It’s been a long time coming but this July sees Idris Elba returns to his role as John Luther in brilliant BBC1 crime drama Luther. In this interview with BBC Idris hints at what to expect in the upcoming third series.
How are we introduced to Luther in this new series?
Luther is pretty much the same man. He’s been through a lot. He’s still a dedicated policeman and he’s still as smart as he was. He’s definitely seeking love and coming towards the end of his road, possibly thinking about retirement. But lots happens in this season, lots of bad stuff, I don’t know where it’s going to leave Luther, he’s not a fragile man, but he might end up becoming fragile after what he goes through. But essentially at his core is the same sort of policeman, the same sort of man with a good heart who goes for it.
How has Luther changed since series one?
He’s gone through a lot of trauma, each time you go through anything bad in your life, it makes you a bit more reflective, and it definitely scars you in some way, this series he’s looking for peace. He’s very much in love with a woman he meets and is in a different kind of relationship now, he loves her and he’s going for it. This series is very much about Luther trying to get to the finish line and trying to change his life.
What does the new love story bring to the series?
Luther can be quite a dark and gloomy character and to be in love is good for him. I think he welcomes this relationship with open arms. It’s good to see him in love and to see him smiling and enjoying himself. It’s part of the idea of getting to know him a bit more and seeing what he’s like with a lover. In Luther’s style, things probably won’t go to plan but it certainly helps to get to know Luther a bit better.
Is Luther capable of romance considering his demons?
I think Luther wants a really great relationship and I think he’s going for it. Considering Luther’s job and how dedicated he is to his work I think it’s tough for him to relax and be a boyfriend but I think he gives it a good attempt. His marriage failed because of his work and he’s putting a lot of work into making things better this time.
What do you like about playing Luther?
I love the depth of character and I feel like I know him really well now. I love playing him but he’s so absorbing and it’s hard to separate myself from Luther when I’m playing him. I like that he challenges me as an actor and the writing is really good. We always attract really good actors.
Luther has a ruthless ex-copper after him this series, can you tell us a bit more?
We introduce a new character, George Stark this series. Set up as Luther’s arch nemesis he’s a formidable character played by David O’Hara who’s a really good actor. There are some really interesting scenes where Luther is being challenged and George is so in Luther’s face. Also Erin Gray sides with George and goes for Luther. It’s a great storyline and a great part for David and I think fans might get a thrill out of watching Luther be handled like this.
What is Luther’s relationship like with Schenk?
Their relationship was strained in the first series but this time they seem to be in cahoots they sort of work together a bit more. I suspect Schenk is working on some personal issues but it’s clear that Luther is one of Schenk’s favourite detectives and one of his best, he knows what he’s going to get with Luther.
How has Luther’s relationship with Alice developed over the three series?
Alice has been travelling around the world and they’ve kept in touch but I think that he’s still close to her; it’s very much at where they left off. He cannot get rid of her so to speak! They still have a very weird and close relationship.
Why does Luther appeal to such a large audience?
It’s a good show with good characters and I think it’s one of those escapism type shows that talks to a bunch of different audiences. The writing is really good and it doesn’t really spoon feed people, it keeps you guessing about what’s going to happen next.
Will Luther ever find peace?
No I don’t think he will. He will seek out people who do wrong and they’ll seek him out. People will come to him if something has gone wrong. Luther will always be that guy who can’t help seeking out those bad people and if he does that for the rest of his life he’ll never get peace.
Luther returns in July on BBC ONE