Women will love this, since it’s only a handful of minutes before Idris Elba is taking his shirt off in the bathroom.
But about the plot, he’s the DCI who, despite having bosses to answer to, much prefers to go his own way, carrying out investigations without their knowledge, and even roping in colleagues to help. In reality, this could all lead to them losing their jobs and their pensions, and said colleagues would, therefore, tell Luther where to go rather than carry out his bidding.
There’s a weird bad guy killing people while he has LED lights inside his hoodie; Men are having their faces carved up, losing their eyes and tongue, while another has more nails hammered into him than Pinhead, the Lead Cenobite from Hellraiser. And that comes before we learn what’s being stored in Christian Grey’s torture chamber…
Elsewhere, George Cornelius (Patrick Malahide) returns from the last series (well, it was a two-parter), and his son, Alistair, has been kidnapped, so he forcefully wants to cajole Luther into helping him with his enquiries, it being so forceful that it requires our maverick cop to exclaim, “Leave me alone any tell the Spice Girls to back off as well(!)”
Of course, when it comes to Patrick Malahide, it doesn’t matter whether he’s a baddie in this, or a good guy (well, as much as the police are) in Minder, he’s still sneering like a lunatic, and it’s for that that we love him 😀
This time round, there’s a new Detective Sarge in the office in the form of Catherine Halliday (Wunmi Mosaku), and Luther’s completely non-plussed with her, although that’s always how he looks. Elsewhere, I like Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowley), but he always looks confused, as if he’s entered a room and can’t remember why.
And then there’s Alice… yes, Alice. She’s like the Hannibal Lecter in this; still hanging about even though the police could quite easily get along without her. Ruth Wilson was not listed in the opening credits, before this series even started, I was left wondering when she will, predictably, show up, not least because we saw her in the endless promotion for this series, such as when Mr Elba and Ms Wilson were interviewed on BBC Breakfast.
So there’s some gory stuff, and some really weird stuff, and I’ll certainly check out the remaining three episodes, with the whole series all showing on consecutive nights this week, but part of this just wasn’t gelling for me and it’s difficult to put a finger on it. Maybe it’s because this is how Luther always is and it’s getting a bit tired?
Plus, the bus situation made no sense, since they have CCTV, or are we meant to assume that this one doesn’t? That’d be a stretch.
As I type, I haven’t yet seen any of the other episodes, so I will watch them as they are broadcast.
For completeness, the music over the closing credits, as the ‘Next time’ clips played, is Come Together by Spiritualized, a track from 2009, which you can hear below.
UPDATE: Episode 2: Again, Luther was made stupidly darker than it needed to be, and clearly graded to have that effect, so they could see what they were doing as they filmed it. It clearly wasn’t naturally so dark.
Also, why’s he still putting up with Alice’s crap? And how does Benny manage to do police business without his boss knowing? And despite it being a priority to keep an eye on Minty, all of a sudden… it’s not.
There’s not really an awful lot more I can add, partly to avoid spoilers, since it’s better just watching it and seeing how it plays out; and partly because the plot’s so twisty-turny – especially when you see things that aren’t quite reality, such as with the operation scene.
In the end, it’s interesting to watch, but does just feel like a series of set pieces rather than a coherent whole.
This time round, the end credits music was Boys and Girls by Alabama Shakes.
Episode 3 saw Carry On Luther continue unabated with more daftness as Catherine conned her way into the bad guy’s office to have a look around for evidence, while for the rest of it, it was watchable, but it has just turned into OTT nonsense. If this is the best they can manage after three years away… we don’t need another series, nor a spin-off movie.
It’s also getting what I call ‘Hollywood Stupid’ such as when…
The end credits music for this episode was Editors – In This Light And On The Evening.
Episode 4 just came across as a mess, albeit slightly entertaining, with Alice acting like Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. None of this makes any sense any more and it’s really time to can it now. It has jumped the shark and The Emperor’s New Clothes have finally been revealed.
And Luther’s famous grey trenchcoat will need a thorough dry cleaning….
The end credits music for this episode was Nina Simone’s version of Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood. Sadly, it was interrupted by one of the continuity gimps to waffle on about something of zero importance that was quickly muted as they killed the mood…
Also check out our review of Idris Elba‘s directorial debut, Yardie on Blu-ray.
You can watch each episode on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission.
Episode 1 Score: 6/10
Episode 2 Score: 6/10
Episode 3 Score: 6/10
Episode 4 Score: 4/10
Director: Jamie Payne
Producer: Derek Ritchie
Creator/Writer: Neil Cross
DCI John Luther: Idris Elba
DSU Martin Schenk: Dermot Crowley
DS Benny Silver: Michael Smiley
DS Catherine Halliday: Wunmi Mosaku
Alice: Ruth Wilson
Jeremy: Enzo Cilenti
Vivien Lake: Hermione Norris
George Cornelius: Patrick Malahide
William Lucas: Lewis Young
Daria Shubik: Sonita Henry
Lee Peck: Luke Westlake
Ronald Massey: Lex Daniel
Errol Minty: Michael Obiora
Derek Hayes: Delroy Atkinson
Donnie McKinnie: Gary Hailes
Clare Evans: Katharine Orchard
James Hauser: Jami Reid-Quarrell
Celia Lavender: Roberta Taylor
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.