Luther series 5 episode 1 review: fresh horror and old faces

Idris Elba as Luther is back and, we're promised, this time it's going to hurt. Spoilers ahead in our episode 1 review...

Idris Elba in Luther Series 5

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

This review contains spoilers.

A few minutes in to the opening episode of the fifth series of Luther and it’s clear our eponymous ‘hero’ is still living on the edge, albeit not quite as literally as he was last series. His home may have changed, now above a shop that either sells everything or nothing, but it still bears the trademark look, which can only be described as ‘bitterly disappointing Airbnb’.

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And John Luther continues to dance to the beat of his own Little Drummer Boy. He’s not a man who wears a seatbelt, is all I’m saying. And that’s one of the easier laws not to break.

After a quick chase of a token wrong’un through Season  2 of The Wire some containers, he hands him over to some infinitely more boring policemen, before being dragged into the back of a van by goons. Turns out they work for chirpy cockney George Cornelius, the man DCI Luther chained to a radiator when he thought he’d killed Alice, his nemesis-girlfriend. (We’ve all got one.)

In all seriousness, it’s nice to see Patrick Malahide back, Luther tends to burn through ancillary characters like Trump through exclamation marks, so it’s good to see a familiar face. What ever happened to Jenny, I wonder? I liked her. And while we’re on the subject, no word of what happened to Rose Leslie’s Emma, who killed a man with a unlicensed gun at the end of the last series. Or Pound Shop Alice, Megan Cantor, who…

No time for that, Luther’s back at home for a nice up of tea with his one-time-nemesis-now-boss Schenk, who bears news of another replacement partner. Might as well pick out your funeral hat now, right? Catherine Halliday (played by future National Treasure Wunmi Mosaku) is a fast-tracker, which means, according to the boys, she’ll be in charge in about 10 minutes. The audacity of it, getting promoted because you actually turn up for work rather than disappearing for large stretches of the day to get your hand nailed to a table by Pam Ferris. The police ain’t what they used to be.

But wait up, there’s a body in a play park, time for some actual work. Of course, you, the viewer, knows something John Luther doesn’t, and that’s that the victim’s been killed by some guy who probably has a dress made from pubic hair and lives in a house full of dolls that look like his mum. What you don’t know, is that I wanted John Luther to go down the slide towards the body more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life.

So what else is new? Not much. Luther continues to go heavy on the creeps – that crawl down the bus floor was all sorts of horrific. It’s also big on the Lewton Buses, so much so that one was a literal bus. It loves a slow pan and none was ever quite so slow as John Luther stood at the window as it was slowly revealed that the killer had off-ed one of the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow. And it r-e-a-l-l-y loves some artful staring, with top marks to Hermione Norris for that face-off with a clock.

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Oh yes, Hermione Norris is here too, displaying cheekbones so magnificent that if she fell face first into a cheesecake it’d merely save you the effort of slicing it.

Here, she’s a psychiatrist throwing her patient to the dogs so she can continue to live with what appears to be her batshit husband in her Grand Designs graveyard chic house. Catherine’s on to her, though, because she’s smart. And because she actually does some work. Unlike Luther, who along with Benny (who it’s nice to see out and about), finds himself in the Industrial Zone with a few minutes to find and key and get the crystal/stop Errol’s head from exploding.

Still, when that’s over, there will be time for work, surely? Oh hang on, scrub that, HERE’S ALICE. Until tomorrow.

Luther series 5 continues tomorrow night at 9pm on BBC One.