List of Luther episodes

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Luther is a British psychological crime drama television series that premiered on BBC One in the UK on 4 May 2010. The series centres on DCI John Luther (played by Idris Elba), a highly talented detective working in London to solve a series of high-profile murders. Co-stars include Ruth Wilson as Alice Morgan, Warren Brown as DS Justin Ripley, Steven Mackintosh as DCI Ian Reed, and Saskia Reeves as Det Supt Rose Teller. As the series progresses Nikki Amuka-Bird joins as the recently promoted DCI Erin Gray, and Dermot Crowley is promoted to a starring role as Det Supt Martin Schenk, and Michael Smiley continues portraying Benny Silver. Patrick Malahide appears as George Cornelius in the fourth and fifth series.

As of 4 January 2019, 20 episodes of Luther have aired, concluding the fifth series.

Series overview[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally airedAvg. UK viewers
(millions)
First airedLast aired
164 May 2010 (2010-05-04)8 June 2010 (2010-06-08)4.83
2414 June 2011 (2011-06-14)5 July 2011 (2011-07-05)6.43
342 July 2013 (2013-07-02)23 July 2013 (2013-07-23)5.98
4215 December 2015 (2015-12-15)22 December 2015 (2015-12-22)7.92
541 January 2019 (2019-01-01)4 January 2019 (2019-01-04)9.45

Episodes[edit]

Series 1 (2010)[edit]

The first series tells a single crime story each episode for the first four episodes, and then ends with a two-part story, with other narrative elements developing across the series.

No.
overall
EpisodeDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [1]
1Episode 1Brian KirkNeil Cross4 May 2010 (2010-05-04)6.35
DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) returns to active duty several months after suffering a nervous breakdown related to the capture of a serial kidnapper/murderer named Henry Madsen (Anton Saunders), whom he had allowed to fall from a great height and is now in a coma. On his first day back, Luther solves a double homicide by unravelling the bizarre behaviour of the murdered couple's daughter, Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson). Despite pursuing her relentlessly, he is unable to prove her guilt. Luther also pursues his estranged wife Zoe (Indira Varma), whom he still loves, and ends up in a violent altercation with her new boyfriend, Mark (Paul McGann).
2Episode 2Brian KirkNeil Cross11 May 2010 (2010-05-11)5.80
A sniper begins targeting police officers all over London, and Luther must track him down. The sniper, traumatised by his experiences in war, is being driven to his brutal crimes by his father, who – despite being in prison – has complete control over his son's actions. Luther stages a television interview, insulting the sniper and drawing him out at great personal risk. Meanwhile, Alice continues to stalk Luther, becoming increasingly obsessive and threatening.
3Episode 3Sam MillerNeil Cross18 May 2010 (2010-05-18)4.56
Luther pursues a serial killer (Paul Rhys) and occult writer named Lucien Burgess, who kidnaps mothers every decade and drains them of their blood. Things become complicated when Burgess accuses Luther of having attacked him, making it difficult for Luther to continue the case through legal means. Luther continues to communicate with Alice, and forms an unusual friendship with her; she proceeds to hire a group of girls to beat up Mark in an attempt to emasculate him and drive Zoe back to Luther. Meanwhile, Henry Madsen awakens from his coma; though he is not yet able to testify, when he does so he will be able to destroy Luther's career.
4Episode 4Sam MillerNeil Cross25 May 2010 (2010-05-25)4.57
A serial killer continues targeting women who are alone at night. He takes a piece of jewellery from each of them, and gives one of their lockets to his unknowing wife, as a birthday gift. He escalates rapidly, and Luther's team is forced to enlist the help of the killer's wife, in order to track him down. He is successfully taken alive, but his wife assaults him in a fit of rage, striking him with a hammer in the back of the head. In an attempt to win Luther's friendship, Alice impersonates a doctor and lights a fire in the hospital, taking advantage of the distraction to fatally smother Henry Madsen.
5Episode 5Stefan SchwartzNeil Cross1 June 2010 (2010-06-01)3.61
An art dealer's wife is taken hostage, and the kidnappers demand a set of valuable diamonds in exchange for her life. The husband goes to the police for help, because his wife has swallowed the diamonds, and he fears that if this is revealed, the kidnappers will kill her to get them. Events spin rapidly out of control when it is revealed that Luther's colleague DCI Ian Reed (Steven Mackintosh) had knowledge of the robbery and allowed it to go ahead in exchange for a portion of the profits. Reed kills his criminal contact to cover his trail and then the kidnapper himself. He flees, finally killing Zoe in an attempt to draw Luther out, and frames Luther for the crime.
6Episode 6Stefan SchwartzNeil Cross8 June 2010 (2010-06-08)4.11
Luther, framed for Zoe's murder, chooses to run from the police until he can prove his innocence. His boss, Det Supt Rose Teller (Saskia Reeves), has strong regrets for having taken Luther back from suspension, despite having received advice not to. Luther is almost shot by a Special Branch sniper at a meeting with Ian Reed. Teller believes in Reed, but her colleague, Det Supt Martin Schenk, initially does not. However, thanks to Schenk's interview with Mark, he soon realises that Reed may be the culprit rather than Luther. Luther plots to take revenge on Reed with the assistance of Alice and Mark. Luther disagrees with the means by which Alice and Mark vote to handle Reed.

