Moral Compass, Luther, Series 3 Episode 1


Hi there readers,

So, for any of you that have been following my Broadchurch blog, you probably know that I’m a fan of British Television, and I feel like my list (which started with only Doctor Who) only keeps growing (I’ve got Wallander sitting in my Netflix queue). Anyway last night was AMAZING, as we got Luther here in the U.S. via BBC America.

For any of you that don’t know Luther is a gritty cop drama, starring Idris Elba (Heimdall in Thor). I feel like there are so many things I could say about why Idris’s acting, and the brilliant writing make for such a captivating dark, and often suspenseful show, but that would take way too long, because Luther is now showing in America for 4 nights (the first two seasons are on Netflix by the way), I thought I’d do a very short blog on each one.

uktv-luther-s03-e01-1So the first episode of the third series begins with DCI John Luther and DS Justin Ripley (played by Warren Brown) walking two criminals out of a burning building, out into a torrential down pour, to a waiting squad of officers, including their superior DSU Martin Schenk (played by Dermot Crowley).  I half feel like half the reason for this scene is just to remind everyone at how badass Luther is.

The scenes of Luther heading home are split with scenes of a woman returning home, and getting ready for bed.  Here’s where the amazing suspense comes in, thanks to fabulous writing and cinematography, you can almost sense her feeling of something being off, and of course with the ever creepy, under-the-bed POV, as she takes off her shoes, you just know there’s a killer waiting.  Which in my opinion makes for some of the creepiest story telling.  There’s something ridiculously predatory as the killer waits until she tucks herself in, only to emerge slowly and silently from beneath the bed, the scene ending as the victim opens her eyes in shock.

Now, the next morning when Luther and Ripley are investigating this victims death, she’s been put into a black gothic fetish outfit, with a black wig, and (what looks like to me as a paper mache) mask. Luther isn’t able to focus fully on this case though, as DSU Schenk tells him that Luther is being reassigned (beyond his control) to another case.  Luther asks to remain on this one (especially since it’s reminiscent of a case he thinks he remembers), and Schenk asks if he can handle both, Luther tells him he can, so Schenk lets him take both, telling Luther not to make him “regret” the choice.

982e1e499203411eb1cb2393791b9033On his way to the next case, Luther gets into a bit of a fender bender, with a cute blonde, who looks like she could be good for him… (though things didn’t go well with his first wife… but you’ll have to watch season 1 for that) Anyway she calls him later, and they really seem to hit it off… I hear we’re getting more Alice this season though… and I don’t think she’ll like the competition.

Now, the other case is a revenge killing, of a man named Jared Cass, and without getting lost in the details, the victim is one that some may have considered as one who had it coming.  Now if you’re reading a blog you’ve inevitably spent enough time on the internet to have encountered a few trolls… well this guy had taken it to a whole other level. One specific place he’d spent a lot of time making people miserable, was on a memorial site for a teen who had committed suicide.  Vandalizing the site (repeatedly) and posting, and/or sending menacing, graphic, disturbing, and disgusting photos, emails, and comments to the girl’s parents.


While all of this is going on what Luther doesn’t know is that Ripley has been wired, by Internal Affairs.  He’d been contacted by DCI Erin Gray (played by Nikki Amuka-Bird), a somewhat unpopular character last season.

(I really didn’t like her last season… don’t think I will this one)



If I were Ripley, I’d have a hard time not saying: “Yeah… you’re welcome.”

Gray had taken him to meet with (a pulled out of retirement, just for this) DSU George Stark, who shows Ripley that Luther is the “common denominator” in a series of dead criminals, or suspects (with the exception of Alice Morgan, who’s whereabouts are unknown). Ripley agrees to be wired on the main premise that he plans on proving them wrong, that Luther isn’t dirty, but all of this changes by the end of the episode.

During that time, Luther makes the connection between murders committed by the “Shoreditch Creeper” (who also had killed women, and dressed them like the victim at the beginng), and the victim, who they think he was after all along.  Unfortunately, the only witness they plan on talking to also ends up (along with her husband) murdered in a scene just as, or even more suspenseful than the opener.


Thankfully Gray and Stark only heard screams, and didn’t see anything… also I forgot how strong Luther is.

What changes Ripley is that, in the murder of Jared Cass (the truly trollish internet troll). Luther on a couple of occasions… well isn’t on his best behavior. Like getting info on Cass, from a guy who knew him, in the best way that Luther knows how.


Here we see Luther’s softer side.

Luther and Ripley are almost positive that the grieving father(Ken Barnaby), who runs the memorial site for his deceased daughter is the killer. All they need is his prints, Luther in a nonchalant way, gives Ken the heads up, by calling him, and letting him know that they’ll need his prints in the morning, just to cross him out as a suspect.


I’m fairly certain that it was more painful to watch…

Now, I’d like to point out that while my prints are already on file (it’s a requirement, as my degree requires me to be in elementary school classrooms), and I doubt they’d ever be needed in a police investigation… but if they were, you can bet I would try something like burning them, and not the method Mr. Barnaby took… it was really rough to watch… he used a blender.

Once Ripley finds out he confronts Luther at the station (while Luther is actually trying to phone the second victim we see killed), quite aggressively, he punches him… and for a guy of Ripley’s size compared to Luther’s I have to say that I almost have to give him credit for trying. Anyway, the fight is broken up, and that night Ripley goes back to Stark and Gray, telling them that they’re right about Luther “He needs to be stopped.”

Now here’s where I think it’s an interesting turn of events.  It’s not like cutting corners is exactly new to Justin, so why the change of heart now? I think it has everything to do with one’s moral compass, and what one can live with.  Just could perhaps live with the possibility that Luther has killed, or allowed the deaths of guilty people, perhaps people who would have gotten away with things.  As a cop I’m sure he detests when the wicked can get away with it.

However, while one might be sympathetic to Ken Barnaby and what he went through (and believe me when I say as a fan of Dexter… I’m pretty ok with a character killing off a worse character and getting away with it), however for Justin that means there’s no reason he should get away with murder.  That’s where his moral compass points him, the guilty can suffer, but never get away with it.

Anyway, please leave any thoughts or comments! I LOVE hearing from any of my readers.  New Luther blog tomorrow morning, after watching episode 2!

As always thanks for reading and happy watching.


One thought on “Moral Compass, Luther, Series 3 Episode 1

  1. Pingback: The End, Luther Series 3 Episode 4 | TV Drama Queen

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