The opening episode of the third series of Luther brings two cases to the attention of DCI John Luther (Idris Elba). The first is a fetishized murder the detective is sure is linked to a series of murders from the 1980s. The second, and less important to the detective, is the murder of an Internet troll which is actually a set-up by Gray (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and a retired officer George Stark (David O’Hara) in an attempt to capture evidence to take the dirty cop down. Against his will Ripley (Warren Brown) is forced to help by wearing a wire, hoping his mentor will prove them wrong and not let a murderer (Lucian Msamati) with righteous fury for the killing go free.
The dual cases work well, especially with the intrusion of the second murder infringes on Luther’s investigation into the fetish murders causing two more murders to occur before he can stop them. Although Luther doesn’t do anything illegal, the way in which he approaches the second murder (including calling the suspect in for fingerprint testing the next morning) does exactly what Gray and Stark expected – allows Luther to let a man go free despite being guilty of the murder of the troll who tortured the elderly couple with disgraceful uses of their dead daughter.
Episode One also introduces Sienna Guillory as Luther’s love interest for the season in a mute-cute that so sickeningly sweet that I wonder if it also doesn’t have some connection to the investigation into Luther. As the episode ends Ripley appears to have been swayed by Stark and Gray, and Luther is still stuck with a new serial killer who is still at large (thanks in large part to Ripley’s outburst in the station that prevents Luther from warning a potential victim before it was too late).