We first see Idris Elba’s detective John Luther perched on top of a skyscraper in Shoreditch, looking more like a troubled superhero than a London copper. This is one of the best things about the BBC’s popular police procedural: it has the ambition to use its A-list actor with a matching sense of scale.
Luther is back tonight, for the first of a two part mystery, where he goes up against a killer who takes the phrase ‘eat your heart out’ a little too literally. Elba’s DCI Luther may not be quite as you remember him from his last outing two and a half years ago. He’s a broken man now, haunted by the death of his partner and living in a shack on a cliff. But all it takes is the whiff of a serial killer who likes to chow down on random body parts of his victims to shake off the ennui and get him back on the case, breaking heads and doors down as he lurches through the capital’s underworld.
Both Elba and the show’s creator Neil Cross have said they want to keep the series going for the foreseeable future with occasional episodes as and when the actor can get away from his Hollywood duties (in 2017 he’s playing the villain in Star Trek Beyond and also Shere Khan in a new version of the Jungle Book). A Luther movie is also a very real possibility. Elba sees this as his way of playing the other character everyone keeps going on about. He said recently: "Everyone keeps talking about Bond and all that nonsense but the truth is: Luther is Bond. He's a central character that gets himself in a lot of shit.”
The two new episodes of Luther are on BBC1 on 15 and 22 December, both at 9pm.