The first two series of Luther were some of the darkest and most riveting stories put to the small screen. Luther is a man possessed of such a strong moral compass and sense of right that he incites passion among both his friends and enemies in the extreme. This third series examines that issue and its impact, raising the question of whether Luther causes the issues around him, plans them, or is simply one of the universe’s nexus points for crazy events. But this is Luther, so there are no simple answers to aspects of these questions.
In trying to approach the psychology and verisimilitude of the character, however, this ends up the most frustrating of the series so far, with decisions and events that stretch credibility. It isn’t that they aren’t engaging, but it is much harder to suspend disbelief and go with the cascade of events that begin in the first few moments of the new series and carry through to the finale. One of the hallmarks of the show was how horribly believable the outcomes were as choice upon choice and coincidence upon coincidence built up to sad and bloody ends.
Elba (Pacific Rim) continues to provide viewers with a raw nerve of a detective, determined to make the world right and confused when it continues to go so wrong. Elba’s growing fame makes getting the gift of this Luther series all that more fun, though getting a series 4 is increasingly unlikely. His side-kick, Brown (Good Cop, Inside Men) has likewise been getting better known but dusts off his character nicely in this round of episodes. A few other returning characters show up, but mostly in small, supporting roles that allow the main events to unfold on a fuller tapestry.
Despite some of the oddities of this series, it is ultimately satisfying… the ride getting there is just not quite as good as the first couple rounds. It is, however, an indelible part of the Luther saga and if you are hooked, it is a necessary piece of the puzzle.