Luther (TV series)

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Genre Psychological crime drama
Created by Neil Cross
Written by Neil Cross
Starring Idris Elba
Ruth Wilson
Dermot Crowley
Michael Smiley
Warren Brown
Steven Mackintosh
Indira Varma
Saskia Reeves
Paul McGann
Nikki Amuka-Bird
Aimee-Ffion Edwards
David O'Hara
Sienna Guillory
Opening theme "Paradise Circus" by Massive Attack
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 14 (list of episodes)
Producer(s) Katie Swinden
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 (2010-05-04) – present
External links
Idris Elba stars as the show's lead character, Detective Chief Inspector John Luther

Luther is a British crime drama series[1] starring Idris Elba as the titular character, DCI John Luther. Written by Neil Cross, the first series, comprising six one-hour long episodes, premiered on 4 May 2010 and concluded on 8 June 2010. A second series of four one-hour long episodes was commissioned; it aired on BBC One throughout June and July 2011. Following the success of the first two series, a third series was commissioned in 2012;[2] comprising four one-hour long episodes; it aired weekly from 2 July to 23 July 2013.

Elba has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for each consecutive season; he won at the 69th Golden Globe Awards.[3] The series has also received eight Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

In November 2014, it was reported that Luther will return for another series with Elba reprising his role as the protagonist.[4][5]


John Luther is a Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) working for the Serious Crime Unit in series one, and the new Serious and Serial Crime Unit in series two and three.[6] 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. Due to lack of evidence he can use in court, he is unable to arrest Alice Morgan, the murderer in the first episode, and for the rest of the first series she becomes his confidante and gives him insights into the motivations of other criminals.

Cast and characters[edit]

Actor Character Series
1 2 3 4
Idris Elba DCI John Luther Main
Ruth Wilson Alice Morgan Main
Steven Mackintosh DCI Ian Reed Main
Indira Varma Zoe Luther Main
Paul McGann Mark North Main
Saskia Reeves DSU Rose Teller Main
Warren Brown DS Justin Ripley Main
Dermot Crowley DCI/DSU Martin Schenk Main
Michael Smiley Benny 'Deadhead' Silver Recurring
Nikki Amuka-Bird DS/DCI Erin Gray Main
Aimee-Ffion Edwards Jenny Jones Main
Kierston Wareing Caroline Jones Main
Pam Ferris Baba Main
David Dawson Toby Kent Main
Alan Williams Frank Hodge Recurring
Sienna Guillory Mary Day Main
David O'Hara DSU George Stark Main
Rose Leslie DS Emma Lane Main
Laura Haddock Megan Cantor Main
Darren Boyd DCI Theo Bloom Main
John Heffernan Steven Rose Main
Patrick Malahide George Cornelius Main


Series Episodes Originally aired
Series premiere Series finale
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



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.[7]


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 series creator Neil Cross wrote all six of the episodes. Leila Kirkpatrick was the line producer for the entire series and Katie Swinden was the producer for a number of episodes. Tim Fleming provided series cinematography for two episodes. Katie Weiland and Victoria Boydell were involved in the series' film editing, with Weiland editing two episodes. Andy Morgan was responsible for the entire series' casting, Paul Cross provided production design and Adam A. Makin was behind the series' art direction.[citation needed]


The series is filmed in various locations around Central and East London including the Barbican Estate, Elephant and Castle, Cranbrook Estate (Bethnal Green) and the Docklands.

Series 1 (2010)[edit]

The first series of Luther aired in Summer 2010 and received positive reviews from critics, getting an average of 5.9 million viewers per episode.

