It’s been quite a time for fans of the BBC psychological crime drama series, Luther. Just a day after the announcement of a U.S re-imagining of the show by Fox, series creator Neil Cross has dropped the bombshell that many have wished for ever since the last season ended in 2013. Idris Elba is returning to the role, in the UK, in 2015 – for two new episodes written by Cross himself.
The show proved to be an almost instant success when it first aired in 2010 with a six episode series. Centred around Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, it introduced audiences to an iconic character who was at once a highly intelligent and dedicated investigator, while being constantly on the brink of succumbing to his own dangerous passions. His obsessive devotion to fighting the darker elements swirling beneath the surface of life in London belies his own internal struggle against being entirely consumed by that same darkness. The character is portrayed – in a flawless, powerful performance – by Idris Elba, and in the final shot of the final episode in 2013, we saw him effectively make the choice that had been inevitable right from the start.
Since then, as with every TV show that is loved and comes to an end, those involved with the project have been dogged by questions about the return of Luther. Star Idris Elba and creator Neil Cross have long suggested that their goal is ultimately a movie – an idea that greatly benefitted from the popularity of the series on both sides of the Atlantic. Originating with the BBC, the series also aired on BBC America and received eight Prime-time Emmy nominations during its three-season run. It also earned Idris Elba a Golden Globe nomination for each season, giving him a win in 2012.
Now, Luther fans have an embarrassment of riches. Fox have given a ‘put pilot’ commitment (meaning the network essentially guarantees the project will be picked up) to a U.S version, written by Neil Cross for Fox, Chernin Entertainment and BBC Worldwide Productions. Idris Elba will executive produce that project, without reprising the role. That, we now know, is because he and Cross are bringing Luther back to the BBC instead, as Cross explained in his press release.
“Ever since we said goodbye to John Luther on Southwark Bridge, there’s hardly been a minute when I didn’t wonder what happened next. So I decided to find out. We’re putting the band back together; Luther is coming back where he belongs. Back to the BBC. Back to London. And back to work.”
Given the way in which the final episode left the character – essentially strolling off into the sunset with recurring character Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) – his close confidante, who is also a sociopathic murderer – the idea of Luther coming ‘back to work’ is intriguing to say the least. With filming scheduled for March for a late 2015 BBC broadcast, however, we have plenty of time to speculate.