Lesbians! Did you ravenously watch Orange is the New Black this weekend? Are you looking for something to fill the excellent-shows-on-Netflix void? If you haven’t already watched already, The Fall is your answer. A British crime drama set in Belfast, it premiered in Ireland and the UK late this spring, and was recently made available on Netflix streaming for all of us Yankees to enjoy as well. And praise be for that, because Gillian Anderson is so sexy and powerful in it she will make you weep. And if Gillian Anderson herself wasn’t enough, she also shares the screen with Archie Panjabi in four of the five episodes. I know! It IS like a dream! And it IS devastating that there are only five episodes!
With hopefully only a medium amount of spoilers, here are five reasons why you should watch those five episodes right now.
1) You get to watch Gillian Anderson sexily eat a cheeseburger.
OK, so the main reason to cheer for Gillian Anderson’s character, who plays the lead detective in ongoing murders of women by a serial killer, is that she possesses so much power and smarts, all while being cool as a cucumber, that she makes everyone around her either cower in fear or really want to have sex with her. Speaking of sex, she also picks and chooses which men she wants to have sex with, and then when they all lose their minds and want to be devoted to her for life, she’s like, “Eh, no thanks,” effectively turning the hetero sex power paradigm on its head.
But the brief cheeseburger scene is also really, really good.
2) Archie Panjabi rides a motorcycle and wears a leather jacket. Duh.
Panjabi’s character as a pathologist who studies crime scenes and dead bodies, while still badass, is definitely different from Kalinda — she has two children and is presumably straight here — but the writers clearly throw us a bone by having her first introduction in Episode 2 accomplished by rolling up to the scene on a motorcycle. Maybe it’s impossible for any production to look at her and not want to put her in a black leather jacket. She just wears them so well.
There are also a number of ship-worthy scenes between her and Anderson’s characters, one of which involves Anderson pretending to be tied to a bedpost while Panjabi takes pictures of her. Now, I should note that they are attempting to recreate the brutal murder of an innocent woman, so perhaps even thinking of it as at all suggestive is sick and offensive, but it’s still Gillian Anderson and Archie Panjabi and a bed.
Then there’s a very Kalicia-esque scene of the two of them having some whiskey at a bar, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this one.
3) Meet the newest most adorable lesbian on the block.
Gillian Anderson’s character ends up taking a police constable as her right-hand-woman during the murder investigations, and this copper is played by Niamh McGrady, and she is the absolute cutest. She seems to be a character who’s unsure of herself at first, but then carries out her duties very professionally and devotedly, all while still remaining real adorable. She only reveals that she’s gay in one of the last episodes, to which Anderson responds in a way typical of her character, meaning, she appears to not really give a shit. But you can detect the slightest hint of a grin on her lovely face. And we shouldn’t really be surprised about McGrady’s character, considering how well she wears a blazer during her gay reveal.
While we don’t get to see any romantic developments for her character, the shipping possibilities between her and Anderson, who specifically singled her out when there were much more experienced people to help her with the job, are huge.
4) Spectacular and creepy writing for those who miss the early seasons of Dexter.
There is an equal amount of screen time allotted to Anderson and the police as there is to the life of the serial killer, an absolute creeptastic man who leads a seemingly regular life, working as a bereavement counselor of all things, with a big hearted wife and two cute children at home. As is often the case with British dramatic shows versus American ones, the pacing is slowed down to an almost painfully suspenseful degree, as more of his systematic and deranged mind is revealed, just beyond Anderson’s reach. Yet the editing of the show is also brilliant, purposefully and constantly cutting between storylines, and it never once feels boring. As each episode progresses, you can hardly stand to look at the guy, yet you’re also continually fascinated by how, and why, these people can exist. To be honest, I’m surprised I even watched this show, as I typically can’t handle anything even remotely scary, but everything about this was so well done that I couldn’t turn away.
5) Down with misogyny.
Everything about this show is feminist, as women take charge in a typically male-dominated police world, all while taking down a man who terrorizes women. Or at least trying to take him down. But in the most important and dramatic dialogue of the season in the last episode, Gillian Anderson actually powerfully uses the word “misogyny” and it is just a beautiful thing.
The Fall has been commissioned for a second season, although we unfortunately won’t see any new episodes for a while. Production is slated to start January 2014. Until then, feast on these five episodes. I wouldn’t be upset if you then wanted to write some fanfiction or make a bunch of GIFs. I’ll be on Tumblr, waiting.