Luther Season 4 Review

Dark, depressing, and yet desired

Luther, starring the wonderful Idris Elba, is a gritty and cerebral show. The first three seasons (spoilers contained within this review) proved that time and again. The supposed last season (there could be a movie in the works) continues that theme and wraps it up with dark grace.

Spoilers for the Fourth Season and entire Series (I really can’t review it without addressing the basic premise of the season. If you don’t mind being spoiled for the first 10 minutes, then read on.)

The first scene with the titular character of Season Four is Luther having either an old or imaginary conversation with his deceased partner Justin Ripley. Justin ostensibly died in Luther’s arm in last seasons’s finale and it is clearly haunting him. He left the force on a leave of absence with Alice Morgan, a manipulative and dangerous killer he had a strange relationship with.

The show begins Luther’s new journey with members of the police force informing him that Alice Morgan is, in fact, dead.

That is the spoiler that I had to bring up, as it frames the entire season. The death of Alice Morgan, which Luther is half in disbelief of, hangs in our minds as the two episode season progresses. Is Alice Morgan really dead? Luther begins to accept it. But can she really be dead? It is so shocking to the viewers. I do not want to believe it. Luther and Alice’s relationship is what made the show. It is what started Luther off.

Against a backdrop of a psychopathic and feral cannibalistic murderer terrorizing the streets, maybe coming terms with the end of Alice and Luther is what ends it. The mystery, the case of the murders, is compelling and fascinating in its bloody detail, but it pales to the mystery of what happened to Alice. Luther is following the steps towards trying to figure that out. Trying to find out who killed her and exact his justice, all while coming back onto the force to solve a series of homicides.

The stories overlap in themes. There is contrast in one characters journey with Luther’s own. It makes the switching between the two narrative threads a welcome experience rather than disorienting. I didn’t feel myself wanting for the other. I was content with where it was at.

I, however, was not content with how it ends. There is talks of a movie, of resolution, I hope. Not that resolution is needed, thematically, I think having it end the way it did with its lack of clarity on one thread could work, but I really would like it and I imagine the audience would, too.

Luther began with a strange mingling of Luther and Alice. It begins its end with the abrupt separation and seems to stay that way. Perhaps it is a metaphor for how death is just like that. Sometimes the cases aren’t solved. Sometimes we don’t know what happen. And it is frustrating.

In spite of that, I recommend it to Luther fans. Maybe pretending season four didn’t happen, if nothing more follows, makes a cleaner end, but Luther has never been about clean. It has been gritty and real. Rough edges and all. And this is one rough edge to leave a taste in your mouth.