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BBC series The Fall might have ended in 2016 but it’s gained a new following after arriving on Netflix UK. The show saw misogynist serial killer Paul Spector (played by Jamie Dornan) and Metropolitan Police detective Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) locked in a battle of wills. Season three witnessed the culmination of their cat and mouse game.
Was Paul Spector faking his amnesia in The Fall?
WARNING: This article contains spoilers from all seasons of The Fall
Season three of The Fall started with Spector getting shot after the police found him and victim Rose Stagg (Valene Kane) in the woods.
Spector was on the verge of death and during his time in hospital claimed he’d lost his memory with no recollection of his crimes.
He was being held at a secure psychiatric unit where he was being treated by Dr August Larson (Krister Henriksson), who was trying to ascertain his state of mind.
From the outside, it wasn’t clear if Spector was faking his memory loss as he spoke about the crimes he had supposedly committed in the third person in a bid to distance himself.
However, a CT scan revealed there was little physiological evidence to suggest he’d sustained any significant brain damage which would account for his memory loss.
While Spector maintained his amnesia, Gibson wasn’t convinced at all and promised he would face justice for what he’d done.
To further muddy the waters, Spector brutally attacked Gibson during their interrogation of him.
For some viewers, this may have been an indication the game was up for Spector, but it wasn’t confirmed one way or another.
Speaking to Yahoo back in 2016 after The Fall series finale aired and the shocking conclusion played out, the show’s creator and director Allan Cubitt addressed some of the big burning questions including those surrounding Spector’s amnesia and whether it was real or not.
Ever the writer, British star Cubitt wanted to leave a layer of ambiguity over this plot point and allow viewers to debate it.
He said: “It seemed to me that if I resolved it either way by revealing that it was completely fake or by suggesting that it was entirely real, it would be a compromise, it would be a cop-out in some kind of way.”
Cubitt went on to say: “His symptoms are impossible to fake when he first comes around, so he’s genuinely confused, and there may possibly be some foundation to amnesia that’s real in the first instance. But my feeling is that he builds on that.
“As people keep saying, ‘If it’s not entirely malingered, then it’s probably exaggerated, and he’s using it toward his own ends.’”
From his words, it seems Spector is simply using the situation to his advantage by pushing the amnesia aspect as far as he can.
But it seems Spector is just manipulating those around him which he does constantly throughout The Fall, revealing his dark and devious nature regardless of the extent of his supposed memory loss.
Cubitt also addressed why Spector assaulted Gibson during his grilling, saying he also wanted this moment to be “left open to interpretation”.
He said he wanted to reflect a reality, “whereby these things are never clear-cut in the real world either, how far someone is feigning”, so again leaving it up to the audience to draw their own conclusions.
Cubitt said of Spector’s violent outburst: “We approached the attack on Gibson on the basis that he wouldn’t stop attacking her unless he was stopped from attacking her.
“There was no sense in which he was teaching her a lesson or something; he would kill her if he was allowed to.”
Consequently, Gibson could have become another of Spector’s victims if she had been alone with him.
Spector even took out Gibson’s lover Tom Anderson (Colin Morgan) as he tried to protect her by breaking his arm and leaving him incapacitated as he continued beating the detective to a pulp until he was stopped.
The Fall seasons 1 to 3 are streaming on Netflix UK now
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