The Fall and Dr. O’Donnell

The Fall

Say what you want about Series 3 of The Fall, and many have, mostly by expressing disappointment, but I don’t care, because I love the character Dr. O’Donnell played by Richard Coyle.  I can watch the three episodes of Series 3, Silence and Suffering, The Hell Within Him and Their Solitary Way that have him in it over and over, specifically his scenes.  Reviewers have whined about how long the medical scene goes on in Silence and Suffering, but it is immensely enjoyable because of Dr. O’Donnell.  He is extremely competent, confident, mentoring, and reassuring.  What else can you ask for from a trauma doctor?

The first television show that I watched with Richard Coyle in it was the mini-series, Wives and Daughters.  Coyle played Dr. Coxe, an aspiring young doctor of the early Victorian era who first covets the young Molly and then later her stepsister Cynthia.  Dr. Coxe was a bit of a comedy figure in the form of a fickle lovesick puppy who obviously tests Dr. Gibson.  When Dr. Gibson discovers Dr. Coxe’s desires, he sends him packing.

The next program I saw Richard Coyle in is the delightfully intriguing Othello (2001).  Coyle plays Michael Cass.  In addition, Richard Coyle is the main character in Going Postal, a quirky short mini-series that I expected to have more of an online following than it seems to.  I wish the 2007 series Whistle Blowers would come on Netflix, because Coyle was a regular in that.


Sometimes I mix up the actor Joe Armstrong from Happy Valley with Richard Coyle, not sure why.

Anyway, I appreciate how the character Dr. O’Donnell is aware of PTSD and how he has learned that some researchers believe that if a person does not sleep immediately after a trauma, their likelihood of suffering more is lessened.  Therefore, after superintendent Stella Gibson is patched up from her attack by Paul Spector, Dr. O’ Donnell encourages her to stay awake by asking her a set of questions.

  1. Do you like flowers?
  2. Can you play any musical instruments?
  3. Have you ever been happy, if so, when?
  4. Have you any real friends?
  5. You ever wished anyone dead?
  6. Are you a good swimmer?
  7. Are men or women the stronger, do you think?
  8. What is your favorite season?

Many of my answers are similar to Stella’s.  However, if I were asked number 7, I would have had him clarify if he meant emotionally or physically.  I guess it is understood beforehand for most people.

My answers would be:

1. Of course, I like flowers.  Love them!  Tulips are beautiful. So are roses, irises, and violets.

2.  I can’t play a musical instrument, but I have a keyboard that I practice on sometimes and one day will pay for piano lessons.

3. I have been happy before in my life, a few times.  To say exactly when I would have to divide my happiness into lengths and categories .  I was happy at the birth of both of my daughters, and enjoyed the first year afterwards.  I was very happy the summer of 1992.  I’ve had times of happiness, mostly when there was peace and harmony instead of war and strife.

4. I do have a few real friends.  When the circle becomes too large, the realness feels less real though.  I’ve had a few real friends who died.  Three to be exact.

5. I have wished someone dead before.

6. I’m an all right swimmer.  In the summer of 1992, late at night, I swam in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Charleston. The water was warm and I went out further than I had before in my life. It was glorious.

7. I think women are more courageous than men are. If boys and men get over the fear of being laughed at, they could discover so much within themselves.

8. How can anyone pick a favorite season?  All four are wonderful.  What makes each season great, is that each distinguishes itself from the other three, and allows itself to change into the next season while happily returning the following year.  Each are representations of true equality.

If you haven’t watched The Fall yet, and you have Netflix, what is wrong with you?


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