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'Luther' and Alice Morgan Are Back
June 2, 2019  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

The passage of time hasn’t made life any easier for John Luther. Bad news for him, good news for us.

Idris Elba’s (top) tormented detective has returned to television after a three-year absence, with a four-episode fifth season of Luther that premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on BBC America.

He’s still got the topcoat and yup, there’s another psychotic killer out there in London, daring Luther to track him down. Or track her down.

Luther has been admirably gender-neutral in its psychos, speaking of which it’s no spoiler to acknowledge that Ruth Wilson returns as Alice Morgan.

That’s welcome news for us viewers, though we can be pretty sure it will complicate Luther’s life. Alice takes the concept of frenemy to new levels whenever she shows up.

Alice sat out the fourth season, and to be honest, it left a hole where some anguished trauma should have been.

Not that Luther ever has a shortage of anguished trauma. In this new series, Luther gets accosted by a gang of Mob thugs with a cryptic message, and soon thereafter he revisits his shady old friend George Cornelius (Patrick Malahide). Off we go.

Meanwhile, murders have started – modern-day Jack the Ripper stuff, where bodies are surgically mutilated.

Luther also has a new partner, DS Catherine Halliday (Wunmi Mosaku). She hangs back at first, clearly trying to figure this guy out at the same time she’s practicing strategic deference. We like her, and there are indications she will become a force as things roll forward.

Right up front, we see she has a high tolerance for looking at mutilated bodies.

The first break in the murder case comes with an unlikely and intriguing twist. A psychotherapist named Vivien Lake (Hermione Norris, whom Elba fans may remember from working alongside him on The Wire) comes forward to tell Luther she has a patient, Jeremy Lake (Enzo Cilenti), who might be of interest.

Given the fact that the confidentiality of doctor-patient relationships has been a barrier to thousands of previous TV detectives in their search for psychotic perps, Vivien’s move seems a little puzzling to everyone.

So we’ve got several squirrely characters to track, even as we get an extended creepy sequence in which an unseen stalker follows a woman onto a nearly empty bus late at night.

Add Alice to the equation, somewhere, and you’ve got a dense, fascinating mystery. Director Jamie Payne also shows an expert hand at building tension and menace without resorting to visually graphic brutality. He lets that part develop in our imaginations.

Elba slips effortlessly back into Luther, with all his restless energy. His world brings him endless trouble and he can’t leave it, meaning that like Sisyphus, he rolls the rock back up the hill every day knowing it will roll right back down that night.

And in the morning, Alice rolled right down with it.

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Just to check, the wonderful Hermione Norris was in "Wire in the Blood" but I'm not so sure about "The Wire"? Otherwise thank you for an interesting review
Jun 2, 2019   |  Reply
I remember her from "Wire in the Blood." She was great in that.
Jun 3, 2019
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