I had heard very mixed things about this show – both that it is excellent and that it is terrible – from both critics and regular people. I had always hoped to watch the original version first, but found it was much easier to get hold of the American version, and so I have watched the first season. I have given up on the show due to some SPOILERS!!! I will complain about below.
The show is absolutely a mixed bag:
- On the one hand, the acting is superb, absolutely superb. And the chemistry between both the detectives and the parents of the dead girl is a wonder to behold – I am really impressed by these things. The parents in particular are, mostly, just awesome. There are some extraordinarily powerful moments between these two actors – some of the best in recent TV history, I would say. And the detectives do a great job of the cliche “two partners who don’t get along and are forced to work together” trope that has been absolutely done to death by American movies. And these two relationships off-set each other and allow you some balance in what is an otherwise pretty bleak show.
- And there are a few really brilliant directorial moments, like when Richmond takes the shot for $5 million and we cut to commercial. That’s just fantastic stuff. And they do it a few times.
And there are the obvious problems:
- There are way, way, way too many red herrings. I get it – they are trying to have this unfold at the speed of a regular police investigation, going after the strongest leads and eliminating suspects and so on. But there are a number of problems: First it’s the kids, then no, they raped someone else. Then it’s the teacher, then no, he kidnapped someone else. See a pattern here? I’m not sure any real murder investigation uncovers so many different people up to other criminal behaviour. But far worse for the show, in real life I think those kids get arrested or even worse. Honestly, in reality most people are convicted (or charged at the very least) on far less evidence. Witness Serial.
- But the other problem with these red herrings is that it makes the cops look incompetent. For example, they check Rosie’s bank account 10 days into the investigation? Even though they find the shoes right off the bat? Seriously. I mean, The Fall has its share of moments like that, but at least it’s not throwing us “Who really is the killer?” nonsense every other episode.
- The relationship with Linden’s on-again off-again fiance – which is also on-again off-again in the plot – feels completely unnecessary. Her entire family life feels like padding. It’s as if this show was taking a 6 episode show and stretching it into 13 episodes. Nearly an entire episode is devoted to looking for her kid. Seriously? (Shockingly, the original show’s first season is 20 episodes long, so I have no idea whether something got lost in translation or the original show is full of this filler too.)
- And then there’s the kicker, the moment when the show loses all credibility: After assembling an air-tight case against the real killer, we are told, in the final moments of the season finale, that he did not do it. And we are told this, I assume, solely to prolong the narrative into a new season. I actually said “Fuck you” out loud to my TV when this happened. Several times. Seriously, fuck that shit. Talk about bullshit. Whatever Holder was getting paid for – that’s too much. That’s two characters you build one credible persona for and then reverse it when it’s convenient (the other being Richmond, obviously). That’s just not fair. I am supposed to trust you, Omnipotent Narrator, unless you make it clear from the beginning that I cannot trust you. And you did not.
So this is dirty pool. Fuck that. I will not be watching any more unless someone really, really presses the case.