The final episode of the first series of Luther picks up from the events of last week, which saw our troubled detective end up being framed for the murder of his estranged wife.
After hearing her being shot by bad lieutenant Ian Reed, Luther rushes to her house, pausing only to make a phone call to his superior along the way, telling her that Zoe has been hurt and she needs to send medical help.
The situation doesn’t look good for Luther. DCI Reed has long since scarpered, and Luther is now in the house with Zoe’s blood on his hands, his fingerprints all over the weapon that killed her. So, doing as any sensible person would in this situation, he goes on the run, swearing revenge against the bent copper who did this.
With no other place to turn, he decides to enlist the help of Alice Morgan, the psychotic killer whom he befriended way back in the first episode. I say befriended in the very loosest possible sense. After telling her his predicament, she agrees to help him clear his name.
The diamonds from the previous episode, which are now in the hands of DCI Reed, are the only proof there is that Luther is innocent. In order to clear his name, he needs to steal them back before they ‘go missing’ again. To do this, he enlists the help of his now deceased wife’s partner, who after a little convincing, helps Luther by gaining access to DCI Reeds locker, and the said diamonds in question.
The only police officer who still believes Luther is innocent is DS Justin Ripley, who keeps the lines of communication open with our man on the run in a series of secret phone conversations. Not only does he tell Luther inside information such as the discovery of a gun with his fingerprints all over it, but he also saves his life when police marksmen try to gun him down after he meets in public with DCI Reed.
As the episode draws to a close with the shooting of DCI Reed by Alice Morgan, you are left in suspense as to what follows. Series two must be commissioned now, surely? If it doesn’t, then I guess we’ll never know what becomes of Luther, which is a shame, as I was just starting to like him again.
Let’s get one thing straight: the last episode is a return to form for Luther. It’s a gripping episode from start to finish. After such a promising beginning to the series, Luther seems to have lost its way somewhat, thanks to its unimaginative villains and unbelievably over-the-top plots. However, episode six is both well-written and acted, and makes for compulsive viewing.
In retrospect, the first series of Luther has been a wobbling affair at best. On the plus side, the acting has been great, especially Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson, even though the script has hampered them at times and been the cause of some unexpected comedy moments.
Luther’s cor blimey cockney superior, Rose Teller (played by Saskia Reeves) has had some cracking lines throughout the series, with her strike-a-light-guv East End accent amusing and annoying viewers in equal measure. This episode brings us probably the best line of all: “Gord knows they didn’t warn me – he’s nitro glycerine and I didn’t listen because I was hell bent on making it work!” Yes, that is exactly what she says, word for word. What a script!
The boring ‘killers of the week’ really did the previous episodes no favours at all, and you can’t help but feel that, if they had been more inventive, the series would have been a much bigger hit. As it was, only the character of Alice was given much of a personality, and whilst her scenes made for essential viewing, the rest of the cast seemed to just plod along with not much to contribute to the proceedings.
As has been mentioned time and again, this was an extremely clichéd series, with Luther being the main culprit of this. How many times will he lose his temper and trash his office in a fit of rage? Once you’ve seen one temper tantrum, you’ve seen them all. I seriously hope they dock his wages to pay for all the damage he does each time he loses his rag.
With the cliffhanger ending of this episode, you can only hope that a second series is commissioned. Luther has all the makings of a decent cop drama, all they need to do is tweak the script writing (in particular, the dialogue) and be more original in terms of characters it presents to the audience.
I think everyone has accepted that it is never going to be very high in the realism stakes, but as long as the stupidity and OTT plotlines are kept to a minimum, then series two could be very interesting indeed.
Read our review of episode 5 here.