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Spector's secrets exposed

Paul Spector is identified as the killer in The Fall from the very start. A father, husband and respected professional, he presents an outward appearance of normality. Below the surface, he is a sadistic, sexually-motivated killer.

By creating a fantasy and putting it into action, Spector believes he creates his own highly controlled existential reality. In Spector's journals, The Fall's creator Allan Cubitt (along with art director Gillian Devenney) exposes his killer's motivations and methods.

Project X

Paul Spector's killings begin with a fantasy stage in which he conjures his own image of his victims, keeping a separate journal on each.

I don't hate women. I hate everyone and everything, including myself.
Spector explains himself to Gibson

These journals combine photographs and drawings of the victims alongside Spector's musings on their character, details of their movements and habits, and practical considerations that will impact the timing and location of his planned killings.

The journals offer a deeper insight into Spector's frame of mind and modus operandi.

They are chilling, fascinating and, to DSI Stella Gibson, crucial in her attempts to both understand and apprehend the killer.


While there are undoubtedly complex forces at work behind Spector's compulsion to kill, he often cites famed philosophers as his inspiration.

Spector's sketch of Dostoyevsky, one of his inspirations

While Spector likes to parade his intellectual qualities, it's debatable whether he fully understands the concepts he is playing with.

He uses – or rather misuses, misrepresents – Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky to explain away his appalling deeds.

Spector's way of dealing with the overwhelming feelings of rage and fear he experiences is the opposite of clever, an absurd way of trying to assuage the anger he feels, or satisfy his cravings or achieve a form of peace.


Spector quickly translates his fantasies into the real world, focussing on a specific victim and seeking to build up a picture of their lives.

If the woman he has singled out lives with her family, or a partner, or even owns a large dog, he would abandon the 'project', as it were less likely to succeed.

If the circumstances of her life look right to him, Spector progresses with his plans.

This involves building a picture of the victim from his own perspective, developing a constrained sort of obsession where he projects his own fantasies and prejudices onto their lives.

Researching routine

Spector's planning is meticulous. Each victim is closely observed, their habits and movements monitored to build up a full picture of their routine.

Spector's drawn map of a potential victim's home

This empowers Spector to draw his own conclusions about the victim's personality and morality, while also affording him the chance to plot the most opportune time to strike.

Crucially, this increases his chances of carrying out the murder in the precise manner he has intended while also avoiding detection.

Ideally, he will perform a 'fetish' burglary in which he steals an item of special meaning and leaves some kind of calling card – all part of his psychological game.

Devilish details

Nothing is left to chance by Spector when planning a murder. Every aspect of the anticipated location is committed to paper.

Routes through nearby streets to both arrive and escape are considered in great detail, incorporating variables such as the volume of traffic and presence of potential witnesses at different times of the day.

Open windows, creaking floorboards and security systems are all fastidiously documented to ensure that his plans are not ruined by anyone or anything.

Poetic pretensions

Sprinkled throughout Spector's journals are various pieces of poetry and prose inspired by his murderous plans and inner demons.

You're a slave to your desires. You have no control at all. You're weak. Impotent. You think you're some kind of artist. But you're not.
Gibson delivers her damning verdict to Spector

He views these journals, and indeed the murders in themselves, as outlets for his creativity. Even in the aftermath of his horrific crimes, he poses his victims' bodies as an aesthetic endeavour.

He believes this hidden aspect of his life to be an expression of the 'other' Spector, quite apart from the image of the professional family man he had been at pains to contrive before he embarked upon his series of killings.

Sense of self

Paul Spector places himself at the heart of the narrative in his journals, keenly aware he is the key player in this killing spree.

A bereavement counsellor by profession, Spector is compelled to analyse his own actions. He regularly depicts himself in his journals and offers appraisals of his character, mixing rampant egotism with self-loathing.

Spector's desire to carry out his own analysis of his motivations and actions is another facet of the power/control killer profile he falls into. He is not quite as keen to accept Gibson's opinion – that he is simply a slave to his desires and a man seeking to exert his sexual dominance.