It's been four years since we last saw him on the television screen, but John Luther is back, attempting to dominate the Christmas schedule.
Idris Elba's rugged, battle-hardened detective has long been the flagship character for the BBC, but the upcoming fifth season looks as if it will be a return to the roots of the show. The fourth season, which consisted of only two episodes, saw Luther attempt to solve the disappearance of Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), but it garnered a mixed response from fans, who felt the specials didn't add enough to the overall narrative of the show.
It was later announced that Wilson will be returning for the new season, so fans were perhaps right to question the direction of the show, given the wasted time spent on the investigation. The creators have decided to increase the number of episodes to four, which aligns with the structure of both the second and third season; there is, however, a slight alteration in broadcasting schedule. The fifth season will air between the 1st and 4th of January, seemingly an attempt to tap in to modern, binge-oriented consuming practices.
Ruth Wilson and Idris Elba during a photocall for BBC One's 'Luther' held at The Courthouse Hotel on December 11, 2018 in London, England.
As for the tone, both Elba and series creator Neil Cross have spoken about how they plan to return to the old formula of the series. They have remained tight-lipped on specific plot details, with our glimpses into the show being a trailer and a synopsis from the BBC, which reads; "When the moonless shadows of London give birth to a new nightmare, DCI John Luther played by Idris Elba is once more called to immerse himself in the deepest depths of human depravity".
"While the monstrous and seemingly indiscriminate killings become ever more audacious and public, Luther and new recruit D.S. Catherine Halliday played by Wunmi Mosaku are confounded by a complex tangle of leads and misdirection that seems designed to protect an untouchable corruption. But even as the case brings him closer than ever to the true face of evil, a reluctant Luther is forced to confront the unburied demons of his own recent past. Striding back into the line of fire, he must choose who to protect and who to sacrifice.
Whatever his next move, it will have devastating consequences for those around him — and change John Luther forever."
Though it always had its shortcomings - namely some poor dialogue and a somewhat weak supporting cast - the first two seasons of the show were largely enjoyable, thanks to the exciting performances from Elba and Wilson, with the violence and grit of the show being welcomed in the prime-evening slot on BBC One. The third season saw a real decline in quality, with the plot becoming so implausible it often veered into parody, but the synopsis and teasers suggest the fifth season is more in keeping with the opening two instalments of the show.
The return of Wilson, fresh from a starring role in Mrs. Wilson and a departure from The Affair, is excellent news, with Alice Morgan's alluring, mysterious nature being one of the show's main selling point. We will see what role she has to play when Luther airs tomorrow evening on BBC One at 9pm.
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