Gillian Anderson loves playing a sexual and fearless woman on “The Fall”

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Season 2 of The Fall has already aired on BBC2 (as you likely know from our stellar recaps by Dorothy Snarker), but Americans will soon get the chance to watch it in full when it comes to Netflix on January 16. Besides boasting a gay female character (patrol officer Danielle Ferrington, played by Niamh McGrady), queer fans of actresses Gillian Anderson and Archie Panjabi have enjoyed their characters’ flirtations in Season 1, which continue in Season 2.

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Creator Allan Cubitt says he finds the relationship between Stella Gibson (Gillian) and Reed Smith (Archie) are most intriguing because of the similarities they seem to have on the surface.

“I wanted Gibson to have a fellow professional of a similar age,” Allan said during a Netflix TCA day in Los Angeles. “They have that interesting conversation in Season 1—I find it interesting—about doubling, the idea that  if you do a really really difficult job, how do you go home and put your children to bed? I think there’s something in the fact that [Archie’s] character is married and has children and Gillian appears to be single, as far as we know, so there’s quite an interesting tension for Gibson in the fact that Reed smith seems to have her life in better order.”

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Stella is Belfast’s Metropolitan Police Superintendent, while Reed is a pathologist. They frequently work together on the case at the center of The Fall, which is a series of murders in Belfast, Ireland. Without spoiling too much for those waiting for the Netflix release, there is a moment of shared intimacy in Season 2 that Allan said was ill-timed for the pair, as Reed has her family waiting at home.

“Almost something sort of wrong [happens] between them you know?” Allan said. “And the recognition of that in Archie at that point—she kind of backs up.”

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Meanwhile, Stella Gibson was game for things to go further with Reed, which Gillian says is a fun part of her fearless character.

“I mean I think that that was definitely an aspect of what I found appealing about her. There’s a degree of self-confidence and shamelessness,” she said. “She behaves how she wants to behave and she doesn’t—she’s not interested in, or wouldn’t do it to hurt anybody, but is taking care of her own needs and kind of shameless about that. That was part of  my curiosity about her and an interesting dynamic that certainly people have picked up on. And it’s generated a lot of conversation. The biggest aspect of that conversation is why is it so unusual? Why is it such a strange aspect to a personality that in 2015 now, it’s still something that we—that is unusual enough that it needs comment?”

 Netflix TCA Press Tour

The Fall has not yet been renewed for a third season, but Allan is hopeful and has plans for more of Archie Panjabi, too.

“She’s a fine actress, a great asset to the show. And when you think about her character, I think if we get the chance to move forward, to give her more to do,” Allan said. “She’s a great actress.”

“Archie’s a lovely lady,” Gillian said. “She’s great. We’ve had a lot fun. We’ve had some great scenes to do together and and we laugh a lot.”

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During the TCA panel, Allan noted that an American version of the show was in the works but fell through, which wasn’t so disappointing. 

“I think there’s probably still sort of, maybe, interest out there.  I think maybe after the second season, there might be more. For me, we share a common language. I’m not quite sure why you would remake The Fall, particularly for the American market.  I’m really gratified by the fact that Belfast accents seem to present no problem,” he said. ” So I’m very happy with you guys watching what we’ve created.”

Gillian agrees, saying her role in the show is her favorite to date.

I felt very strongly, in doing the first season, that Stella was one of my favorite characters I’ve ever played,” she said. “And I still feel that way. I feel like she’s one of the most interesting and compelling and complex characters I’ve ever had an opportunity to spend time with.  And this series is probably the favorite thing that I do.”

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That’s saying a lot, considering Gillian’s close to 30-years-long career as an actress, and her huge success with The X-Files in the ’90s. Still, it’s not hard to see why playing a character like Stella Gibson, the bisexual woman at the center of solving the case of a mysterious serial killer, is worthy of Gillian’s affection. We share in that love for her character, and the show.

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