The BBC’s Gillian Anderson drama The Fall will return for a third series, finally revealing the fate of the serial killer played by Jamie Dornan.
The second series of the BBC2 thriller, one of the channel’s most popular dramas of last year, ended like the first, on a cliffhanger, with Dornan’s Paul Spector lying shot in the arms of detective Stella Gibson (Anderson).
Both stars will return for a new five-part run of the Belfast-based drama which the BBC, announcing its recommission on Tuesday, said would bring the story to a close. It is likely to air next year.
Writer and director Allan Cubitt said: “The cliffhanger ending of season two was conceived in the hope of further exploring the characters and the themes that are at the heart of The Fall.”
Dornan was a relative unknown when the first series aired in 2013, after which he said he felt “scarred” by inhabiting the mind of a serial killer.
But the former Calvin Klein underwear model has since been catapulted to global stardom playing Christian Grey in the film version of Fifty Shades of Grey.
More than 3 million viewers watched the second series of The Fall, with 3.6 million people tuning in to the feature-length finale last December.
The award-winning drama has also been controversial for its depiction of violence against women. Cubitt has rejected the charge, describing it as a “dissection of a certain kind of male view, an exploration of misogyny”.
BBC director general Tony Hall also defended the series, describing it as “remarkable, critically very well received. I couldn’t stop watching it”.
The BBC said the new series would see the relationship between Spector and Gibson “intensify … and the story of the investigation into the murders become more complex and intricate”.
The BBC’s controller of drama commissioning, Ben Stephenson, said: “The story is far from over. Allan has known the end game from the beginning – the cat and mouse game between Gillian and Jamie has one last act to play out. Who will win?”
Anderson, who is also one of its producers, said at the programme launch last year that she was keen to bring the character back for a third time.
“Who she is and everything she stands for and how she operates – I find that very compelling and I don’t feel like I have really seen that before,” said Anderson.
“She makes it very clear how she feels about violence against women, how these women are represented and how they are perceived. She is a supporter of women and women being treated respectfully and she doesn’t mince words. It’s in her bones. I like that about her.”
Commissioned by BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw and Stephenson, The Fall is made by Fables in association with Artists Studio, part of the Endemol Shine group.
Shillinglaw said she wanted “programme makers to come to BBC2 to do their most distinctive and signature work”.
Gub Neal, producer at Artists Studio, added: “It’s thrilling to be continuing the story between Stella Gibson and Paul Spector. A third season gives Allan Cubitt and Artists Studio a chance to pursue the investigation in a way that few crime dramas ever do and complete a cycle of events which will have held audiences for over three years.”