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Luther (TV series)



Genre Psychological crime drama
Created by Neil Cross
Written by Neil Cross
Starring Idris Elba (series 1-2-3)
Ruth Wilson (series 1-3)
Dermot Crowley (series 1-2-3)
Michael Smiley (series 1-2-3)
Warren Brown (series 1-2-3)
Steven Mackintosh (series 1)
Indira Varma (series 1)
Saskia Reeves (series 1)
Paul McGann (series 1-2)
Nikki Amuka-Bird (series 2-3)
Aimee-Ffion Edwards (series 2)
David O'Hara (series 3)
Sienna Guillory (series 3)
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 channel BBC One, BBC HD
Picture format HDTV (1080i)
Original run 4 May 2010 (2010-05-04) – 23 July 2013
External links

LutherTitleScreen - Luther (TV series)
Idris Elba stars as the show's lead character, Detective Chief Inspector John Luther - Luther (TV series)
Idris Elba stars as the show's lead character, Detective Chief Inspector John Luther

Luther is a British psychological crime drama television series starring Idris Elba as the title character, Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. A first series of six episodes was broadcast on BBC One from 4 May to 8 June 2010. The second series of four episodes was shown on BBC One in summer 2011. The third series of four episodes ran from 2 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, winning at the 69th Golden Globe Awards.[1] The series has also received eight Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

It has been confirmed by creator Neil Cross that Luther will not return for a fourth television series, although a feature film is in production.[2]


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.[3] A dedicated police officer, Luther is obsessive, possessed, and sometimes dangerous in the violence of his fixations. 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. 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, giving him an insight into the motivations of other criminals.

Cast and characters

Name Portrayed by Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Ref(s)
John Luther Idris Elba DCI [3]
Alice Morgan Ruth Wilson [4]
Justin Ripley Warren Brown DS [5]
Martin Schenk Dermot Crowley DCI DSI [6]
Benny 'Deadhead' Silver Michael Smiley [7]
Erin Gray Nikki Amuka-Bird DS DCI [8]
Mary Day Sienna Guillory [9]
George Stark David O'Hara DSI [10]
Zoe Luther Indira Varma [11]
Ian Reed Steven Mackintosh DCI [12]
Rose Teller Saskia Reeves DSI [13]
Mark North Paul McGann [14]
Caroline Jones Kierston Wareing [15]
Jenny Jones Aimee-Ffion Edwards [16]
Baba Pam Ferris [17]
Frank Hodge Alan Williams [18]
Toby Kent David Dawson [19]


Series Episodes Originally aired DVD release date
Series premiere Series finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 6 4 May 2010 8 June 2010 23 November 2010 21 June 2010 2 December 2010
2 4 14 June 2011 5 July 2011 25 October 2011 11 July 2011 5 April 2012[20]
3 4 2 July 2013 23 July 2013 10 September 2013[21] 29 July 2013[22] TBA



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.[23]


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]

Series 1 (2010)

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)

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,[24] it was shown as four one-hour episodes. The first episode was shown on BBC One on 14 June 2011.[25]

Series 3 (2013)

In August 2011, the BBC One controller announced that a third series had been commissioned.[26][27]

Filming of the four-episode series started in November 2012.[28][29] Sienna Guillory was cast as Luther's new love interest. Further guest stars include Lucian Msamati and Ned Dennehy.[30] The third series began airing on 2 July 2013[31] and concluded on 23 July.[32]


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."[33] 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.[34] In May 2012, Elba stated in an interview that the third series would serve as the lead-in for the planned film.[35]

Neil Cross has confirmed there will not be a fourth series, but has not ruled out the possibility of a feature film.[36] In September 2012, Neil Cross announced that he was in the process of creating a spin-off of Luther centred around the character of 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."[37]

Critical reception

Series one was met with positive reviews, according to aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, and 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."[38] It holds a Metacritic score of 82 out of 100, based on 11 collected reviews,and indicating "Universal acclaim".[39] However, The Guardian's Stuart Heritage was initially critical of the show,[40] comparing 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 also called it Idris Elba's best work since The Wire.[41]

The show's second season 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."[42] It holds a Metacritic score of 78 out of 100, based on 9 collected reviews, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".[43] Variety and The Hollywood Reporter highlighted the darker tone, Elba's performance and the production.[44] 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.[45]

Season 3 was again met with positive reviews, and holds an 84% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 19 reviews.[46] It holds a Metacritic score of 76 out of 100, based on 19 collected reviews, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".[47]

International broadcast

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.[48] 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.[49][50]

The first series was broadcast in Turkey starting January 2012.[51] 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.

