Jamie Dornan has spoken about his role as a serial killer in The Fall, saying "you can’t fail to be left slightly scarred by inhabiting someone like that."
In the BBC2 drama, Dornan, 32, plays the serial killer Paul Spector, who murders a series of young, professional women in Belfast with sexual motivation. Gillian Anderson plays Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson who is transferred from London to investigate the murders.
The chilling sexual motivations Spector uses to terrify and kill his victims, before returning to his wife and family as if nothing had happened, caused widespread discussion of the frequent depiction of violence against women in TV dramas.
Dornan said, "he had such distaste for everything. You do carry some of that anger and that hatred in you a little bit, especially towards the end of a few months playing him."
Speaking at the launch of the second series of The Fall this week, Dornan said that playing such a character is scarring because "I do carry elements of him with me in a worrying way. I find him relatable … I have a deep understanding of him and why he is why he is."
Dornan also spoke about how the role has "totally transformed" his career - most notably he has landed the role of Christian Grey in the film adaptation of bestselling novel Fifty Shades of Grey.
In a week where Emma Watson has spoken about the need for men to participate in feminism to truly achieve gender equality, he also said that "I have feminist values. I am well aware what my character is doing is wrong."
The show's writer Allan Cubitt defended the show's depiction of violence against women, saying "anything that sets out to explore a complex and difficult subject like that always runs the risk of being held up as being an example of it, rather than a critique of it. Obviously if you think The Fall is misogynistic then I would have failed completely, abjectly."
The trailer for the second series of The Fall shows Stella Gibson and Paul Spector - who (spoiler alert!) did not meet in the first series - coming closer to a confrontation, although it is not clear whether Gibson's investigations have brought her to track Spector down, or whether he is seeking her out as his next victim.
A shot from the trailer for series 2 of The Fall
Anderson also spoke at the series launch about her respect for her character of DS Gibson: "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."
The new series of The Fall will begin on BBC2 this autumn. Watch the trailer below.