Golden Globe® winner Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation, Star Trek Beyond) returns to his iconic role as a self-destructive near-genius detective on the edge of law enforcement.  Detective Chief Inspector John Luther (Elba) will learn the hard way; he may never be able to walk away from capturing the tormented psychopaths that lurk the streets of London. His attempt to leave the darker side of humanity behind for a chance at a “normal” life is quickly thwarted when he’s drawn into a terrifyingly complex case. A cannibalistic serial killer delivers a devastating blow that not only pulls him out of seclusion but pushes him closer to the edge than he’s ever been. A BBC AMERICA co-production, the gripping, psychological thriller Luther makes its highly-anticipated return in a one-night special event on Thursday, December 17, 9:00pm ET.

Struggling to cope with his own demons after losing so much, it seemed normalcy would always elude the emotionally impulsive detective. Teflon tough, even the strongest couldn’t endure what Luther has seen and been through. Hunting London’s most depraved criminals forced him to tap into the dark recesses of his mind, revealing sides of himself that would horrify most. The heartbreaking loss of his wife to a brutal murderer and his inner-circle of colleagues turning on him in a witch hunt weren’t enough to keep him away from the job. But watching his most trusted colleague and friend, Detective Sergeant Justin Ripley (Warren Brown, The Dark Knight Rises, Inside Men), die in his arms after getting caught in the crossfires of a case, finally pushed him over the slippery slope he’s always towed.  A forbidden connection with serial-killer, Alice Morgan, offered him a somewhat skewed version of a happy ending and he took it.

Elba on Luther’s challenges:  “I think there were bigger challenges when he lost his wife and his best friend…. That was a huge pinnacle and something that it took him a long time to get over. And in this [special] there is something similar that happens to him that is definitely traumatic.”

This time we find Luther on a leave of absence from the police force, laying low in a rundown cottage.  A visit from colleagues, Detective Chief Inspector Theo Bloom (Darren Boyd, Veep, The World’s End) and Detective Sergeant Emma Lane (Rose Leslie, The Last Witch Hunter, Game of Thrones) brings a shocking piece of news that draws him back to London in search of the truth. At the same time, a gruesome cannibalistic serial killer has struck the city, eating body parts as he goes. With a trail of clues leading from one crime scene to the next, Detective Superintendent Unit Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowley, Babel, Bleak House) and his team must work out the twisted logic that connects each victim. But this murdering mastermind is more than a match for Schenk’s police, outsmarting them at every step. It’s not long before Luther makes his triumphant return to the Bullpen, determined to capture the killer before another mutilated body joins the mounting pile.  But he’s dogged at every turn by ghosts from his past. Isolated and volatile, it will take every fiber of Luther’s being to keep it together.

Elba on Luther’s return to the Bullpen:  “I think Luther goes back just because he can’t stay away from it for too long. Ultimately, because he’s a protector, [he] just wants to be able to fix what he can see other people won’t be able to …”

Idris Elba has garnered both Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominations for his role as DCI John Luther, with a Golden Globe® win in 2013.  He was also honored at the 42nd NAACP Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special.

Written and created by Emmy®-nominated Neil Cross and directed by Sam Miller (No Good Deed, Fortitude) the Luther special  also stars Laura Haddock (Guardians of the Galaxy, Ripper Street, Da Vinci’s Demons)as Megan Cantor, a mysterious woman from Luther’s past, John Heffernan (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Ripper Street) as the sadistic cannibal Steven Rose, Patrick Malahide (Indian Summers, Game of Thrones) as George Cornelius, an old school gangster, and Michael Smiley (Doctor Who, Ripper Street) returning as computer whiz Benny Silver.

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Production Credits

DCI John Luther

Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation, Star Trek Beyond)

DS Justin Ripley

Warren Brown (Inside Men, Good Cop)

DCI Theo Bloom

Darren Boyd (Veep, The World’s End)

DS Emma Lane

Rose Leslie (The Last Witch Hunter, Game of Thrones)

DSU Martin Schenk

Dermot Crowley (Babel, Bleak House)

Benny Silver                            

Michael Smiley (Doctor Who, Ripper Street)

Megan Cantor

Laura Haddock (Guardians of the Galaxy, Ripper Street)

George Cornelius

Patrick Malahide (Indian Summers, Game of Thrones)

Steven Rose

John Heffernan (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Ripper Street)


Neil Cross (Mama, Doctor Who)


Sam Miller (No Good Deed, MI-5)

 Executive Producer

Elizabeth Kilgarriff (Upstairs Downstairs)


Marcus Wilson (Doctor Who, Whitechapel)

Press Releases

  • BBC AMERICA Earns Four Primetime Emmy® Award Nominations For Orphan Black and Luther - July 14, 2016
  • A Fresh Start… Not A Chance. Idris Elba Returns To BBC AMERICA’s Luther For A One-Night Event Thursday, December 17 - November 5, 2015
  • Idris Elba Steps Onto Set For Luther Two-Part Special - March 3, 2015
  • BBC AMERICA’s Award-Winning Original Mini-Series Luther Returns in 2015 - November 19, 2014
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