Luther – Season 1 + 2: The 5 Most Memorable Scenes

It won’t be long before DCI John Luther returns to our screens for the third series of the engrossing and award-winning detective drama.


The emotionally fragile, Columbo-like mind of Luther has already come up against his fair share of deranged and disturbed foe in series 1 and 2, and Idris Elba has given us some truly memorable scenes with the character he is still most recognised for.

With the news that shooting has recently wrapped for the third season, let’s celebrate in anticipation by taking a look back at five of the most memorable scenes from the series’ so far.

Face licking

Paul Rhys as Lucien BurgessPossibly the most disturbing scene from the London-based detective drama came at the very start of episode 3 of the first season.

Lucien Burgess (Paul Rhys) is a satanic occult killer who strikes every ten years. But we don’t know this when he turns up at a woman’s door posing as a police officer. Once inside the house, Burgess’ nice persona suddenly takes a sinister turn, culminating in a nice, long lick on the woman’s cheek as she urinates on herself from the sheer terror Burgess has shocked her with.

This is a terrifying introduction to a meticulous and calculated killer. Luther and co. are especially confused as when they turn up at the house the woman has disappeared but her young baby was left alone.

Angry Luther

Elba’s detective has numerous defining character traits, but none more memorable than his short fuse and unique tone.

Throughout the first couple of episodes, Luther is returning from duty after a mental breakdown. OnJohn Lutherce back, Luther tries to balance catching London’s most wanted with trying to win back his wife, Zoe (Indira Varma).

He feels as though they are making progress but does not realise Zoe is moving on. Luther turns up at the house they called home, and to his surprise, his advances are pushed away.

Not quite understanding what is wrong, Luther is forced to realise when Zoe tells him she has started seeing someone else. Always his own worst enemy, Luther then asks the fateful question ‘are you sleeping with him?’

Cue Luther rubbing his head, swinging his body round like an uncontrollable wrecking ball, and making big holes in wooden doors. Eventually, Luther leaves, distraught.

His outbursts are commonplace throughout the series’ but this one encompasses all that John Luther is: a very emotional, angry soul with a strong heart which often gets the better of him.

A Blow to the Head

Series 1 episode 4 is possibly my favourite from the two series, although it is probably the darkest and most disturbing.

When a regular Joe starts killing women and taking trophies from their belongings, Luther and Co. struggle to find the man as his attacks seem rather random.

In this episode, we’re forced deep into the seedy story with killer, Graham Shand (Rob Jarvis). Not just while he is committinRob Jarvis as Graham Shandg murder, but also while he is at home and in bars with his (adulterous) wife Linda Shand (Linda Walker) and Dennis (Johann Meyer) – the man she is seeking comfort with.

The murders become more frequent, and as Graham learns of his wife’s affair, he spirals out of control and heads to her lover’s house.

When he arrives he doesn’t hesitate in lunging at Dennis with a hammer. You are led to think that Luther and co., although too late, will turn up now and arrest Graham.

No such luck. Not for anyone but Graham anyway. What he didn’t count on was an escort, who Dennis had ordered, knocking on the door soon after.

He entices her in, but a call to her mobile from the police warns her of the danger. She has a chance to escape but Graham is onto her. She locks herself in the bathroom where she discovers Dennis wrapped in a bloody shower curtain, but Graham is keen to bash the door down Jack Nicholson-style.

The cops turn up with a co-operating Linda, and she gets him to come down. Graham doesn’t offer too much resistance and is arrested.

It seems the edge-of-your-seat nightmare is over, but not until a devastated Linda runs up behind Graham and his Police escorts, and bashes him over the head with a hammer. Blood gushes, Linda wails, we watch in slow-motion as she kills her husband – a truly engaging, yet horrific scene.

Rolling the Dice

Steven Robertson as Robert MillberryThe double episode which closes the second series features two of the most violent, psychopathic killers in the whole two seasons. These killers – two twin brothers called Robert and Nicholas Millberry (Steven Robertson), like to kill people as if they were playing video games. And they’re quite competitive.

We are first introduced to Robert Millberry when he turns up at a gas station. He brings with him weapons including a baseball bat and an acid-filled water pistol, as well as one of the most emotionless, cold stares ever seen.

When he first arrives, the other customers who are in the shop don’t know what to make of him, especially when he kneels away from them on the garage forecourt floor, and unbeknownst to them, rolls dice.

Unfortunately for them, the numbers rolled are in his favour. So as he is confronted after bashing up on of the cars, his acid gun and baseball bat are used to full effect.

The creepiest elements of this introduction are the characters silence, his movements and his staring eyes. Robertson is small, but his unflinching character is as frightening as any sized antagonist.

The Office Massacre

Steven Robertson as Robert Millberry(2)Twin no. 1 makes it into the list a second time, on this occasion for his massacre in an office complex.

His no nonsense plan is to masquerade as a delivery guy, enter the office, and do as much damage and inflict as much pain as he can on the unsuspecting workers, using a hammer and pistol full of acid again. The plan works.

In a sequence which is part point-of-view, we witness Robert calmly walk through the office, squirting his pistol and lunging with his hammer. This is a chaotic and blood-soaked scene which doesn’t hold back on the graphic violence.

We are led to believe it is all over when Luther and co. turn up at the scene. That is until our favourite detective works out that Robert Mulberry is still in the building.

The sick killer decided to stick around dressed as a worker in order to witness the aftermath of his attacks in full Technicolor. Luther soon spots him hiding behind a blood soaked cloth he’s holding to his face, and twin no. 1’s killing spree comes to an end.

The third series of Luther will consist of four 60-minute long episodes and will air on BBC One later this year.


About thenumbereightytwo

I am an avid film enthusiast with a passion for creative writing. My favourite things in life are writing about; film, popular culture and current affairs; watching films and looking at penguins. One day I hope to be getting paid more than I deserve for doing all of these professionally (not the penguin part - that will still be a hobby). View all posts by thenumbereightytwo

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