Want more 'Luther' on TV? Idris Elba says hire David Bowie


  • DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) and DS Justin Ripley (Warren Brown) at a crime scene in the new season of "Luther" on BBC America.
DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) and DS Justin Ripley (Warren Brown) at a crime… (Rober Viglasky / BBC 2013 )
September 03, 2013|By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol | RedEye

Fans of the moody crime thriller "Luther" likely will say goodbye to Det. John Luther on the small screen after this week.

With a "Luther" prequel movie in the works, both star Idris Elba and show creator Neil Cross have suggested the end of the TV "Luther," but Elba is leaving one glimmer of hope for fans.

"I think both Neil and I would consider it if you could get David Bowie to come and score the next season," the British actor told me during a conference call with reporters last week. "If you can do that I think Neil and I would be writing straightaway."

Hopefully Bowie is reading this story, because the new season of "Luther," airing over four consecutive nights beginning at 9 p.m. Sept. 3 on BBC America, shows that "Luther" is getting better with age. (Read my review here.)

While hunting two ruthless killers, Luther faces an internal investigation determined to bring him down. Despite all this, he pursues a chance for happiness in the arms of Mary Day (Sienna Guillory).

Elba talked about Luther's new love interest versus his relationship with the killer Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), who—mild spoiler alert!—pops back into Luther's life this season.

Elba, who can be seen on the big screen playing Nelson Mandela in "Long Walk to Freedom" later this year, answered questions about his other projects, "The Wire" and why the short seasons of "Luther" really work for him.

"I'm less depressed for most of the year, and that's good," he said.

Alice is back this season and I was wondering if you could talk further about the bond that she and Luther share and why it's so strong.
I guess it's just the history of who they both are and the sort of journey that they've both taken along the seasons of the show. Alice and Luther I think share, you know, share an intellect that they both thrive on. And I think because of that, because of the cat-and-mouse game between the two of them, they end up sort of being attracted to each other. They're sort of opposites but they just end up being attracted to each other because ultimately, they each own sort of a big secret about each other.

And I think for Neil and I to explore that storyline, for us it just became a tantalizing way to explore a relationship that's non-sexual but has a sexual undertone to it. And it's, you know, it's dangerous because we know the parameters for each character.

I think that's why we enjoy it. It's something that we can explore on TV slowly as we like or as accelerated as we like.

Do you think that she's correct in saying that happiness is sort of what Luther thinks he wants but is not really what he wants?
Yes, definitely. She has a real understanding I think of what Luther aspires for but I don't think that Luther personally either wants particularly happiness but some sort of satisfaction.

What's the theme of this season?
That's a good question. Internally, we wanted to get closer to Luther and not follow a route of "Oh, he's getting more and more depressed," or taking more and more drugs and wanting to shoot himself. We didn't want to do that. What we wanted to do is get to know him a bit closer and figure out what he would do under pressure.

And the theme we'd like to say, is understanding the legacy of everything he has lived with, how do we get into that—and having him investigated was the ultimate, sort of autopsy on him.

And we wanted to make that stretch over the season so that at the end when we say the last words, we wanted the audience to say, "Now what?" And literally look at Luther and go, "I don't know where you can go from here, pal."

So I think you're right in the idea that we wanted to really look at was the weight of his actions and how that has changed him or not changed him. But at the same time we really wanted to keep our audience thrilled. Our bad guys in Luther are always vivid and horrible, but we wanted to enhance that this season—elevate it, in a darker way.

Luther's walk seems different than any other walk of any other character you play. Was that on purpose and does that say something about him?
I want to be honest with you and tell you the truth, but I suspect it might be disappointing for you. Honestly, over the last three years, I've been dealing with a really bad injury on my ankle and it has gotten worse. I end up having to choose my shoes that I use for Luther very carefully because Season 1 it was the same pair of shoes that just were too tight and hurt me when I walked a certain way (not realizing that was my main issue).

And then this season I sort of changed it up suddenly. It's a lot more technical than you think. I mean it's a great compliment. I've heard that Luther has a crazy walk and it's great, but it's really not as intentional as I'd like to say.

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