TV Review: Luther Series 5

Luther Series 5 aka the one that maybe goes too far?

“Can we do that?
‘Within parameters…'”

Not quite flogging a dead horse yet, but the much anticipated fifth series of Luther indulges its title character far too much  in the name of shocks and thrills, whilst simultaneously begging us not to misunderstand him, Nina Simone’s glorious voice plays out over the violent wreckage of the final scene.

As a crime drama, Neil Cross’ Luther really does manage to come up with inventively appalling serial killers and attackers that seem design to lurk in nightmares (the bus murder here…). But it is also increasingly tied up in the mythology of the show itself, the design here clearly aiming for some kind of apotheosis.

It’s no spoiler to talk about the return of Ruth Wilson’s iconic Alice Morgan here but there’s also no point is not asking whether it is really worth it. I’d argue yes, in the end, as long as it really is the end. And tbh, I just don’t trust that should Luther continue, some fuckery or other will be employed to bring her back.

Her maniacal energy is always a treat, particularly in the moments where her control over events slips and her chemistry with Idris Elba’s Luther remains off the charts. And the contrast with the icily cool serial killer and psychiatrist wife storyline, superbly essayed by Enzo Cilenti and Hermione Norris is well done, making these four episodes vividly watchable, even if from behind a cushion.

But there’s a real problem in the way that key characters are so easily disposed of, especially when they’re colleagues of Luther. The idea that everyone he loves is killed is severely overdone and any sense that he bears remorse for being the cause of so much death is kicked into the long grass as soon as ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ starts playing – too many people deserve so much better, particularly Wunmi Mosaku here as DS Halliday. Rumours of a film still swirl but I think it is time to let Luther lie now.

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