I have recently been watching the second season of The Fall, a BBC drama that pits an English police detective against an Irish serial rapist and murderer. It’s fantastic, if extremely disturbing, viewing although it did take me a little while to get used to Gillian Anderson’s English accent as I’m so used to seeing her as Agent Scully in the X-Files.
I was thinking about the show recently and trying to pin down exactly what it is about the show that I like. At first I thought that it was because it was a very woman dominated show with most of the main characters being women. This is something that is rather notable as the vast majority of police shows are very male centric, especially shows where the villain is a man who preys on women. It does grate somewhat when shows are dominated by men protecting women so it is nice to see a woman hunting the predator.
Which brings me to what it is about the show that I find so compelling. The whole show seems to me to a metaphor for the conflict between feminism (albeit, of the liberal rather than left wing kind) and misogyny, more so than any other show or film that I can think of. Jamie Dornan is fantastic as Paul Spector – the embodiment of the rage, manipulativeness, victim blaming, violence of misogyny and patriarchy. I can’t think of any character I’ve seen recently that has stirred such repulsion in me which is a credit to Dornan’s abilities as an actor. It is extremely easy for a villain, especially one as vile as Paul Spector, to be portrayed in an almost cartoonish fashion (Joffrey in A Game of Thrones is a good example of this) and so becoming less believable.
I really can’t recommend the show highly enough. The first season is on Netflix and season 2 is airing now in the UK, you can watch it on the iPlayer if you’re not in the UK if you install Hola Unblocker some other IP masking browser extension.
It’s quite sad how much I love a good cop drama. Especially when I have such a deep criticism of the social role of the police. 😀 Hopefully this will tide me over until I can find another bleak and harrowing Scandinavian drama.