Luthor creator reveals what shows influenced his hit BBC series


BBC’s Luther is back on television screens and creator Neil Cross reveals his personal inspirations for the hit series.

Idris Elba’s brooding and audacious detective John Luther is back for a fifth season, and once again he’s tracking down a demented killer and battling personal demons.

We wouldn’t have it any other way and creator Neil Cross has no intention of changing a thing.

"“We are not going to change the format – ‘Luther’ is always going to be ‘Luther,’ but the intent of the show and the thing that we take most joy in and the thing we plan to the minutest detail and overthink is how always to surprise the audience – to scare and surprise them while remaining entirely true to the show.”"

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And while Cross denies ever directly stealing from another show, there are a few inspirations that go into making Luther the fan favorite that it is.

Columbo is perhaps the most obvious to see, what with the “howcatch’em” format of the show and Luther’s famous coat echoing Peter Falk’s frumpy trench coat.

In Luther, Cross mentions that we see the crime being committed at the beginning and the story is about how Luther is going to catch them — and it is not who the criminal is, or even what their motivations are.

And despite the relative lack of emphasis on the criminal’s “who or why,” Cross is able to create some truly frightening and demented killers – partly because he is inspired by the fear of what people could do to him when he’s alone in his own house.

“The genesis of the bad guys is located in my own anxiety,” says Cross. And considering how universally scary the killers are, he’s not alone in his anxiety.

The Shield is another inspiration that Cross mentions, specifically how Vic Mackey is always caught between two necessary or important things he must do.

Luther is always having to choose between doing one thing and another, forced to make priorities, and he famously often suffers for it. The suffering of the main character is a compelling element that also keeps audiences coming back, to see how he gets through the terrible things he’s lost and experienced.

The secret of Luther remains watching the character, as played by Idris, suffer and survive and move on.

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Cross gives a lot of credit for the success of the series to the combination of Idris Elba in the role of John Luther. That’s the real secret to Luther’s success, he says. “Idris in this role is a singular, unrepeatable phenomenon.”

Season five of Luther is available this week in the UK and will be released in the US later this year.

Source: Variety