TIM FAN­NING MY VIEW

The truth is out there but it may take DCI Gib­bons a long time to find it…

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FOOD & DRINK -

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.

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