Series 2 (2011)[edit]

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,[8] it was shown as four one-hour episodes. The first episode was shown on BBC One on 14 June 2011.[9]

Series 3 (2013)[edit]

In August 2011, the BBC One controller announced that a third series had been commissioned.[10][11]

Filming of the four-episode series started in November 2012.[12][13] Sienna Guillory was cast as Luther's new love interest. Further guest stars include Lucian Msamati and Ned Dennehy.[14] The third series began airing on 2 July 2013[15] and concluded on 23 July.[16]

Series 4 (2015)[edit]

On 19 November 2014, it was announced that a two episode special will be aired on the BBC in autumn 2015.[17] Filming began in March 2015[18] and ended April 2015.[19] BBC Home Entertainment later confirmed that the Region 1 version of the Series 4 DVD would be released on 15 December 2015, meaning it is likely that the series will air on television before then.[20] On 24 October 2015, BBC One confirmed via their Facebook page that series 4 of Luther would air in December 2015 on BBC One.[21]

A three-hour special event will air on BBC America on 17 December 2015.[22]


In 2011, Idris Elba expressed his enthusiasm for making a film adaptation of the series, 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."[23] 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.[24] In May 2012, Elba stated in an interview that the third series would serve as the lead-in for the planned film.[25]

Neil Cross previously had confirmed there would not be a fourth series but did not rule out the possibility of a feature film.[26] 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."[27]

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 seasons 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."[28]

American version[edit]

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 Tranterand Julie Gartner on board as executive producers. The project hails from 20th Century Fox TV, studio-based Chernin Entertainment, and BBC Worldwide Prods.[29]

On 9 March 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the network had delayed the series, after looking at Marlon Wayans for the role, would resume when the pilot season was over, and would find an actor for Luther.[30]

Critical reception[edit]

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."[31] It holds a Metacritic score of 82 out of 100, based on 11 collected reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[32] However, The Guardian‍ '​s Stuart Heritage was initially critical of the show,[33] 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.[34]

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 season, and Idris Elba's outstanding performance makes this a police procedural of uncommon weight and heft."[35] It holds a Metacritic score of 78 out of 100, based on 9 collected reviews, indicating "Generally favorable reviews."[36] Variety and The Hollywood Reporter admiringly highlighted the darker tone, Elba's performance, and the production.[37] 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.[38]

Series three was again met with positive reviews and holds an 84% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 19 reviews.[39] It holds a Metacritic score of 76 out of 100, based on 19 collected reviews, indicating "Generally favorable reviews."[40]

International broadcast[edit]

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.[41] It was also broadcast in Germany (Series 1: September/October 2011; Series 2: March 2012) where it was dubbed and cut, in France on Canal+ and in Poland on Ale Kino+ channel. 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.[42][43]

The first series was broadcast in Turkey starting January 2012.[44] It was also broadcast as part of a marathon on 14 July 2012 on the BET network in the US and officially began airing on its sister channel Centric on 16 July 2012.[citation needed]

Re-runs of the series were broadcast in Poland on terrestrial channel Stopklatka TV.[citation needed]

The South Korean cable channel Channel N also aired the series.[citation needed]

In Denmark, "Luther" has been aired during 2013 at DR's channel DR2.

The Finnish YLE TV2 also aired it in its entirety during 2013.[citation needed] In January 2014, all three series were broadcast by the Dutch network KRO.[citation needed]

The first two dubbed series were broadcast on STV1 channel in Slovakia (September - October 2013).[citation needed]

The first series of the show premiered in Greece on OTE Cinema 1 HD on 11 March 2014.[45]

Home media[edit]

The series is available on Netflix in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA.

In China, the first season is available on popular VOD streaming service PPTV.[citation needed]


