Crime Scene - - CONTENTS - By Kevin har­ley

The pyscho­log­i­cal thriller re­turns for a grip­ping third, and pos­si­bly fi­nal, se­ries.

This se­ries has al­ways ex­celled at ten­sion and stealth – those mo­ments where Gil­lian An­der­son’s mea­sured de­liv­ery sets the pace or when Jamie Dor­nan’s stare speaks vol­umes.

So if the third (fi­nal?) se­ries of Al­lan Cu­bitt’s cop ver­sus killer drama seems to jump the shark so of­ten that it needs wa­ter skis, it also suc­ceeds as a sus­tained mys­tery and a char­ac­ter piece, one which leaves room for self-in­ter­ro­ga­tion while mak­ing palms sweat.

Se­ries 2’s cli­max saw killer Paul Spec­tor (Dor­nan) shot and be­ing cra­dled by An­der­son’s DSI Stella Gibson while she ig­nored a wounded col­league (and lover) nearby. Some Fonz-grade shark-jump­ing fol­lows, as Spec­tor sur­vives, with am­ne­sia blot­ting his crimes from mem­ory. This can seem like forced plot­ting or worse, as old mur­ders are re­vis­ited for the am­ne­siac Spec­tor’s ben­e­fit.

Spec­tor may be “ma­lin­ger­ing” and that am­bi­gu­ity is milked for ten­sion. The mo­ment he wakes up in the care of a nurse (Ais­ling Bea) who re­sem­bles his vic­tims is a scream-at-the-screen mo­ment. And it’s drawn out, with shots of Spec­tor in bed, be­hind his nurse, just out of fo­cus and per­haps plot­ting…

Yet Sea­son 3 isn’t all about Spec­tor. If the first two se­ries made Gibson too am­bigu­ous, al­most to the point where she was de­fined largely by her re­la­tion­ship with Spec­tor, the third cor­rects that. Gibson nails her pro­fes­sional mo­tives for sav­ing him, and we dis­cover more about her dur­ing an elec­tric ex­change with Spec­tor fan Katie (Ais­ling Fran­ciosi). And dur­ing one scene, Gibson dis­sects Spec­tor’s du­bi­ous ap­peal when she lac­er­ates his de­sire for an au­di­ence – the scene ends hor­ri­fy­ingly, but not be­fore her ver­bal take­down makes us punch the air.

Not that Se­ries 3 is fault-free. The soft-spo­ken ther­a­pist (Kris­ter Hen­riks­son, Wal­lan­der) work­ing with Spec­tor verges on Freudian par­ody, while John Lynch’s Jim Burns is re­duced to a plot de­vice, his exit full of loose ends. Yet per­haps that’s the point. We get a sat­is­fy­ing cli­max but Cu­bitt’s in­tent to mess with his own drama’s pre­cepts ex­tends to ques­tion­ing tidy end­ing clichés. One cer­tainty emerges: by tip­ping his scales to­wards Gibson, Cu­bitt has earned in­ter­est in a fourth se­ries of The Fall.

Se­ries 3 sees Dsi gibson nail her pro­fes­sional mo­tives for sav­ing se­rial killer Paul Spec­tor.

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