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I TALK Luther

Normally channels wait for the autumn to launch their next big drama, however with Luther, which returns for a third, the same rules don't apply. Instead Luther returns in spectacular fashion right at the start of July, and fans are in for quite possibly the best series opener ever.

Two weeks ago I went along to an exclusive screening of episode one at BAFTA, where within the first four minutes the audience were hooked, not only that but actually screamed. There's a scene less than 5 minutes in that will have you jumping out of your seat and questioning how you're going to go to sleep tonight.

There's so much to love about Luther, the character, his sidekick, the way it's shot, the writing. There's a real filmic quality to Luther, there always has been, but I think even more so in the new series, including a beautiful 6 second shot not long into the episode, where we are focussed solely on a female's heel. Not forgetting the great scene where Luther has somebody dangling, yes dangling from a balcony.

Speaking at the BAFTA launch was the man himself Idris Elba, who answered questions about what happens to the show after the third series. Will there be a final episode? A fourth series? A film even?

Well, Idris was very open in revealing that this is not the end of Luther - cue a huge sigh of relief from the audience. When asked about a potential movie Elba said, "It's a goal. We've talked about it at length, but we're not at any deal stage yet. But it's definitely a goal." When questioned further about waht that movie would be, Idris revealed that it would be an origin film, based on Neil Cross' novel Luther: The Calling.

Back to the series then, what else can we can come to expect other than a scream at the beginning and some beautiful shots? Well, David O'Hara's character, George Stark, comes in with one main aim - to bring John Luther down.

Helping him do that is Erin Gray, who is back for series 3, this time as a DCI in in anti-corruption. Her first target? Luther. And together with George Stark they enlist the help of Luther's colleague and best friend, Ripley, played by Warren Brown. Could this be the end of Luther and Ripley as we remember them?

We see in the first episode how Luther's time is spent solving a copycat killing, someone who is emulating the actions from an unsolved case from the 1980's. Not content with just one case to solve, there's also a "malicious internet tormentor" that Luther has to deal with. But the question I want to know the answer to is whether or not Luther has clocked on to the fact that others are out there to take him down. And if he has, how will he react? Will the rookie cop we've all grown to know and love start toning it down?

I've spent the past couple of weeks catching up on the first two series and then re-watching the first episode from the new series. It's fair to say that this time around it steps up a notch, the show feels much bigger and hopefully bringing Luther back in July, a notoriously not-so-great month to launch telly shows, was the right decision and gains the show the recognition and respect it so deserves. It deserves to be spoken of in the same sentence as shows such as Broadchurch or The Fall. If I had to sum up the first episode in one word, it would have to be, EPIC.

Luther is definitely up where with the best cop dramas of recent times, if not the best. Whilst four episodes may not be very many, I have no doubt that the rest of the series will continue to deliver at such a high standard. And then of course there's the film to look forward to as well as the possibility of a fourth series or at least a one-off episode.

Luther returns Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC One.


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