When the character Alice Morgan of the BBC America crime drama “Luther,” makes the pronouncement that the “absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence,” she solidified her place as one of the more clever and oddly endearing psychopaths in television history. Having spent the last two series playing an emotionally charged cat-and-mouse game with Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, Alice – played by actress Ruth Wilson (Small Island) – returns for the third series alongside Idris Elba, as the title character. No spoilers! BBC America is offering the first two series in their entirety On Demand before the new series airs.
Elba reinvigorates the haunted, often misunderstood Luther this season, but adds a touch of long-awaited gentleness not witnessed in the previous seasons, through the addition of a new love interest, Mary Day, played by Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil). Unlike the frantic passions of the Zoe-John saga, writer Neil Cross introduces a shy, blushing, even, fumbling Luther, who is a refreshing change from the sobering “Billy Badass” audiences have come to love. Luther’s attention, and dare it be said, affections, however, are splintered, between Mary and the brilliantly deranged Alice.
“You realize why Luther is so good when you read Neil Cross’ scripts, and then you meet Idris and understand what ‘untamed’ means. There is no other set I’d rather be on, and I love the disastrous fun of being Mary Day, the right girl in the wrong place,” Guillory said.
In the crosshairs of his personal life are a series of fetish murders he cannot seem to grasp fully, as well as an old nemesis bent on ending his career. Elba is strikingly powerful, decidedly masterful, and absolutely breathtaking as John Luther. The Billy Dee Williams of a new age, Elba offers brains, brawn, and sex appeal without much effort.
Elba, who won a Golden Globe Best Actor award, for the role in 2012, believes the crossroads Luther faces this season will ultimately shape the direction in which the character itself grows.
“[Luther’s] gone through a lot of trauma. Each time you go through anything bad in your life, it makes you a bit more reflective, and it definitely scars you in some way. In this series he’s looking for peace. But a lot happens in this season … I don’t know where it’s going to leave Luther. He’s not a fragile man, but he might end up becoming fragile after what he goes through. This series is very much about Luther trying to change his life and get to the finish line,” said Elba, 40.
Cross’ writing is chilling and will have audiences biting their nails from the opening sequence. For those who want to get a more intimate glance at John Luther, and Cross’ genius, the novel Luther, The Calling, written by Cross in 2011 is now available in paperback. The work follows Luther’s obsessive, intense, and impassioned career (and personal life) pre-series.
The new four-part miniseries returns Sept. 3-6, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.