Luther (TV series)
|Genre||Psychological crime drama|
|Created by||Neil Cross|
|Written by||Neil Cross|
|Opening theme||"Paradise Circus" by Massive Attack|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||16 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||57 minutes|
|Production company(s)||BBC Drama Productions|
|Original network||BBC One, BBC HD|
|Picture format||High-definition television (1080i)|
|Original release||4 May 2010– present|
Luther is a British crime drama programme starring Idris Elba as the titular character, DCI John Luther. Written by Neil Cross, the first series, comprising six episodes, ran in May and June 2010. A second series of four episodes aired on BBC One in June and July 2011. A third series was commissioned in 2012, comprising four episodes aired in July 2013. A two-episode fourth series was broadcast in December 2015. A fifth series has been announced, with filming having started in early 2018.
Elba has received critical acclaim for the role of John Luther, and has been awarded a Critics’ Choice Television Award, Golden Globe Award, NAACP Image Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance. The series has also received eleven Primetime Emmy Award nominations in various categories, including four nominations of Elba for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast and characters
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Production
- 5 Critical reception
- 6 Broadcast
- 7 Home media
- 8 Soundtrack
- 9 Awards and nominations
- 10 Adaptations
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
John Luther is a Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) working for the Serious Crime Unit in series one, and the new "Serious and Serial" unit from series 2. A dedicated police officer, Luther is obsessive, possessed, and sometimes violent. However, Luther has paid a heavy price for his dedication; he has never been able to prevent himself from being consumed by the darkness of the crimes with which he deals.
For Luther, the job always comes first. His dedication is a curse and a blessing, both for him and those close to him. In the very first episode of the series he investigates brilliant psychopath and murderer Alice Morgan. Ultimately he is unable to arrest her due to lack of evidence, but as the programme progresses, she becomes both his nemesis and unlikely companion. As she pursues her infatuation with him, he gradually relents as he is able to glean insight from her about some of the cunning criminals he pursues. After Alice helps Luther avenge the death of his estranged wife Zoe, Luther aids her escape from a secure facility and she flees the country. In Alice's absence, Luther's life is dominated by his police work once again, culminating in the murder of his partner and protege Justin Ripley in the third series. Alice reappears following Ripley's death, and finally convinces Luther to leave London with her.
When the fourth series begins, Luther is living a reclusive life on the English coast. After learning of Alice's apparent death in mysterious circumstances, he is persuaded to return to London and resume his role as a DCI. While investigating a new case he attempts to uncover Alice's fate, unravelling two conspiracies and incurring the wrath of organised crime boss George Cornelius, but fails to find a definitive answer on what happened to Alice.
Cast and characters
- Idris Elba as DCI John Luther
- Ruth Wilson as Alice Morgan (series 1–3, 5)
- Steven Mackintosh as DCI Ian Reed (series 1)
- Indira Varma as Zoe Luther (series 1)
- Paul McGann as Mark North (series 1–2)
- Saskia Reeves as DSU Rose Teller (series 1)
- Warren Brown as DS Justin Ripley (series 1–4)
- Dermot Crowley as DCI/DSU Martin Schenk
- Nikki Amuka-Bird as DS/DCI Erin Gray (series 2–3)
- Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Jenny Jones (series 2)
- Kierston Wareing as Caroline Jones (series 2)
- Pam Ferris as Baba (series 2)
- David Dawson as Toby Kent (series 2)
- Sienna Guillory as Mary Day (series 3)
- David O'Hara as DSU George Stark (series 3)
- Michael Smiley as Benny 'Deadhead' Silver (series 4–5, recurring series 1–3)
- Darren Boyd as DCI Theo Bloom (series 4)
- Rose Leslie as DS Emma Lane (series 4)
- Laura Haddock as Megan Cantor (series 4)
- Patrick Malahide as George Cornelius (series 4–5)
- Wunmi Mosaku as DS Catherine Halliday (series 5)
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||6||4 May 2010||8 June 2010|
|2||4||14 June 2011||5 July 2011|
|3||4||2 July 2013||23 July 2013|
|4||2||15 December 2015||22 December 2015|
Series 1 (2010)
Series 2 (2011)
In August 2010, the BBC announced that it had commissioned a second series for 2011. Filming started in late September/early October 2010. Originally planned to be broadcast as two two-hour episodes, it was shown as four one-hour episodes. The first episode was shown on BBC One on 14 June 2011.
Series 3 (2013)
Filming of the four-episode series started in November 2012. Sienna Guillory was cast as Luther's new love interest. Other guest stars included Lucian Msamati and Ned Dennehy. The third series began airing on 2 July 2013 and concluded on 23 July.
Series 4 (2015)
On 19 November 2014, it was announced that a two-episode special would be aired on the BBC in 2015. Filming began in March 2015 and ended April 2015. BBC Home Entertainment later confirmed that the Region 1 version of the Series 4 DVD would be released on 15 December 2015, coinciding with the air date of the fourth series. On 24 October 2015, BBC One confirmed via their Facebook page that series 4 of Luther would air in December 2015 on BBC One.
In November 2015, it was announced that Luther was confirmed to air in the United States on BBC America for a three-hour one-night event on 17 December 2015.
The first episode of the fourth series aired on BBC One on 15 December 2015.
A fifth series comprising four episodes was announced on 12 June 2017. Filming having started in early 2018.
