Luther — So Now What?


Like so many other fans of this outstanding and disturbing drama, I was eagerly looking forward to Series 5 which was shown on four consecutive nights from New Year’s Day.

It is always a trepidation anticipating a new storyline that has gone on past a couple of series. Will it still be fresh? Will it retain its magic? So often a drama disappoints in subsequent series. They become dull and lose focus and should have been put to bed well before another series is even considered.

One of the reasons Luther continues to work well is down to the series not extending itself to too many episodes. Only series one contained six episodes. Series 4 was only two episodes. The rest are just four. I believe this helps to concentrate on only one or two plots whilst keeping the ongoing narrative of the character of Luther fresh.

I believe this recent series of Luther didn’t disappoint and still had the nation gripped to their seats. Who wants to ever get on a bus on their own again? Sure, there were a few plot holes and a lot less focus on the investigation into the gruesome murders by a deadly faceless killer. Instead, it preferred to concentrate more on the subplot of two of the best-written TV crime characters in modern times.

Fans were already eagerly awaiting what chaos the mercurial Luther would find himself in this time, but we were even more excited about the reappearance of Alice Morgan so brilliantly played by Ruth Wilson. It was reported in episode 4 that Alice had been killed in Antwerp. However hardened fans like myself never bought that and to our delight and predication, Alice returned with such a vengeance in this series that even Hannibal Lector would have had difficulty in surpassing.

We can forgive plot holes in a drama if the characters are strong and we can take such an interest in them and their development. Although the relationship between Luther and Alice is implausible, the chemistry between them is so dynamic. We buy it and we love it. We have also taken to the other great characters such as the late Ripley, DSU Schenk and of course Benny of whom we were all aghast to witness his demise when he bravely put himself on the line to save others.

We love Idris Elba and we love Luther because he stands for us and on the side of justice and righteousness. We like it that he is fallible like us and he only gets in such a mess because he wants to help the people that really need it. We accept the unconventional methods he adopts to catch criminals because underneath we know he is a good man. We want the guilty to be captured and punished and not escape behind all the red tape and bureaucracy that goes on in this world. As if Luther was miming the lyrics to the great Nina Simone soundtrack “please don’t let me be misunderstood”.

Yet in total contrast it is Alice, so badly missed in series 4, that has contributed so much in sustaining this gripping drama. It is a paradox that in loving all the characteristics of Luther we love Alice just as much. We know it is just a drama but, like our affection for Hannibal Lector, we adore her. What makes us love this character so much? Does it display our dark side? The side that admires her total clarity in what she wants and has no qualms in doing what she needs to do. Despite Alice being the ultimate psychopath perhaps we like her because she admires Luther and his morals? She is infatuated with him. We love her because she has rescued him and pulled him from the abyss time after time.

So, is this the end for Luther? I assume most fans hope not.

I read that writer Neil Cross always pens the script as it will be the last ever series but then he misses the character. If this was the last episode, then I guess it was a fitting end. Did Alice go too far in killing the innocent DS Halliday and meet her just end? We have always accepted her actions because she is helping Luther, but the brutal slaying of the detective did come as a shock. I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised as, after all, being psychotic and hurting because she had been lied to by the only person she could ever trust this led her to the only fatal conclusion . On witnessing her slaying of Halliday my wife shouted out loud “Oh Alice!” as if she was simply chastising her like a naughty child!

One of the last scenes was Luther failing to hold on to Alice as she drops to the floor presumably dead. This scene takes us back full circle to the inaugural episode when we first meet DCI Luther when he as he fails, intentionally or not, to hold on to murderer and kidnapper Henry Madsen. We all know what eventually happened to him!

There is still talk of a film which is very exciting but there is a dilemma. Is Alice actually dead? Intentional or not, I believe the character has now become an integral part of Luther’s storyline and the thought of a whole film without her is unbearable.

I guess the question we need to ask Idris and Neil Cross on the destiny of Luther is…. “so now what?”

Lover of music, sport, animals, humour, movies and decency. A Level in Film Studies.