Luther: Show 101

By Heather Hughes

Jun 14, 2011

SHOW: Luther

PREMIERES: Season 2 starts on Tuesday, June 14, at 9pm on BBC1

THE PREMISE: DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) isn’t a particularly popular man, but he really couldn’t care less. The London detective is too wrapped up in his own complicated concerns to notice anyone else’s contempt. That’s what happens when you’re framed for the brutal murder of your beloved ex-wife, you see. He’s cleared his name, thanks to his loyal sidekick DS Justin Ripley (Warren Brown) and obsessive murderess friend Alice (Ruth Wilson), but he’s still severely anguished. You’ll recognise his type: he’s one of those well-meaning, troubled cops who crosses the line for justice. It helps that he’s now got nothing left to live for.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: We’ve told you Idris Elba is in it, right? Luther is packed full of brilliant actors and while the storylines can seem occasionally over-the-top the characters are always compelling. You’ll be more enthralled by 5 minutes of Luther than you would a whole series of Law & Order: UK and the relationship between Luther and his fixated, villainous friend Alice is in a large part responsible for that. Their complex and eccentric double-act offers a more thought-provoking take on the “will they, won’t they” cliche. Oh, and there’s also LOTS of action.

WHY YOU MIGHT HATE IT: Luther is more emotionally taxing than most series in this genre, if you’re looking for an easy-going crime drama that’ll leave you feeling relaxed then this is not the show for you. While Luther shares some of the cliches of popular series like CSI and The Mentalist it is considerably darker. In fact, the start of this series has some particularly sinister scenes. While the dramatic nature of the show is often exciting it has been criticised for being excessive and ridiculous. But that's part of the reason fans love it.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: This is where the spoilers are found: if you haven’t seen season 1, and you don’t want to know what’s happened, don’t read on yet!

“What now?” Luther asked at the end of season one. He’d just witnessed his murderous friend Alice shoot the killer of his ex-wife Zoe. Before that he’d been on the run from the police--his colleagues--who had ordered marksman to shoot him during a rendezvous with partner DS Ripley. Thankfully, he’d managed to convince Ripley of his innocence just in time. Another (more unlikely) ally he’d also earnt the trust of was Mark, Zoe’s boyfriend, who he hated before her death.

When you meet Luther at the start of this season he’ll be happily (or as happy as Luther can be) back at work with DS Ripley at his side. They’ve got themselves jobs in a new unit, alongside some new team members, where they’re tasked with investigating serious and serial crimes--including a masked man who goes around killing people and then ringing their relatives. Alice and Mark are still in the series and their relationships with Luther have changed slightly given the conclusion of season one. To find exactly to what extent you’ll have to watch and see. The new series is split into two, two-part episodes that will air weekly from Tuesday, June 14. While we’re told there will be a single arc running over the two parts the separate two parts will explore different, sinister cases.

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  • catwoman77 Nov 29, 2011

    Didn't like Season 2 as much as Season 1. Alice didn't figure as prominently. The best thing about the series is the interaction between Luther and Alice. Season 2 was still compelling, but relied too much on horrific serial killers.

  • kokobombon Sep 15, 2011

    Are they on hiatus? could it be that season 4 was only 4 episodes?!

  • catwoman77 Nov 29, 2011

    Season 2 had four episodes. Another season has been commissioned, according to Wikipedia.

  • tjaman Jun 12, 2011

    "Luther" is one of the most significant crime serials I've witnessed. In terms of emotional impact it's right up there with "Jekyll." In fact, end of the show, you'll feel like someone /has/ thrown a lion from a zoo. It's pretty well awesome and I love Indira Varma's Zoe. Absolutely love her all the way through.

  • patlitchfield Jun 12, 2011

    Looking forward to the Luther series, the last was was very good, different and worth viewing.

  • Chaos-Melly Jun 12, 2011

    Sounds good, hopefully this instalment will be as intriguing as the last!