The Fall (4 stars)

Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson return for thrilling second series of crime drama

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The Fall

There are aspects of The Fall which might feel very familiar. This isn’t the first crime drama where the criminal investigator and chief perpetrator appear to share some common psychological ground, while the show eschewed the traditional whodunnit from its opening minutes for a more contemporary whyhavetheydunnit approach. But on the originality stakes, it’s been a very long while since a British TV drama has held viewers in such a strangler-style grip for a full hour at a time, at which point a desperate collective gulp for air can be taken.

As we embark upon the six-part season two, Jamie Dornan continues to excel as Paul Spector, a sensitive bereavement counsellor by day, caring father in early-evening and brutal killer of dark-haired Belfast women in the dead of night. Meanwhile, the always-excellent Gillian Anderson plays his opposite number, the deeply troubled DS Stella Gibson, drafted in from London to take on this most baffling of cases. While she has made telephone contact with the murderer, the cops burrow away fruitlessly in the face of a funding crisis and internal wranglings.

But, chances are that Spector might turn out to be his own worst enemy. The fear that all of his tracks may not be wholly covered will lead him to encounters that might compromise his identity. But with extreme cunning, creator Allan Cubitt keeps us dangling with Spector not simply a two-dimensional homicidal maniac whenever he finds himself alone in a room with a potential victim. The effect is to crank up the tension to new levels.

BBC Two, starts Thu 13 Nov, 9pm.

The Fall Series 2 Trailer - BBC Two

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