The following is a guest post.
I was asked to watch series 3 of Luther and report back. My initial reaction is that it held my attention most of the time, but I can’t say I was bowled over by it.
To be fair 10:00 in the evening, Luther’s slot on the BBC America schedule, is not a great time for me to settle down and start trying to pay attention to anything. However, I tried my best to remain conscious and I’d say I saw at least 80% of the series. The rest of that time I was shamelessly drowsing.
I must disclose here that Idris Elba is not an actor I make a point of watching. First off, I can’t understand him without subtitles due his low voice register or the mumbling, probably a combination of both.
In addition, the first time I ever saw Idris in anything, it was the US version of The Office wherein his character, Charles Miner, was conspicuously immune to the good guy charms of my favorite character, Jim Halpert.
Grudge or no grudge, Mr. Elba is an actor, not a middle manager at a fictional paper supply company and I realize that.
So let’s get on with it and talk about Luther. As I think back on the past four nights, these are elements from the series that made the most impact on me.
*Some spoilers may be revealed below so please read at your own risk.
The level of tension was uncomfortable, in a mostly good way.
Particularly during the first case of the Shoreditch Creeper part deux, there was an almost enjoyable amount of jitteriness.
The foot fetish stalker with the Siouxsie and the Banshees style sensibility was properly disturbing. And while I appreciated that you never actually saw the killer attack any of the women, I certainly could have done without witnessing the second victim’s husband having his head physically rammed through the ceiling. For me this was the most shockingly violent act of the series.
There’s no disputing that Luther’s London is harsh. It has a post-apocalyptic vibe and the only people who seem to reside there are slimy lowlifes, crazed serial killers, a few necessary yet unsuspecting victims, and the world weary police officers who try to prevent the bad from coming into contact with the good.
The intensity of a crime drama like this is sometimes hard to take, especially when there’s very little levity to release the tension. I’ve read reviews that claim Luther (the show) doesn’t take itself seriously and that the titular character is truly over-the-top and is very well aware of his over-the-topness. Call me thick (and I’m sure some will) but the only knowing winks I ever detected were from Alice and that’s because she’s so much more clever than the rest of us.
Being close to Luther is a dangerous business.
As far as I can gather, bad luck follows DCI John Luther everywhere, or more to the point, it bounces off him and strikes the people he cares about most. This time Luther’s ill-fated chum is his partner, DS Justin Ripley, a good copper and loyal friend when Luther had few others on his side.
It’s apparently a requirement that if Luther publically declares his affection for you, you must go straight to the top of some vengeful killer’s hit list. In Ripley’s case, it’s vigilante Tom Marwood.
Luther’s name continues to be mud in police circles.
In an ongoing campaign by the London Metropolitan police service, suspicions continue about Luther’s alleged misconduct. He’s constantly under scrutiny from one police official or another. This series it’s DSU George Stark and DCI Erin Gray. They’re convinced Luther’s a loose cannon (which let’s be honest, he’s not much of a rule follower).
Stark is obviously driven by ambition, corruption and delusions.
What’s a maverick cop to do?
Alice and Mary – Night and Day
Mary Day and Alice Morgan, the pixie and the sociopathic genius; which should Luther choose? Each has their pros and cons.
Mary is pretty, sweet and I would assume, nurturing. She’s also sort of insipid and I doubt she’s tough enough to deal with the realities of John Luther’s life.
Alice, on the other hand, is a smart exciting challenge with surprises up her sleeve at every turn. Too bad she’s a murderess with no discernible remorse.
So what did you think of what was reportedly Luther’s last series? Were you satisfied with the outcome? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Carmen is an American wife and mother of two college students who live away from home. With her yellow lab Malcolm by her side, she watches and writes about British television for her own blog Everything I Know about the UK I Learned from the BBC. Read more of Carmen’s posts here.