Allan Cubitt, writer of the Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan crime drama The Fall, has revealed he was personally insulted by accusations of misogyny in the show.
Speaking at a screening of the opening episode of the third and final series on Wednesday night, Cubitt responded resolutely to the claims that previous instalments had featured too many scenes that lingered on the ritual killing of young women, and that the show was somehow complicit in the central character’s unpleasant fantasies.
“It is personally insulting,” he said of the reaction to the first two series of the drama in which Anderson’s policewoman Stella Gibson is on the hunt for Jamie Dornan’s serial killer Paul Spector.
“It’s something I had to talk to my [now 22-year-old] daughter about, who I am glad to say counselled me very well about why I should not give it any more thought, because I was very upset by the implications – because, after all, whose fantasy would it be but mine?
“I am not saying the show isn’t open to criticism, because of course it is. But there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that [The Fall] has adopted a particular criticism of patriarchy and the way male violence sits in the patriarchy. Gibson has talked about that discourse endlessly from a feminist perspective to the point where it seems to not matter what she says against what Spector does.”
One newspaper likened the drama as an “invitation to share an extended rape fantasy” but Cubitt said such remarks completely missed the point of his work.
“Surely the issue is Spector is a misogynistic character although, as he says himself in series two, ‘I don’t hate women, I hate everybody, myself included’. And that’s perhaps closer to the truth of Spector. The most violent thing we ever did was see him kill [a man] Joe Brawley [in series one]. I think it is that sort of drama, quite challenging in its way.”
Cubitt added that much of the feedback he has received suggests people find a deep emotional truth in his characters, citing the example of Katie, the young woman played by Aisling Franciosi, who becomes obsessed with Spector.
“I can think of a TV producer I work with who wrote to me specifically about the emotional truth she found in the character of Katie.”
The Fall returns to BBC2 later this month