalposts when it comes to TV crime drama, The Belfast based show might be the next great UK detective drama of 2013.
It’s all the more surprising when the opening gambit is so terribly clichéd as The Fall’s is, in which London detective Stella Gibson is searching for a serial killer targeting lone women and strangling them in their own homes. Thankfully, the show almost makes you forget that synopsis right from the very first minute.
This is a world more influenced by Broadchurch and Line Of Duty than Luther and Waking The Dead. There are no renegade cops on their last chance, there are no dramatics at a desk at the slightest hint of bad news and there’s not a car chase in sight.
The show isn’t afraid to have a minute or so go by with no lines of dialogue, something that helps a show that could have been (on paper at least) a horribly over the top snooze fest be something far more. In a genre that’s currently in the best health it’s seen for a while, this really shouldn’t come as any excuse.
The Fall also has a great duo of characters at its heart, with both Stella and the killer himself Paul (played by the ex-underwear model Jamie Dornan) being extremely interesting and rounded individuals. Stella isn’t some grizzled, snarling vet or a wet behind the ears sap; she’s quietly strong and gets on with the job of police work without chewing the scenery. You know, like an actual professional.
Paul isn’t some oddity with a thousand yard stare either, he’s much more than that. Simply the fact that the gorgeous Dornan is completely playing against type not only for him, but for the genre, is enough to have us intrigued.
This is Anderson’s show though, and throughout she brings her absolute A-game to the screen, as even without massively emoting, she commands your attention when she’s on screen, even when it’s doing something as simple as eating a burger.
If the show can build on this excellent pilot, then Anderson’s full time return to TV could be one of the most interesting dramas of the year.