Series 2 (2011)[edit]

The second series consists of two two-part stories.

No.
overall
EpisodeDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [1]
7Episode 1Sam MillerNeil Cross14 June 2011 (2011-06-14)6.48
Luther, still plagued by Zoe's death, faces a serial killer wearing a Punch mask who wishes to emulate London Folklore figure Spring-heeled Jack, and Luther tries to rescue Jenny Jones, the daughter of an old acquaintance, from the dangerous world of drugs, pornography, and prostitution.
8Episode 2Sam MillerNeil Cross21 June 2011 (2011-06-21)6.11
Luther must rescue Ripley before Cameron sets out his final murdering scheme: kidnapping, gassing, and disposing of the bodies of schoolchildren. Meanwhile, Jenny's ruthless and vengeful boss is demanding compensation for Luther's having stolen her "property".
9Episode 3Sam MillerNeil Cross28 June 2011 (2011-06-28)6.36
What appears to be a deranged killer soon begins killing at random, but there is a larger twist than Luther thinks. Meanwhile, Jenny's tormentor Toby demands that Luther help him gain information about a rival's operation; when Luther can't deliver on time, Toby threatens Jenny's life. Detective Gray discovers Luther is hiding something and asks Ripley to help her.
10Episode 4Sam MillerNeil Cross5 July 2011 (2011-07-05)6.77
The random killings are being carried out by twins, one of whom Luther has arrested, but the other is still on the loose. It is up to Luther to capture or kill the twin who is at-large. Meanwhile, Luther must try to keep Jenny's ex-boss from discovering Toby's death and his own colleagues from discovering his activities.

Series 3 (2013)[edit]

Series 3 follows the structure of series 2, consisting of two two-part stories.

No.
overall
EpisodeDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [1]
11Episode 1Sam MillerNeil Cross2 July 2013 (2013-07-02)6.43
Luther hunts for a killer who lurks in his victims' houses before killing them and then steals their shoes. The killer is escalating, so Luther must try to find him before he strikes again. Meanwhile, Luther is distracted by an ongoing case concerning the murder of a cyber troll, but there are people watching Luther who have darker intents.
12Episode 2Sam MillerNeil Cross9 July 2013 (2013-07-09)5.95
As the killer strikes again, the team works hard to try and track him down, which hunt leads them to a top criminal now residing in a retirement home. The team must stop the killer before he attacks a group of young female nurses having a night in. Luther and Ripley also hunt for the murderer of the cyber troll, but their sympathies threaten to cloud their professional judgement. Meanwhile, Luther realizes that a case is being built against him, by one of his very own, but Ripley might also be willing to help bring Luther down.
13Episode 3Farren BlackburnNeil Cross16 July 2013 (2013-07-16)5.57
Luther is assigned to hunt a vigilante killer, Tom Marwood, who murders those he deems to have lost their right to life. The case probes the interests of the media, and soon the team has a political and criminal nightmare on their hands. When Marwood kidnaps Dennis Cochrane, a convicted paedophile, with an intent to have the public vote to have him lynched, driving up his public support, the team puts themselves in danger to try and stop him from killing again. However, Ripley and the vigilante come face-to-face, and only one of them will survive the encounter.
14Episode 4Farren BlackburnNeil Cross23 July 2013 (2013-07-23)5.96
After the murder of DS Ripley, everyone is hunting for Marwood, but the vigilante has now become a serial killer who will gun down anyone who gets in his way, including Luther's loved ones. However, in a cruel twist of fate Luther himself becomes a suspect, and suddenly his old friend Alice Morgan is back to help him clear his name. The case against Luther comes to a climax; is this really the end for the detective?

