WARNING: spoilers below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.
Well, well, well… That’s that, then. It’s over. Finished. At least it’s ‘goodbye’ to Luther’s fifth series, anyway. But could we have waved goodbye to the programme entirely? There was, after all, a certain feeling of finality to the climactic scenes here in the fourth and final episode of this run.
A sixth series hasn’t been confirmed as yet and star Idris Elba hasn’t sounded overly enthusiastic about a return to his most famous character in recent interviews – although he has hinted that a film version could be in the works.
This run of the grisly BBC detective series attracted its usual high viewing figures and even beat the most recent Doctor Who in the New Years ratings. So the Beeb – along with the five-odd million TV crime fans that tuned into the show in 2019 – will no doubt be keen to see Luther return soon enough. We’ll have to wait and see what the future has in store for Neil Cross’ smash hit show.
If it does reappear on our screens, the producers will have plenty of casting to do. The crime drama will have to find a new antagonist to pit against London’s most law and rule-averse Detective Chief Inspector, after a huge and central fan favourite dropped out of sight in a manner intentionally similar to the very first scene of series 1 some nine years ago. We won’t go into too much detail here, just in case you’re yet to watch and fully digested this last course of the Luther meal. Suffice to say, you may be left with a little indigestion as the credits roll…
Not only is Luther’s main adversary now out of the picture, but half of John’s team are also gone too. If we all thought that DS Benny Silver (Michael Smiley) taking a bullet in the face in episode 3 was shocking, we hadn’t seen anything. It looks as though Benny will be joined in Met Police Heaven by another integral member of the team. Working with DCI Luther is, as if we needed reminding, a rather dangerous job indeed.
It’s also quite hazardous to be a maniacal serial killer in London when Luther’s working a shift. All get ‘caught’, but very few actually make it to the handcuff stage. But by the end of this fourth instalment, Luther and DS Halliday had tracked down Jeremy Lake (with very little assistance it has to be said, from his rather unhelpful other half Vivien). After discovering a house full of masked-up corpses, they apprehended Lake who, as luck would have it for him, escaped being killed and had to make do with a few punches, the ‘cuffs and a presumably quite lengthy prison sentence.
This ending, with its two plot thread conclusions, along with the entire series, was exactly what we’ve come to expect from Luther. It was dark, twisting and full of dead shocks and surprises – and yet still managed to hit all of the tropes and – yes – cliches that it always seems to aim for. The drama’s creators have never really sought to subvert the genre in any tangible way or hit new heights. They’ve got their template and they stick with it. Were it anyone other than Idris Elba in the role, there’s a good chance we may all have grown a little weary of the format by now. But it isn’t. Elba is Luther and so Luther is great TV.
That said, for the first time in the show’s 20-odd hour-long episodes, Elba seems a little distracted here. It was all there – the growling, the guns, the hands in pockets, the shouting of ‘Alice!’ every five minutes. But something seemed missing. Maybe it was the fault of the editing and not Elba’s performance. The pacing was a little off in places and certain scenes seemed slightly rushed here and there. That can lend itself to a thrilling chain of events, but it can also detract from the characters and the story arc in general.
It’s been a solid if not classic run of Luther, this. The big finale will be remembered by fans forever and we were treated to one of the best (and funniest) killers in the programme’s near decade-long history. Where to go now, though? A sixth telly outing? A big screen version? Or will everyone concerned decide to bow out, while they’re still at the top…?
Watch this space to find out.
Did you tune in for Luther series 5 episode 4? What did you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…