Creator Neil Cross has said that Luther is influenced by both Sherlock Holmes and Columbo; the nature of Luther's intellect and its application to solving crimes is comparable to Holmes', whereas the show's use of the inverted detective format was inspired by Columbo.
The first series was filmed in and around London, England, and produced by BBC Drama Productions. Brian Kirk, Sam Miller and Stefan Schwartz each directed two episodes and show creator Neil Cross wrote all six of the episodes. Leila Kirkpatrick was the line producer for the entire program and Katie Swinden was the producer for a number of episodes. Tim Fleming provided cinematography for two episodes. Katie Weiland and Victoria Boydell were involved in film editing, with Weiland editing two episodes. Andy Morgan was responsible for the all casting, Paul Cross provided production design and Adam A. Makin was behind the show's art direction.
The show is filmed in various locations around Central, North and East London including the Barbican Estate, Elephant and Castle, Cranbrook Estate (Bethnal Green), Waterloo station, Holloway, Shoreditch and the Docklands.
In 2011, Idris Elba expressed his enthusiasm for making a film adaptation of the show, saying, "That's where the ultimate Luther story will unfold, is in the big silver screen — London as a huge backdrop and a very menacing, horrible character to play against." During a BBC Radio 4 interview in March 2012, co-creator Neil Cross revealed that plans were being made for a Luther film that would begin production at the conclusion of the third series, the show's last. In May 2012, Elba stated in an interview that the third series would serve as the lead-in for the planned film.
Neil Cross previously had confirmed there would not be a fourth series but did not rule out the possibility of a feature film. In September 2012, Cross announced that he was in the process of creating a spin-off of Luther centred around the character Alice Morgan, starring Ruth Wilson. Cross stated, "The BBC is very interested in the project. The only real question would be how many and how often we would do it - whether it would be a one-off miniseries or a returning miniseries, a co-production or not."
In August 2014, in an interview with TVLine at the 2014 66th Primetime Emmy Awards and Zap2It while promoting his movie No Good Deed (2014), Idris Elba promised that "the series isn't over", which kept the possibility for future series or a feature film of Luther open. In a September 2014 Reddit AMA, Elba addressed the possibility of future plans for Luther and said there were "talks at the moment to figure out a way to bring more Luther back to the TV, but the focus is to try and make a film from it."
In an August 2016 Q&A session on his Twitter, Elba responded to a question about the show's future by stating that there was a "big chance" of a new fifth series of Luther. In June 2017, Elba announced that Luther would be returning for a fifth series. Filming started in early 2018.
Series one was met with positive reviews, according to aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, where it holds a 95% approval rating, based on 19 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Gritty and ambiguous, Luther is a captivating drama bolstered by a powerhouse performance from Idris Elba in the title role." It holds a Metacritic score of 82 out of 100, based on 11 collected reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". However, The Guardian's Stuart Heritage was initially critical of the show, and compared it to the American series FlashForward, in that both series arrived with a large amount of hype but delivered an anticlimactic end product. However, by the fifth episode, Heritage had changed his views and called it Idris Elba's best work since The Wire. The show's second series was met with equally positive reviews and holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 12 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Luther delves into darker territory in its second series, and Idris Elba's outstanding performance makes this a police procedural of uncommon weight and heft." It holds a Metacritic score of 78 out of 100, based on 9 collected reviews, indicating "Generally favorable reviews." Variety and The Hollywood Reporter admiringly highlighted the darker tone, Elba's performance, and the production. In the third quarter of 2011, the top-rated shows on BBC America were Doctor Who, Top Gear, and Luther, which together gained the network its highest quarterly ratings ever.
Series three was again met with positive reviews and holds an 84% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 19 reviews. It holds a Metacritic score of 76 out of 100, based on 19 collected reviews, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".
Series four received positive reviews, with a 79% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 14 reviews. It holds a Metacritic score of 68 out of 100, based on 11 reviews, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".
The first series of the show premiered in Australia on ABC1 on 15 October 2010 and in the United States on BBC America two days later. The second series debuted in the United States on BBC America on 29 September 2011 and Australia on ABC1 on 24 February 2012. The third series ran in the United States on BBC America on four consecutive nights beginning 3 September 2013.
The show is available on Netflix in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK, and the USA.
Paul Englishby composed Luther's soundtrack. He incorporated many pop and rock songs into the soundtrack, using these generally in the end credits. A CD titled Luther - Songs and Score From Series 1, 2 and 3 was released on 19 August 2013 and contains many of the themes and songs used in the television series. The opening theme song is a shorter version of Paradise Circus by Massive Attack from the album Heligoland (2010) and features the voice of Hope Sandoval.
Awards and nominations
In November 2014, Fox was developing an American TV series version of Luther, with Cross writing and executive producing the series, and Elba, Peter Chernin (of the Chernin company), Katherine Pope, and BBC Worldwide Prods' Jane Tranter and Julie Gartner on board as executive producers. The project hails from 20th Century Fox TV, studio-based Chernin Entertainment, and BBC Worldwide Prods.
On 9 March 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the network had delayed the series, as the busy pilot season had limited the number of available actors to play lead character John Luther. While Fox had at one point considered Marlon Wayans, they have since decided to search out another actor for the role.
On 5 February 2018, South Korean TV network Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) announced that it will broadcast a Korean version of Luther. The adaptation will be broadcast in 2018 and is produced by the MBC Drama Production Group.
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