Paul Englishby composed Luther's soundtrack for all three series. He also incorporates 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.[46] The opening theme song is an edited version of "Paradise Circus" (2011) by Massive Attack and Burial.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2010 Crime Thriller Awards Best Supporting Actress Saskia Reeves Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Idris Elba Nominated
Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Ruth Wilson Nominated
2011 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Idris Elba Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Idris Elba Won
Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Luther Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Idris Elba Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Idris Elba Nominated
2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries Idris Elba Nominated
Best Movie/Miniseries Luther Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Idris Elba Won
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Idris Elba Nominated
Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Luther Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special Sam Miller Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Idris Elba Nominated
Outstanding Miniseries or Movie Luther Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special Neil Cross Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Idris Elba Nominated
Best Miniseries or Television Film Luther Nominated
2013 Crime Thriller Awards Best Leading Actor Idris Elba Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Warren Brown Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Ruth Wilson Nominated
Best TV Drama Luther Nominated
2014 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Movie/Miniseries Luther Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries Warren Brown Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Idris Elba Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Idris Elba Won
Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Luther Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Idris Elba Nominated
Outstanding Miniseries Luther Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special Neil Cross Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Programmes: Luther". BBC. 
  2. ^ "Sienna Guillory joins Idris Elba in the third series of Luther". Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Saad, Nardine (16 January 2012). "Golden Globes: Idris Elba wins for actor in a TV miniseries". Los Angeles Times. Showtracker (blog). Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Luther making his return to BBC One". Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Team TVLine (2014-11-19). "'BBC America Slates Luther Season 4". Retrieved 2014-11-19. 
  6. ^ "DCI John Luther". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Cross, Neil (30 April 2010). "Introducing Luther – with love to Detective Columbo". BBC. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "Sherlock and Luther recommissioned for BBC One". BBC. 28 August 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "Luther, Series 2, Episode 1". Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "BBC One orders 3rd season of Idris Elbas Luther". IndieWire. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "BBC1 Boss unvieil comedy/Drama Plans". 27 August 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  12. ^ BBC One - Luther
  13. ^ "LUTHER". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  14. ^ Luther Series 3 | Neil Cross
  15. ^ "Luther, Series 3, Episode 1". BBC. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Brown, Brigid (11 June 2013). "Trailer for Third Installment of ‘Luther’". BBC America. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Idris Elba Begins Filming BBC America's Two-Part 'Luther' Special
  19. ^ BBC announce end of filming
  20. ^ Lambert, David (25 September 2015). "Luther - 'Season 4' Date and Cost Confirmed; Front Cover Art Provided!". Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  21. ^ "Luther will be on BBC One in December". BBC One. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Ask Idris: Part 5 of 5 - Luther - Series 2". BBC One]. June 3, 2011. 
  24. ^ "'Luther' Creator Says Season 3 Will Be The Last Before Big Screen Leap + If Luther Was Written As A Black Man". March 22, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Season 3 Of 'Luther' Will Intro His Moriarty, As Luther Reaches Retirement; But Don't Expect Until 2013; Also Less Alice". May 22, 2012. 
  26. ^ Westbrook, Caroline (24 August 2013). "Luther creator Neil Cross rules out fourth series of BBC One show". Metro (DMG Media). Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  27. ^ "'Luther' Spin-Off Starring Ruth Wilson As Alice Morgan In The Works". The Huffington Post. September 9, 2012. 
  28. ^ "I am Idris Elba, AMA!". Reddit. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  29. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "‘Luther’ Gets Fox Series Adaptation With Neil Cross Writing & Idris Elba Producing". Deadline. Retrieved 2014-11-18. 
  30. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (9 March 2015). "Fox Delays 'Luther' Remake". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  31. ^ "Luther: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  32. ^ "Luther - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  33. ^ Heritage, Stuart (10 May 2010). "How long should you stick with a disappointing TV show?". Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  34. ^ Heritage, Stuart (2 June 2010). "Have you been watching ... Luther?". Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  35. ^ "Luther: Season 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  36. ^ "Luther - Season 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  37. ^ Timberg, Scott (15 October 2011). "Luther – TV Review". Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  38. ^ Gorman, Bill (14 October 2011). "'Doctor Who,' 'Top Gear,' & 'Luther' Lead BBC America To Best Ratings Quarter Ever". Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  39. ^ "Luther: Season 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  40. ^ "Luther - Season 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  41. ^ "ABC Television – Luther". ABC. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  42. ^ "WATCH: ‘Luther’ Season Three Trailer". Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  43. ^ Hale, Mike (2 September 2013). "Still Lonely, Troubled and Singularly Heroic". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  44. ^ "Luther". Digiturk. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  45. ^
  46. ^ Amazon webpage

External links[edit]