On SAGE Insight: The Fall and Television Noir

From Television and New Media

This article analyzes the Belfast-set BBC series The Fall (2013–) as an illustrative example of television noir. It aims to use noir scholarship to investigate The Fall’s complex gender politics and genre position, and, more significantly, to use The Fall to illuminate the complex ways in which noir currently operates across AngloAmerican television and culture. As a theoretical category, television noir can function to map the shift in the way crime television texts are shot, told, marketed, and received. It can also be used as a critical resource in questioning the gendered ways in which violence is narrativized and mythologized.

Abstract

This article analyzes the Belfast-set BBC series The Fall (2013–) as an illustrative example of television noir. It aims to use noir scholarship to investigate The Fall’s complex gender politics and genre position, and, more significantly, to use The Fall to illuminate the complex ways in which noir currently operates across Anglo-American television and culture. The Fall is self-conscious, if not self-reflexive, in its mobilization of noir to aspire to the cinematic. This article argues that the series, and others like it, use noir as a legitimation strategy, often to excuse prurient stories of sexualized violence. The act of labeling something noir, particularly a visual fiction, is a way of insisting on its status as art. I conclude that the system of noir (and its associations with art and authenticity) is unable to contain the excesses of the serial killer mythology and Gothic inflection of its postfeminist investigator.

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Article details
Lindsay Steenberg
The Fall and Television Noir
Television & New Media
DOI: 10.1177/1527476416664185

 

     
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