DVD Review: Luther, Season 4 (UK, 2015)

Season 4 of Luther sees the titular British detective (Idris Elba) return for a two-part adventure that, while all too brief, does a fantastic job of picking up the ball and running with it. It’s every bit as dark, moody and drenched in grey-morality as previous seasons and the slick production values behind the series make it feel like no time has passed.

The setup here is a little obvious but feels right: a disgraced and grief-stricken Luther has gone into early-retirement but is pulled back out into the world when Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) turns up dead, putting him on a collision course with a new and particularly grisly serial killer (John Heffernan).

Alice has always been one of the strongest elements of Luther and the absence of the dynamic and tension between her and Elba’s character is absolutely felt here. That said, there is something to be said for the existential crisis her death brings out in Luther. Idris isn’t given enough time to spend on the character as you might hope but he does a lot with what he has.

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While it’s nice to see actors like Dermot Crowley and Michael Smiley reprise their roles, it’s some of the new cast members who really bring a breath of fresh air into the show. In particular, Rose Leslie is a revelation as DS Emma Lane  – bringing a new sidekick to the show that’s a worthy counterpart to John Luther.

As in previous seasons, the backdrop of London oscillates between grotesque and picturesque. While Neil Cross’ script feels a little rushed for time, the direction by Sam Miller comes off as effortlessly elegant. The series iconic imagery of a bloodied-Luther stumbling down a harsh black, white and grey cityscape is as compelling as ever.

Season 4 of Luther is more Luther – with the calibre of writing, directing and acting that you’d expect – but it’s all over very quickly. Season 4’s two episodes are stunning successes in the sense that they continue the series in a way that leaves it feeling fresh and rejuvenated but unlikely to age well should they go down as the series’ swan song.

Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Special Features

There’s actually a bit of effort that’s gone into this aspect of the release with a 26 minute making-of featurette along with a smaller feature that takes you behind the scenes of one of the big stunts in the two-part season. There’s also a short recap of the previous 3 seasons, which is not an entirely unhelpful inclusion.

Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Season 4 of Luther is available on DVD now.