‘Luther’ Series 3, Episode 1 Review

Don’t forget to check under your beds

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I rush home on Tuesday night only to miss the first 20 minutes of Luther on BBC1. Drats. So glad I’d pre-set my Sky box on ‘go fetch’. Then I remember there’s always BBC iPlayer. I can’t wait. I check out Twitter. Luther is the hottest trending topic. In the space of an hour there are nearly 2000 tweets, not one of which is about Protestant Reformation. Tweeters are spooked outta their minds less than half way through the first episode. By the time I settle in to watch Idris Elba (The Wire) as DCI John Luther, I am #terrified-in-anticipation.

From the blurb about the first episode I’m expecting Luther to have a chance encounter with a certain Mary Day (played by Sienna Gullory) which may lead to romance. I understand this won’t come easy. This is Luther after all. And something about a fetish killer on the loose who’s copycatting unsolved murders from the 80s. Our baddie is a typical loner with a Silence of the Lambs-like dedication to his craft.

What I wasn’t expecting was to start right in the middle of the action. It’s been 2 years since the Series 2 finale and Luther’s first scene in Series 3 is collaring criminals as they leave a burning building, in the rain. Idris Elba is cut and bruised and if it wasn’t for the immaculate tailoring of his suit and overcoat, it would be easy to think he’d had no peace in the 2 years. Nevertheless, let’s just say Idris Elba easily earns his cover on GQ Magazine.

Bogeyman under my bed, you say? The loft? I’m too much of a wuss to check. It’s a shame that the meant-to-scare-you-bits are preceded by the slightly amateurish sudden loud clash of discordant musical notes. Although I am having a massive heart attack even when the Massive Attack ‘Paradise Circus’ track ends. Not cool, BBC.

To complicate things, a spiteful online troll has been murdered and Luther is put on the case. His every move is being watched and this is in fact the heart of the plot which drives the episode. Very topical given recent headlines surrounding police corruption and internal audits. Anti-corruption DCI Erin Gray (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and her boss, DSU George Stark (David O’Hara) (whose raspy voice lends a certain quality) have come up with a scheme to ‘get’ Luther involving Luther’s colleague and best friend, DS Justin Ripley (Warren Brown). Ripley looks perpetually lost and confused throughout and Luther seems clueless as to the extent of the forces against him. This makes it all the more mesmerising to watch Luther skate close to the electric fences of their trap. They are virtually drooling while waiting for him to screw up.

Now it is widely believed to be true that ‘there’s no smoke without fire’. In this case, there was nowt but an illusion of smoke created by what appears to be impressionable minds. Ripley’s change of allegiance seems then to hang by a thread. Maybe DCI Erin Gray’s treacherous kiss was that persuasive. For Luther’s sake let’s hope the saying, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ holds more sway. Either that or we can all lower our guns and rock out like we just don’t care to Hanni El Khatib’s version of ‘I Got A Thing, You Got A Thing, Everybody’s Got a Thing’. Drama which keeps you guessing and ever so deliciously taut.