The character of Paul Spector in The Fall was based on real serial killers

The series was highly influenced by true events

The Fall has recently been added to Netflix, which has had us all binge watching the 2013 crime drama. The series is about a Belfast serial killer, Paul Spector, and the London Met inspector, Stella Gibson, who is drafted in to hunt him down. The twisted and dark series has a lot of us thinking the same thing: Is The Fall at all based on true events?

You can’t help but question if there has been any stories that mirror that of Paul Spector, and you could only dream that there is a real life inspector who is just like Stella Gibson. So how real is The Fall and is any of it based on true events? Here are all the answers.

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The story of The Fall isn’t based on true events, but Paul Spector is based on the crimes of real life serial killers

Whilst the story of The Fall is not an exact dramatisation of any real events, and both Paul Spector and Stella Gibson are made up characters, the writer of the series did take inspiration from real life. The show was written by Prime Suspect TV writer Allan Cubitt, who is said to have based Spector on a number of real killers.

Spector is seen to have a fascination with well educated, brunette women, and would break into their houses and steal personal items like underwear before returning to kill them. He would strangle the women, before positioning the body. Spector would bind his victims and took photographs to keep in a book at home.

The first killer Spector is based on is American serial killer Dennis Rader. Radar was known as BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill). He killed 10 people over the course of 20 years. He also strangled his victims and took photos of their posed bodies. Dennis Rader is now serving 10 consecutive life sentences at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas.

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This isn’t the only killer Paul Spector’s character is based on. Allan Cubitt has also spoken about the character being influenced by Ed Kemper – who murdered his grandparents, his mother, one of his mother’s friends and six female hitchhikers between 1964 and 1973. Most of his victims were college students.

Allan Cubitt told The Sunday Times in 2013: “I liked the idea that both were living in medium-sized towns – about half a million – where you might have thought it would be easier to catch a serial murderer.” Ed Kemper, who became known as the Co-Ed Killer, is also serving multiple life sentences.

A final inspiration for the story of Paul Spector was British born Russell Williams, who immigrated to Canada as a child and became a citizen there. He was a respected, former air force colonel but was later convicted of murder and sex offences. He had previously broken into a neighbour’s house and taken photos of himself posed in female underwear. He then went on to commit 82 similar burglaries – where he would break in, pose underwear on beds, take photos and he stole around 1,400 pieces of clothing, most of it underwear and lingerie.

This escalated to murder, and Russell Williams was found guilty for two, first-degree murders of women. As well as his crimes being similar to Spector’s, his background was too. Both Spector and Williams had “normal” and respected jobs, no previous convictions and led pretty quiet lives alongside their crimes.

Seasons one to three of The Fall are available on Netflix UK now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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