thu 25/07/2024

Luther, Series 4, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

Luther, Series 4, BBC One

Luther, Series 4, BBC One

A two-part series ain't big enough for Idris Elba's maverick detective

Idris Elba as DCI John Luther: right, you're all nicked

Some things never change. Once more, we join DCI John Luther – though only for a two-part special – as he glues himself to the trail of a serial killer. And once again Luther is played by Idris Elba, a man who can freeze time or make villains throw down their weapons merely by gazing into the camera with an expression of quizzical world-weariness.

This time, writer Neil Cross opened by taking us to a clifftop near Beachy Head, where Luther gazed moodily out across the English Channel, evidently in the grip of an existential crisis, perhaps a hangover from the death of DS Ripley in series three. Mind you, he's almost always in the grip of an existential crisis. This time his musings were interrupted by a visit from DCI Bloom (Darren Boyd) and DS Lane (Rose Leslie) – both pictured below – who traipsed down to Luther's cliff-edge retirement cottage to bring him some bad news. It seemed that Alice Morgan, the perennial sparring partner with whom Luther is terminally fixated, had drowned following a road accident in Antwerp. 

Luther has always made a big point of its grotesque and fetishistic killers

If you believe that you probably believe they don't fix the voting on Strictly, and Luther was having none of it (despite supposedly conclusive dental and fingerprint evidence). Happily for the viewer, all this had the effect of goading him back into detective action as he took typically unorthodox steps to find out what had happened to Alice.

Back in his familiar East London stomping grounds, he was soon pushing his way into sleazy clubs and running down an "old-school geezer from Islington" called George Cornelius (a nice little turn from Patrick "Chisholm" Malahide). Then, following an explosive event in the life and career of DCI Bloom, Luther was back in full coppering mode as he seized control of the investigation into a cannibalistic serial killer, who maintains a laboratory of vivisectionist horror near Smithfield meat market.

Luther has always made a big point of its grotesque and fetishistic killers, and this one, Steven Rose (John Heffernan), is really quite nasty. His victims were found nailed to desks or lying in blood-drenched pieces sprinkled around the room (apart from the bits the killer had eaten), and Rose had used his job as a software engineer for "Geek Patrol" to install fiendish spyware in the computers of his victims. 

Still, appalling as this guy is, one suspects that the real story is going to end up somewhere else entirely. Who was the mystery woman dragged into a lift? Who is the other mystery woman with a message from Alice? Why were Luther and Alice planning to flee to Brazil? And who decided they could cram all this into two parts?

Appalling as this killer is, one suspects that the real story is going to end up somewhere else entirely


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article


So far we've got another cop show where a dead partner reaches from beyond the grave - the third this year, a collection of clichéd serial-killer antics (or should that read antiques), and a bunch of writers who have been watching far too many other detective series. Luther has totally lost it's identity in this process, this reeks of AHS: Hotel (via Se7en of course), desperately wanting to reflect the grey, grim realities of the vital Spiral and much of the far superior Nordic productions. Luther is no more than a dead corpse still thinking it has breath. And Alba's interpretation is now so ego-ridden it is pure comedy. Basically it's just naff now.

So disappointing . I watched it because Idris Elba is - well - just stunning. BUT THIS WAS CR&P!

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters