After a two-year hiatus, we now have our first look at BBC’s third season of Luther, starring the returning Idris Elba.
Idris Elba hasn’t merely attempted a film career; he’s actually made a name for himself on the big screen. Starring in hit movies like Thor, Prometheus, and the upcoming Guillermo del Toro kaiju film about giant aliens and robots Pacific Rim; you’d think Elba may decide he doesn’t need television anymore. You’d be wrong, but nobody would blame you for thinking that way. It’s the story of countless actors in the past, including Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis. One needs only to look at the music video for Mumford & Sons’ “Lover of the Light”, directed by and starring Elba, to see he isn’t above doing something just because he wants to do it. Although, it’s not hard to see why actors would make that choice; often, you’re choosing a million-dollar payday for a few weeks of work over a day-in and day-out grind of a television series; who wouldn’t? Elba’s choice is a different one. Sure, he enjoys playing the character of John Luther, but a large part of why he’s remained committed to the role has to do with the fact that the seasons are short; season three of Luther consists of four sixty-minute episodes. He basically filmed a movie. Elba isn’t the only British star to have made this choice in recent months; Benedict Cumberbatch–he of Star Trek Into Darkness–has said he’s on-board to continue portraying Sherlock Holmes on BBC’s Sherlock for the foreseeable future. Sherlock’s seasons consist of three episodes. Notice the pattern? Luther and Sherlock are some of the best television of the past five years and, on top of having terrific casts, a big reason for the high quality is the taut density of their respective plots; when you have just a handful of episodes in which to tell your story, your story is going to be jam-packed. American television series could learn a thing or two from British television series, and maybe there would be more actors of the Michael J. Fox variety who hang around on American television. (Coincidentally, it is Michael J. Fox’s birthday, today.)
Here’s the BBC’s plot synopsis for Luther‘s third season:
Idris Elba returns in the title role of the acclaimed mini-series which won him a 2012 Golden Globe for “Best Actor” in this four-night television event in September – with two conflicting crimes to investigate and a ruthless ex-cop determined to bring him down. Luther’s life is his job, that is until love crosses his path and offers him a chance of happiness. Sienna Guillory (“Resident Evil,” “Love Actually”) joins the cast as Mary, a woman who works in a vintage clothing shop and meets Luther in a chance encounter. But is Mary ready to accept Luther’s past? And can Luther leave it behind? A self-destructive near-genius, John Luther might just be as dangerous as the depraved criminals he hunts. Luther shines a light into the hearts and minds of psychopaths and killers … and the shadowy spaces of his own soul.
Warren Brown, Dermot Crowley, Michael Smiley, and Ruth Wilson are also returning to reprise their roles from the first two seasons. David O’Hara joins the show as DSU George Stark, the “ex-cop determined to bring him down”. The plot synopsis may remind you of a similar storyline on Showtime’s Dexter, where Frank Lundy was introduced as an FBI analyst determined to bring Dexter Morgan down. The difference is John Luther doesn’t operate in the shadows (along with other, more obvious differences). Sienna Guillory will apparently serve as Luther’s love interest, and that means Ruth Wilson’s Alice Morgan most likely will not, which is a good thing.
The third season of Luther premieres in the UK on BBC One July 9, 2013, and the four episodes will air in the US on BBC America September 3-7, 2013.