Series 4 (2015)[edit]

Series 4 consists of one two-part story.

No.
overall
EpisodeDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [1]
15Episode 1Sam MillerNeil Cross15 December 2015 (2015-12-15)8.19
On a leave of absence from the police force, Luther is lying low in a rundown cottage on the English coast, but a visit from his old colleagues at the Met brings a shocking piece of news that draws him back to London in search of the truth. Meanwhile, a gruesome serial killer has struck the city. With a trail of clues leading from one crime scene to the next, Schenk and his team must work out the twisted logic that connects each victim but this murdering mastermind is more than a match for the police, outsmarting them at every step. It's not long before Luther is back in the Bullpen, determined to steal a march on the killer before it’s too late.
16Episode 2Sam MillerNeil Cross22 December 2015 (2015-12-22)7.64
On the trail of a cannibalistic killer suffering from Cotard syndrome, Luther is dogged at every step by ghosts from his past. Isolated and on edge, it takes every fibre of his being to keep it together. Could a cold case help to unlock a mystery that's tormenting him? Meanwhile, the serial killer is still on the loose. Benny's hacking skills have revealed a list of hundreds of potential victims but, with a rapidly escalating number of crime scenes, Luther must use all his ingenuity to work out where the murderer is headed next. Discovering it's all part of a macabre end game, Luther is forced to put himself and his new colleague Emma into the heart of danger to try to stop the killing.

Series 5 (2019)[edit]

Series 5 consists of a single, serialised narrative over four episodes.

No.
overall
EpisodeDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [2]
17Episode 1Jamie PayneNeil Cross1 January 2019 (2019-01-01)10.36
When a series of seemingly indiscriminate killings become ever more audacious, Luther and new recruit DS Catherine Halliday are confounded by a tangle of leads and misdirection that appears designed to protect an untouchable corruption. To make matters more complex, the son of Luther's old adversary George Cornelius has gone missing and he believes the detective has something to do with it.
18Episode 2Jamie PayneNeil Cross2 January 2019 (2019-01-02)9.39
As various friends and foes descend on Luther's home, he's forced to hide a newly returned Alice. Her apparent resurrection and return to London sees her seeking revenge on Cornelius, but her personal mission soon plunges Luther's whole world into danger. What's more, Halliday is increasingly sure that the suicide of their apparent serial killer is not all it seems.
19Episode 3Jamie PayneNeil Cross3 January 2019 (2019-01-03)9.18
As Luther works to rescue Benny from Cornelius' clutches, Alice adds fuel to the fire by striking back. With nowhere left to turn, Luther is forced to seek help from an old friend, but he's soon forced to abandon them when Halliday makes a startling realisation about the killer that's been stalking the capital.
20Episode 4Jamie PayneNeil Cross4 January 2019 (2019-01-04)8.87
Luther's left reeling by tragic events, but must race to save the others from a killer determined to complete his macabre masterpiece. Can the troubled DCI come to terms with the problems that threaten his career, life and those around him?

Special[edit]

No.TitleWritten byOriginal air date
"Meet the Luthers"Neil Cross18 March 2016 (2016-03-18)
A "Sports Relief" spoof that supposedly takes a look at DCI John Luther's life outside of the force.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "BARB". BARB. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Four-screen dashboard". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board.