Idris Elba returns to BBC One for third series of the acclaimed detective drama

Interview with Warren Brown

Category: BBC One; Drama

What is different about this new series of Luther?

It’s interesting for my character because in the first part of the third series he is initially investigating the murder of a guy who is out there killing women in a strange manner, but quite quickly Ripley is sent to investigate another case. From the beginning of series three he’s introduced to an old officer George Stark and it’s very clear that he’s got it in for Luther. He’s come out of retirement to take down Luther with the assistance of Erin Gray.

How does this effect Ripley’s relationship with Luther?

Ripley’s loyalties are tested and in this series the relationship is under the most strain due to Stark and Gray’s meddling. They push Ripley and drag him into spying on their behalf. He’s in a tricky position between his loyalty to Luther but also to the force - and he is perhaps forced to do some things he’s not very comfortable with.

What does Ripley think about Gray and Stark?

There’s always been a friction between Ripley and Gray, friction or frustration I’m not sure, but it’s explored further in this series. She is possibly working on a different agenda, but I think she also understands she’s got to do her job and deep down she’s a good person.

What does Ripley know of Luther’s personal relationships?

In one episode Luther invites Ripley back to his flat and he introduces him to Mary and says in front of her “This is Justin he’s my mate and I love him.” That’s a defining point in their friendship.

What do you like about Ripley?

Ripley is a likeable character. He’s got a strong moral compass and he’s great in bed! I think he should have more expensive taste although he looks alright in a suit!

How has the programme developed since series one?

I think audiences have come to know these characters a lot more, they know what they’re going to get. It’s dark and fantastically written and this third instalment is following on from what we’ve seen before but the stakes are higher for everyone this time.

What have you liked most about shooting Luther this series?

Luther to me is one of the jobs I feel very fortunate to be a part of, it’s the kind of drama I would watch. It’s fantastically written, the characters are really well defined and it’s utterly gripping. Having come back after two years since the second series it’s great to get the team back together and get back into the character.

What is it like to work with Idris Elba?

Working with Idris has been fantastic. I look back at the first series and the meeting of Ripley and Luther and the first instance was this character who really looked up to someone senior to him and wanted to work with him. This was fantastic for me as an actor as I was a really big fan of Idris, I really respected him and was keen to work with him. He’s a fantastic actor and we kind of clicked. It’s been great working together and we’ve become really good pals. There is some quite physical stuff in this series and when you have a good relationship with someone you can trust you can really delve into your work. We have a great laugh in and out of work.

What has the international success of Luther meant to you?

The show has been a great success here and around the world. I went to the Emmys after the second series and after Idris was nominated for an Emmy, they love the show there. It’s been sold all around the world and the response has been phenomenal, maybe even more so in other countries than in this country. The show has raised my profile certainly; you aim to build on your body of work and keep trying to up your game and keep pushing further and further. We’ve had a year off between the series and that break was good for my career as I played the lead in the BBC series Good Cop.

What will interest a new audience in the third series of Luther?

If I was talking to someone who had never seen Luther before firstly I would say where have you been! But seriously I would say try it, the storylines are brilliant, it’s really well directed and there are some pretty good looking sidekicks!