Luther episode 3 review

Luther goes into its darkest territory yet, as it picks through more cliches of the detective drama genre...


The third episode of Luther is probably the most disturbing yet, focusing on a satanic kidnapper who drains the blood of his victims. As ever, along with the main story, there is a background story that runs alongside to keep the interest going – this time involving Luther on the verge of getting suspended for his alleged connection in the assault of his wife’s new boyfriend.

As has been mentioned previously, Luther is a programme that is well versed in every detective cliché going, and it was inevitable that sooner or later an evil, deranged Satanist would rear his head. So lo and behold that is what we have here in the third episode.

The deranged Satanist in question is the devilish-sounding Lucient Burgess, who having studied the work of Aleister Crowley, kidnapped a woman ten years ago and drained her body of blood. However, he was never successfully caught for the crime, as he was beaten up by an undercover policeman before any firm evidence could be found, and from there became something of a minor celebrity when the tabloids got hold of his story. An autobiography was published and worldwide fame followed…

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This new-found fame supposedly made it hard for the police to find any evidence on him, and so he was allowed to walk free, whilst the body of the kidnap victim was found a few days later, completely drained of blood in a ditch by the Thames. Now, ten years later, he is back, and out for more blood.

As the episode begins, we see him talk his way into a woman’s house, where after some bizarre facial licking, he proceeds to tie her up and stuff her into his car boot. He then scrawls all over the walls of her home in the previous victim’s blood, writing nonsense messages over and over again before leaving. As soon as the police arrive though, they immediately confirm that he is more than likely a Satanist. Luther, being the mastermind that he is, soon deducts that it is the work of Lucient Burgess, and sets to work to investigate his current whereabouts.

Life is never straightforward for Luther though, and he finds his investigation somewhat interrupted by accusations that he helped set up the assault of his wife’s new boyfriend, Mark. Whilst on his way home from work, Mark was jumped upon by a gang of hoodies – hired thugs in this case who were paid to carry out the attack by everyone’s favourite psychopathic bitch, Alice Morgan. It turns out in her own warped way Alice thought she was helping Luther by arranging for Mark to be harassed, but the plan backfires when he takes his grievance to the police.

A police complaints officer is assigned to Luther’s case, and thus begins an almost comical cat and mouse game where Luther tries to avoid the complaints officer – and being suspended – while solving the case in hand. Luckily for Luther, by the time the complaints officer does finally track him down, Mark withdraws his complaint, which in turn was inspired by a threat from Alice.

As you might have guessed, this is easily the darkest episode of the show so far, and I suppose it is morbidly fascinating in its portrayal of the victim, and the inhuman way the kidnapper treats his. Lucient is a cold and calculating character, who is seemingly untouchable and above the law. Having said that, he is a killer-by-numbers, and as the main focus for this episode he is quite boring.

Alice Morgan, on the other hand, is still as mesmerising as ever. Each and every one of the scenes with her in are TV gold.

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Judging by the preview for the next episode, it looks like a serial killer is on the loose, and I pray that he makes for a more rounded main villain than we have seen lately. First the dull ex-soldier that was the focus for episode two, and now the equally plain Satanist here. Surely Alice cannot be the only fascinating foe to feature in the series, can she?

Read our review of episode 2 here.

Luther airs on BBC 1 and BBC HD on Tuesdays at 9pm.