Episode 1 of Luther was on BBC1 last night and seeing as Ruth Wilson was in it I made a special effort to watch it. Actually it did require a bit of extra effort as BBC1 Northern Ireland broadcast the episode almost two hours later than the rest of the country. This was because we in NI had the dubious pleasure of watching the Northern Ireland Leaders Debate.
Please note I use the words "pleasure", "leaders" and "debate" in the loosest possible sense of the words. But I digress...
On his first day back on the job Luther is given the task of investigating the murder of a husband and wife. The only witness is their daughter Alice Morgan played by Ruth Wilson.
Luther early on realises Alice must have committed the murders but he cannot prove anything. However he is sure that the chink in her armour is her intelligence and she will be too arrogant to stop letting something slip eventually. After she is released he confronts her in an attempt to try and provoke her. This in turn reveals his own arrogance at thinking he can outsmart her.
Ruth's character Alice promises to be an unwelcome presence in Luther's life in future episodes. Ruth as always is a revelation. Alice looks likes she is having too much fun and Ruth gives her a presence that puts me in mind of a cat lapping up a particularly delicious bowl of milk, especially when sparing with Luther.
To be honest not a lot happens in the first episode but I think it's very much a setting-the-scene type of episode and the series probably should be assessed as a whole. For example I wonder what Alice has in mind for the serial killer in the coma...
Writer Neil Cross wrote the following on the BBC website:
I love John Luther, naturally. But I also love unreservedly the character of Alice Morgan. In fact, on that first night out with the cast I seem to recall telling Ruth Wilson (who plays her) that in many ways I considered Alice to be the perfect woman. She looked at me, it has to be said, with a degree of horror.
Alice was a formidable role - chilly and flirtatious, murderous and vulnerable, high-minded and caustic, sometimes in the same sentence. But Ruth makes her absolutely real, and utterly riveting. There's a moment in episode four where she truly frightens me.
I was on set when Idris and Ruth filmed their first scene together. It was a spine-tingling event - but I don't think it's good for me to hang round on set, because that's just not where a writer belongs. So I made myself scarce and let them get on with their jobs.
News on the first ratings can be seen here:
PS There was also a good scene where he kicks the crap out of an innocent door.