You Can Make A Killing Working The Buses
After a three-year hiatus, Luther returns with a grizzly episode of murder, conspiracy and gritty police work. Mixing two storylines seamlessly together, Luther carries the momentum over from its fourth season for a really solid opening episode here. Idris Elba is as captivating as ever as the grizzled police detective and the return of a familiar figure in the dying moments of the episode leave the door wide open for where this story is headed going forward.
Luther’s episode begins with the return of a prominent figure from last season’s two-episode special. After a brief re-introduction to Luther himself, it doesn’t take long for George Cornelius to return with a vengeance. Snatching Luther up and convinced he’s part of a bigger conspiracy, he vows to make Luther pay for what he’s done. Of course, our troubled detective knows nothing of this and after escaping George’s clutches, he’s called back into work to start an investigation into a string of gruesome murders.
In true Luther fashion, these murders are not for the fainthearted and while the manner of violence isn’t quite as shocking as a dice-wielding madman or a cannibalistic psychopath, the bodies shown are still pretty horrific. Gravitating around a mentally unhinged man with a seeming connection to his psychiatrist, Luther begins his investigation with newcomer DS Catherine Halliday. Together they try to track down the killer while Luther deals with the presence of George Cornelius.
The episode itself certainly feels like the Luther of old and these two storylines work harmoniously together throughout this opening hour of a larger story. If there’s one thing the show’s always done well, it’s this seamless integration of Luther’s personal and professional life. Season 5 is no exception. It helps too that the episode has a good, gritty feel to it and tonally, Luther feels like the seasons of old again.
The acting and cinematography are both good too, with some striking imagery and clever camera movements used to emphasize what’s happening on-screen. One particularly memorable moment sees a camera slowly panning down while Luther’s looking through the window, stopping just shy of a body with nails sticking out of it. Another scene sees a memorable bus sequence utilize a number of different tricks to make the cool, blue light eerily unsettling. It’s little tricks like this that make Luther really stand out from other crime dramas and visually at least, this first episode does a great job setting the benchmark for the rest of the season to follow.
With an unresolved plot and many questions left unanswered at the end of this first episode, it’s anyone’s guess what’s to come from Luther going forward this season. If tonight’s episode and the previous season is anything to go by, we’re in for a real treat. A return to form for Luther and a really intriguing start to the year, Luther looks set to make 2019 a memorable one for the detective but it’s still early days yet and it’ll be interesting to see if Luther can continue this good work going into tomorrow’s episode.