Luther Series 4 began with DCI John Luther still in a dark place after losing his partner, DS Justin Ripley (Warren Brown), which led me to hope that Series 3 would be followed by a movie going back in time, rather like a prequel. However, this sB018G7NUUUeries is a two-parter over two weeks which still makes up the same running time as a movie, give or take, and Idris Elba, as the maverick cop always on the edge, never gives it less than 110% in this role.
After the events of the last series, his character is now taking a leave of absence and living along the white cliffs of Dover, but thankfully this escape from reality is not another Quantum Of Solace, since Luther never rests for long. After some grim news in an early visit from fellow cops DCI Theo Bloom (Darren Boyd) and DS Emma Jones (Rose Leslie – Downton Abbey, Game Of Thrones), there was more grimness (if that’s a word) to come with murders taking place and various body parts going missing, making it sound like the assailant had been watching too much of The Bridge Season 3 and the BBC’s own Messiah.
Thankfully, with just two episodes on show, once the serial killer aspect had been established, it cracked on with the grisly story at a good pace.
With no Alice onscreen (well, Ruth Wilson is busy with The Affair), questions had to be answered and the buck stopped with sneering baddie George Cornelius (Patrick Malahide), making for a cracking exchange between him and Elba when they first greeted each other:
- Luther: “It’s the police.”
Cornelius: “Which police?”
Luther: “THE police(!)”
Cornelius: “I don’t care if you’re fucking Sting! You lot do NOT come round here for any reason.”
There’s also another nice exchange early on when we first see our hero in his new surroundings, and echoing his state of mind:
- Theo: “Crikey. Pretty close to the edge.”
Luther: “Closer and closer every day. It’s why the place comes cheap.”
I think to have brought Alice back into the show in the flesh would’ve been a stretch, anyway. Luther would’ve been pleased to see her, but she was always a loose cannon anyway, and managed to get away with the death of DCI Ian Reed (Steven Mackintosh) in the first series, so she’s hardly a loss to the other cops.
Luther is as gloriously cinematic as ever. The character strides back into town like the anti-hero that the world cannot live without. He’ll park in the middle of the street – he just doesn’t care. When a man’s been to the brink, even putting a gun to his head can’t faze him. Yes, as a show, Luther is preposterous, but I love it. A new series, or even just a two-parter is like buying a new expensive gadget – a glorious adrenaline rush you thrive upon. It’s also a bit like The Last Boy Scout: The Series, at times.
And by the end, as a mysterious woman – who we’d glanced earlier – said she had a message for him from Alice Morgan, as soon as she said she had a message for him, you KNEW she was going to say it was from Alice, but even when there are predictable elements to Luther, it can be so batshit-mental that you don’t care… because that’s one of the reasons why you love it.
In addition, Warren Brown features in the cast list, but in what capacity?
Overall, Luther is top-notch entertainment as ever. Make sure you stay in for Part 2 when the story concludes. Yes, you can always watch it afterwards on iPlayer, but you don’t want to be hearing spoilers around the watercooler at work, so cancel all other plans!
Luther Series 4 concludes next Tuesday on BBC1 at 9pm, and it is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of its release on January 4th 2016. You can also pre-order the Series 1-4 Blu-ray and Series 1-4 DVD.
If you missed it, you can watch the episode on BBC iPlayer, up until January 14th. Also, click on the packshot for the full-size image.
Episode 1 Score: 10/10
Director: Sam Miller
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Writer/Creator: Neil Cross
DCI John Luther: Idris Elba
DCI Theo Bloom: Darren Boyd
DS Emma Lane: Rose Leslie
DSU Martin Schenk: Dermot Crowley
Benny Silver: Michael Smiley
George Cornelius: Patrick Malahide
DS Justin Ripley: Warren Brown
Megan Cantor: Laura Haddock
Steven Rose: John Heffernan
Chloe Morley: Joanna Croll
Mel Cornelius: Simone James
Reni: Jason Julien-Connage
Errol Minty: Michael Obiora
Roberta Wise: Charlotte Pyke
Police Officer: Paul Blackwell
Drug Dealer: Clem So (uncredited)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.