The South Korean cable channel Channel N also aired the series.

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. In January 2014 all three series were also broadcast by the Dutch KRO.

The first two dubbed series were broadcast on STV 1 channel in Slovakia (September - October 2013).

The first series of the show premiered in Greece on OTE Cinema 1 HD on 11 March 2014.[52]

The series is available on Netflix (Dutch).


Luther's soundtrack is composed by Paul Englishby, who has so far composed the music to all three series. Englishby also incorporates many pop and rock songs into the soundtrack, using these generally in the end credits. A CD called Luther - Songs and Score From Series 1, 2 and 3 has been released on 19 August 2013 and contains many of the themes and songs used in Luther.[53]


See also


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ Caroline Westbrook (2013-08-24). "Luther creator Neil Cross rules out fourth series of BBC One show | Metro News". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  3. ^ a b "DCI John Luther". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Alice Morgan". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "DS Justin Ripley". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "DSI Martin Schenk". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Benny 'Deadhead' Silver". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "DS Erin Gray". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Cross, Neil. "Luther Series 3". Neil Cross. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "DSU George Stark". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Zoe Luther". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "DCI Ian Reed". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "DSU Rose Teller". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Mark North". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Caroline Jones". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Jenny Jones". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Baba". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Frank Hodge". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Toby Kent". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  20. ^ "Luther : Series 2 (MA15+): DVD". DVD Warehouse. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  21. ^ Amazon.com. Accessed 19 July 2013.
  22. ^ "Luther - Series 3 DVD". Amazon. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  23. ^ Cross, Neil (30 April 2010). "Introducing Luther – with love to Detective Columbo". BBC. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  24. ^ "Sherlock and Luther recommissioned for BBC One". BBC. 28 August 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  25. ^ "Luther, Series 2, Episode 1". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  26. ^ "BBC One orders 3rd season of Idris Elbas Luther". IndieWire. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  27. ^ "BBC1 Boss unvieil comedy/Drama Plans". Broadcastnow.co.uk. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  28. ^ BBC One - Luther
  29. ^ "LUTHER". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  30. ^ Luther Series 3 | Neil Cross
  31. ^ "Luther, Series 3, Episode 1". BBC. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  32. ^ Brown, Brigid (11 June 2013). "Trailer for Third Installment of ‘Luther’". BBC America. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  33. ^ Ask Idris: Part 5 of 5 - Luther - Series 2 - BBC One, YouTube.com, 3 June 2011
  34. ^ "Luther" Creator Says Season 3 Will Be The Last Before Big Screen Leap + If Luther Was Written As A Black Man, IndieWire.com, 22 March 2012
  35. ^ Season 3 Of "Luther" Will Intro His Moriarty, As Luther Reaches Retirement; But Don't Expect Until 2013; Also Less Alice, IndieWire.com, 22 May 2012
  36. ^ Westbrook, Caroline (24 August 2013). "Luther creator Neil Cross rules out fourth series of BBC One show". Metro (DMG Media). Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  37. ^ 'Luther' Spin-Off Starring Ruth Wilson As Alice Morgan In The Works, The Huffington Post, 9 September 2012
  38. ^ "Luther: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  39. ^ "Luther - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  40. ^ Heritage, Stuart (10 May 2010). "How long should you stick with a disappointing TV show?". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  41. ^ Heritage, Stuart (2 June 2010). "Have you been watching ... Luther?". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  42. ^ "Luther: Season 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  43. ^ "Luther - Season 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  44. ^ Timberg, Scott (15 October 2011). "Luther – TV Review". Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  45. ^ Gorman, Bill (14 October 2011). "'Doctor Who,' 'Top Gear,' & 'Luther' Lead BBC America To Best Ratings Quarter Ever". Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  46. ^ "Luther: Season 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  47. ^ "Luther - Season 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  48. ^ "ABC Television – Luther". ABC. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  49. ^ "WATCH: ‘Luther’ Season Three Trailer". Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  50. ^ Hale, Mike (2 September 2013). "Still Lonely, Troubled and Singularly Heroic". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  51. ^ "Luther". Digiturk. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  52. ^ https://www.ote.gr/documents/10280/44350976/100314_new_series_otetv_en.doc/defc068d-85dd-47bd-8266-5a6cca59857d
  53. ^ Amazon webpage
  54. ^ a b c d e f g h "Luther". Emmys. 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
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