TIM FANNING MY VIEW
The truth is out there but it may take DCI Gibbons a long time to find it…
illian Anderson had a strange, glazed look in her eyes as she floated around Belfast in the opening episode of the joint RTÉ/BBC crime drama
And my eyes felt a bit the same when the closing credits rolled.
Anderson’s character, DCI Stella Gibbons, all perfect hair and humourless expressions, arrives from London to help the PSNI with a murder investigation, and detects worrying similarities with another case. While Gibbons and her colleagues are having ponderous conversations, the killer (played by former model Jamie Dornan) is preparing to strike.
While there was the occasional glimpse of a paramilitary mural and a few cracks about religion (so as not to confuse our neighbours across the Irish Sea who were watching on BBC, presumably), this version of Belfast was refreshingly modern, full of young, good-looking professionals quaffing Shiraz. There wasn’t a troubled paramilitary with a guilty conscience or a dodgy spook to be found. Though John Lynch looked like he’d borrowed Gerry Adams’s beard for a few weeks to play assistant chief commissioner Jim Burns. Well, a thriller based in Northern Ireland wouldn’t be authentic if it didn’t have at least one character with a luxuriantly bushy silver and black beard, would it?
It all looked smart enough, but every time something seemed like it might happen, it didn’t. Gillian Anderson’s performance was especially curious. She looked bored most of the time, even when she stopped at a random murder scene to give one of the investigating officers her room number. I’m sure it’s a timeconsuming job being a high-ranking police officer but there must be classier ways of meeting members of the opposite sex. Even by modern standards, a Belfast crime scene has to rank as the crummiest place to pick up a date for the night. The only time Gibbons looked animated was when a reporter had the nerve to get between herself and her hotel dinner. Mind you, she did need to belt it back in case she missed her date upstairs.
Despite the infuriatingly slow start, there was plenty to suggest that The Fall might pick up in the weeks to come. If that’s not to be the case, let’s at least hope DCI Gibbons’ social life in Belfast picks up a bit. The fourth season of the hit US legal drama arrives on RTÉ Two with some new faces in the mix, including Matthew Perry and British actor Marc Warren. In this opening episode, Alicia (Julianna Margulies) is taking a nap in the car when an overzealous state trooper signals Zach (Graham Phillips) to pull off the highway, accusing him of dangerous driving. When Zach ends up in court, Alicia goes on the offensive and they discover a strange pattern of arrests by state troopers along the same stretch of road. Meanwhile, Kalinda (Archie Panjabi), who was facing an intruder at the end of last season, stands her ground rather than continue hiding from her estranged husband, Nick, and gives him an ultimatum to get out of town.