The highly anticipated third season of “Luther” returns as a four-night special event on BBC America, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3, and fans of the genius detective will find it definitely worth the wait.
Luther (Idris Elba) is coming out of a dark time and, as the story begins, takes on the burden of two cases, even as he struggles to cope with his own demons.
“He was willing to practically kill someone in the first season to get to the truth,” Elba told reporters in a conference call for the new season. “Even though he has gone through so much trauma, he has managed to stabilize himself so doesn’t get to that place as quickly. There has been a massive change for him. I wouldn’t say he has grown up, but he has definitely grasped on to the idea that he can’t get away with the way he has been living.”
But Luther’s past comes back to haunt him, resulting in an investigation of his unorthodox methods of police work. But not all is dark. Love also crosses the DCI’s (detective chief inspector) path when he literally bumps into Mary Day (Sienna Guillory).
Appetite whetted? Here are five more things Idris Elba revealed about Season 3 that you need to know:
No. 1: The theme of the four episodes is a look at how Luther has changed since we met him in Episode 1, Season 1, and getting an understanding of the legacy of everything he’s lived through since that time.
“Internally, we wanted to get closer to Luther and not follow a route of: He’s getting more and more depressed, or taking more drugs, or wants to shoot himself,” Elba says. ‘We didn’t want to do that. What we wanted was to get a bit closer and figure out what he would do under pressure… How do we do that? Having him investigated was an autopsy on him. We wanted to make that stretch over the season, so at the end, when we say the last words: ‘Now what?,’ we wanted the audience to look at Luther and go, ‘I don’t know where you can go from here, pal.’
“At the same time, we really wanted to keep our audience thrilled. Our bad guys and Luther are always vivid and horrible, but we wanted to enhance that this season, elevating it in a darker way.”
No. 2: Alice (Ruth Wilson) is back. Maybe not soon enough for hard-core fans, but when she does return, the bond between her and Luther is just as strong as ever. And, of course, she comes back to get involved in the mess that is his life.
“I guess [their bond] is just the history of who they both are and the journey that they have both taken along the seasons of the show,” Elba says. “Alice and Luther, I think, share an intellect that they both thrive on. Because of the cat-and-mouse game between the two of them, they end up being attracted to each other. They are opposites, but they end up being attracted to each other because, ultimately, they each own a big secret about the other. For [creator] Neil [Cross] and I, it became a tantalizing way to explore a relationship that is not sexual, but has a sexual undertone to it. It is dangerous because of the parameters of the characters.”
No 3: Luther’s former co-worker DCI Erin Gray (Nikki Amuka-Bird) is one of the parties involved in the investigation of his police practices. With all the deaths that surround Luther’s cases, and the number of people close to him who have been killed, she is out to get him for the large number of bodies piling up.
“Luther is just a big target for someone to blame,” Elba says. “He is a big burly man, not afraid to have an opinion, come in and solve cases in 10 minutes. With that comes a responsibility. If you drive a motorcycle without a helmet, the likelihood is you’re going to get flies stuck to your face. I think that’s what happens with Luther and how he goes about his work. I think going into Season 3, that was the idea. Although Luther has made this attempt to clean up his act, he wasn’t surprised that someone was sniffing about where he has come from. That was really thrilling for us to explore.”
No. 4: Since Luther’s wife was murdered in Season 1, he hasn’t really had a woman in his life, other than Alice. So he is almost like a giddy, teenage boy when he meets Mary, and the two stay up all night talking and getting to know each other. But, of course, Mary gets drawn into his work in a very scary way, causing them problems.
“I think Luther’s attraction to Mary is based on just how completely different and untouched she is,” Elba says. “She’s the furthest thing away from a murder scene. She is bizarrely isolated in her own world, her own bubble. I think Luther’s attracted to that, like a grizzly bear being attracted to a gold fish. When we were going to investigate Luther to discover if he is a bad guy or not, we wanted to parallel that with him having some real feelings for someone. Neil, being such a great writer, managed to sew the two storylines together. Also, Luther wanted to fall in love with someone that took him away from what he does for a living and who he’s been for a while.”
No. 5: Is this the end of “Luther?” Was the season finale a series finale? Season 3 ends with a sense of closure, much more than the endings of the previous two seasons. That said, it may not be the end of “Luther.” Elba shares that it could become a movie, a prequel to Season 1.
“The TV show being what it is, I think we have always wanted to take it to a filmic character,” Elba says. “This season wasn’t really designed to be closure. There are massive symbols, like me taking off my coat, [a main character] dying at a point toward the end, but I don’t think we did that intentionally. [We didn't] say at the end of this, ‘We are not going to do any more.’ However, the time is really ripe for ‘Luther’ to turn into a film, I think, considering we have had a really interesting, continuing following on the show. Our intention was always to take it to a film, where we can really explore what makes this man tick, and really understand Luther, or go on more and more weirder or mental journeys with him by using the film medium.”
The four-part Season 3 event of “Luther” airs Sept. 3, 4, 5 and 6, at 10/9c on BBC America.
Click on the Image Below to Watch the Very First Episode of “Luther”: