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DVD Review: ‘Luther 3′

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Luther 3, the two disk DVD set of the third season of the acclaimed series, is now available from the BBC. Starring the charismatic Idris Elba as the conflicted mastermind detective DCI John Luther, a role that garnered him a 2012 Golden Globe as best actor in a miniseries, this four-episode set has him working on two different cases. The first two episodes deal with a psychotic fetishist killer, the last two with a crazed vigilante. The two cases are complicated by a concurrent police investigation into Luther’s controversial past methods.

tumblr_mp6nuy6nsu1rstn0po1_500 (268x400)Luther, a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Columbo, seems even more the genius here than in past episodes. He manages to suss out what is going on in both of these cases a lot more quickly than he was able to figure out what happened in the murder of his wife. He seems to know exactly what needs to be done, and he is always right, sometimes late, but always right. The thing is, Elba is so good he manages to make him believable, and once you buy into his performance, the show becomes a fast paced thriller that will get you up on the edge of whatever seat you happen to be perched upon. If you liked Idris Elba as Stringer Bell, you’ll love him as John Luther.

Much of the excellent cast from prior series is back for the third go-round. Warren Brown is convincing as DS Justin Ripley, Luther’s loyal sidekick, whose loyalty is challenged by the police investigation. David Crowley as Luther’s boss has seemingly learned his lesson about Luther after his own police complaints investigations in the second miniseries. Nikki Amuk-Bird’s DS Erin Gray is the honest, upright moralist who has had trouble with Luther’s methods and is now involved in the new complaint investigation.

And then there is Ruth Wilson as the lovable serial killer, the amoral Alice Morgan who returns for an encore. There is some indication that she may be back in a miniseries of her own. Given the success of Dexter, it seems like a good bet.

New characters in the series include David O’Hara as DU George Stark as an almost Javert style pursuer in charge of the new police investigation and the fragile Sienna Guillory as Luther’s new love interest, Mary Day. O’Hara’s strong performance makes Stark a worthy opponent for Luther, while Guillory’s vulnerability makes their continuing relationship questionable.

If the excellent performances can get you to suspend disbelief about some of the unusual goings on, the insights that seemingly come from out of nowhere, the motivations for character’s behavior, this third series of Luther will enthrall you. I have to say it enthralled me.

The DVD set includes a short feature on the making of the series as the only bonus material.

By the way, for those interested, Neil Cross, the creator of the series wrote an exciting prequel, Luther The Calling, published in the U.K. in 2011 and the following year in the U.S. 

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About Jack Goodstein