Stella Gibson

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Stella Gibson
The Fall character
Stella Gibson.jpg
Gillian Anderson as DSU Stella Gibson
First appearance"Dark Descent"
Last appearance"Their Solitary Way"
Created byAllan Cubitt
Portrayed byGillian Anderson
TitleDetective Superintendent
OccupationMetropolitan Police Service

Detective Superintendent (DSU)[1][2] Stella Gibson is the main character in the British (BBC Two)-Irish (RTÉ One) crime drama television series The Fall, which is filmed and set in Northern Ireland. She is portrayed by Gillian Anderson.[3][4]

Character overview[edit]

Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson is an English Metropolitan Police officer assigned to the Police Service of Northern Ireland on a 28-day review in the city of Belfast who later accepts a semi-permanent secondment to supervise Operation Musicman. Gibson is a senior investigating officer tasked with the reviewing of investigations, an incredibly capable officer, and is extremely comfortable with her own sexuality.[5]

With her investigation stalled, Gibson is forced to get results under the threat of a new 28-day review into Operation Musicman. As Stella's personal past comes back to haunt her, her professional present becomes further entangled in it.


Creator-writer Allan Cubitt was inspired by guitar manufacturing companies when naming many of his characters. Both Stella and Gibson are brands of guitar. Cubitt explained: "I gave Stella Gibson a double guitar name as she's my central character. As a writer sometimes it's incredibly important that you write about things that interest you and you just know when names are right. I love music and I love guitars and have been playing them for years. In fact, my first ever guitar was a Gibson."[6]


Cubitt started writing the script in 2010 with Anderson in mind, stating: "I always thought that Gillian would be the best person to play the part. I'd written three episodes of Season 1, and we approached Gillian and talked it through. And I was in the incredibly gratifying position of her saying that she was interested in doing it. It's not very often that you get your first choice of actor, so that sets the project off in a really good way."[7][8] Cubitt added: "There's such an intelligence going on in Gillian's acting, I think, your eye is drawn to her. Gibson has that quality because Gillian's playing her, but I always wanted Stella to have that sort of star quality, that kind of charisma that makes people want to do their best work for her, which, I think again, is just an aspect of her as a leader. She inspires in people the desire to please her in some kind of way."[9]

On Gibson's femininity and appearance, Anderson explained: "It almost felt like it was in the script, somehow between the lines... She isn't interested in dressing like a man; she's not using her clothes to get anything from anybody else – it's not a device. She's dressing for herself. She has good taste – you can just tell. I don't know how, it's hard to say – but you can tell from the page somehow how she takes care of herself. But it's for herself and for herself alone."[10]

On the inscrutable quality that her character possesses, Anderson said: "She doesn't reveal much about herself, so the little bits she does feel quite large."[10]


Amy Sullivan called The Fall "The Most Feminist Show on Television", writing: "Refreshingly, none of the tropes we've been trained to expect in a story about a powerful woman play out. Nobody resents Gibson's appearance on the scene or questions her authority. Her gender is a non-issue; subordinates hop to when she enters a room and they follow her commands without question. Gibson doesn't try to submerge her femininity and stomp around barking out orders. In Anderson's restrained yet compelling performance, Gibson is cool, calm, and always chic, with the most fabulous coat in detectivedom."[11]

Gibson was ranked on Yahoo! list of "Greatest TV Characters Since Tony Soprano". Ken Tucker wrote: "Steely and precise, priding herself on being in control, Detective Inspector [sic] Gibson is a brilliant investigator, logical yet willing to go with hunches as they occur to her. Like some of her male colleagues, she's also made a few errors in judgment when it comes to interoffice involvements — one-night stands and trickier relationships as well. Dogged and obsessive, Gibson is as hard-boiled as any of her male counterparts in leading an investigation."[12]


  1. ^ Detective Superintendent (DSU)
  2. ^ DSU Detective Superintendent
  3. ^ "DSI Stella Gibson". BBC. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  4. ^ Anderson, Gillian (13 August 2015). "'The Fall': Gillian Anderson Profiles Her Character Stella Gibson". Yahoo!. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  5. ^ Stanley, Tim (19 December 2014). "The Fall: feminist, anti-men and sadly accurate". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  6. ^ Fullerton, Huw (20 November 2014). "Why are all The Fall's characters named after guitars?". Radio Times. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  7. ^ Radish, Christina (30 January 2015). "Series Creator Allan Cubitt Talks THE FALL, Writing for Gillian Anderson, and More". Collider. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  8. ^ Saner, Emine (9 June 2013). "Gillian Anderson: The Fall girl who never bowed to Hollywood demands". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  9. ^ Bierly, Mindi (18 February 2015). "'The Fall' Postmortem: Creator Allan Cubitt's Deep Dive Into Season 2". Yahoo!. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  10. ^ a b Dougary, Ginny (13 November 2014). "Does The Fall glamorise violence? Gillian Anderson and writer Allan Cubitt defend their thriller". Radio Times. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  11. ^ Sullivan, Amy (23 January 2015). "The Fall: The Most Feminist Show on Television". The Atlantic. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  12. ^ "The 99 Greatest TV Characters Since Tony Soprano: #39-30". Yahoo!. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2016.

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