Luther (TV series)

British psychological crime drama television series

Luther (2010–2019) is a British psychological crime thriller, airing on BBC One, featuring DCI John Luther, a brilliant detective whose passionate involvement in his work threatens to derail his personal life.

Series 1


Episode 1 [1.01]

DCSU Cornish: So, he's back.
DSU Teller: From outer space.
DCSU Cornish: You do know the man is nitroglycerin?
DSU Teller: With respect, sir, a comprehensive investigation under your edict cleared him of any wrongdoing.
DCSU Cornish: Not least because the only other witness is in a coma, measuring three on the Glasgow scale.
DSU Teller: And Mia Dalton's in school today, and not in the ground.
DCSU Cornish: Rose, if you bet too heavily on Luther, then you stand or fall with him and with you goes this unit, and my credibility as its architect. Haven't you worked too hard for too long to take that big a risk on such a wild card?
DSU Teller: I don't consider him a risk.
DCSU Cornish: Then what is he?
DSU Teller: An investment.
DCSU Cornish: And if Henry Madsen wakes up, gives his account of what happened that night? Will Luther drag us all down? Let's hope not.

DSU Teller: So where's the gun? It's got to be somewhere. Everything's somewhere.
DCI Luther: I don't know.
DSU Teller: Say that again. That was special.
DCI Luther: [chuckles] I don't know where the gun is.

Alice Morgan: Are you trying to beguile me?
DCI Luther: [chuckles] No, I wouldn't be so foolish. But I will tell you this, Alice. You can revel in your brilliance for as long as you like, but people slip up. Happens time and time again.
Alice Morgan: Well that's just faulty logic postulated on imperfect data collection. What if you only catch people who make mistakes? That would skew the figures, wouldn't it?
DCI Luther: Yes, it would. But criminals aren't as smart as they think they are.
Alice Morgan: Oh, that must get monotonous for someone as brilliant as you.

Alice Morgan: You'd degrade the law you serve just to protect some woman who cast you aside like offal?
DCI Luther: [puts his wedding ring back on] In a second.
Alice Morgan: And you think I'm the monster. Love is supposed to dignify us, exalt us. How can it be love, John, if all it does is make you lonely and corrupt? [Luther turns and walks away] Answer the question! Don't turn your back on me!

DCI Luther: I'm coming for you.
Alice Morgan: Not if I come for you first.

Episode 2 [1.02]

[Luther walks from the crime scene into a cluster of reporters to get to his car]
DCI Luther: Morning, Corinne.
Corinne Day: Any suspects, John? Off the record. [Luther keeps walking past her without comment] You got my number.
DCI Luther: Yeah, memorized: 666.
Corinne Day: Direct line.

DCI Luther: [answering his mobile] Stop stalking me, Alice, you're yesterday's news.
Alice Morgan: Yes, I heard about the dead policeman. I was worried about you, John.
DCI Luther: About what, that someone else might get me?
Alice Morgan: I know how hard men like you take the death of fellow officers. Must be like losing family.
DCI Luther: I'm not discussing cases with you.
Alice Morgan: Not even interesting ones?
DCI Luther: This isn't interesting, all right? These are good cops, doing good jobs, being gunned on the streets like—
Alice Morgan: Like what? That's something we all do, isn't it, in the end? Judge who's worth more than whom? Hitler or Gandhi? The very young, the very old?
DCI Luther: Though, to be fair, most of us don't do it to the extent that you do.
Alice Morgan: But it does mean the difference between us is one of degree, not category. Ask Henry Madsen.
DCI Luther: All right, you win, okay? You're too clever for me, Alice.
Alice Morgan: Flattery to appease a malignant narcissist. That's a frivolous tactic.

Alice Morgan: I've been wondering, why do you think he does it?
Zoe Luther: Why does who do what?
Alice Morgan: John, his job. It takes such a toll. Why does he put himself through it?
Zoe Luther: I don't see how this is relevant.
Alice Morgan: Well, it is. Right this second, you might actually be helping him. What do you think compels him to do it?
Zoe Luther: He believes one life is all we have, life and love. Whoever takes life steals everything.
Alice Morgan: And do you agree?
Zoe Luther: I don't know. I think if he'd read a different book by a different writer at just the right time in his life he'd have been a different man. He'd have been happier as a priest than—
Alice Morgan: Than what?
Zoe Luther: Than what he is.

Episode 3 [1.03]

Alice Morgan: I did this because I don't like you and because I wanted to toy with John. Ah, it's a bit like pulling legs off flies.
Mark North: Why are you here now?
Alice Morgan: Because I'm sorry.
Mark North: No, you're not.
Alice Morgan: No, no, I'm not. I was just trying to empathise. I'm here because this has gone just far enough, and what I need you to do now is pick up that phone and withdraw the complaint.
Mark North: And if I refuse? What if somebody actually stood up to you and refused?
Alice Morgan: Hmm, well, then, I'd have to leave… and then one night I'd have to come back.

Alice Morgan: How do I know you're not playing a double game? One stone, multiple birds, trying to make me speak carelessly in order to entrap me.
DCI Luther: That would be illegal. Plus I really need to catch this man.
Alice Morgan: More than you want to catch me?
DCI Luther: At the moment, yeah. I'm running out of time.
Alice Morgan: Because if I thought you were about to lose interest in me, I'd be inconsolable.
DCI Luther: I just need a way in, to know what it's like to be him, to not feel anything.
Alice Morgan: I feel things.
DCI Luther: Not mercy.
Alice Morgan: Not sentiment. I can't empathise for this man's state of being any more than you can, because, disregarding a single, ah, alleged act, carried out for different, alleged, reasons, he and I might just as well be from different species.
DCI Luther: [sigh] See, I disagree. Murder's murder.
Alice Morgan: But it isn't, is it? Not even to you. This man Burgess, he's just a naughty child showing off. You already know his flaw — his compulsion to dominate, to be in control — and you already know how to exploit that.
DCI Luther: How?
Alice Morgan: Oh, come on. Change the state of play.
DCI Luther: Yeah, well, I tried that with you and it failed.
Alice Morgan: Only just.

Lucien Burgess: It's a kink, a sex thing. Many many women fantasize about being tied up, strangled, raped, eaten.
DCI Luther: You think so?
Lucien Burgess: Oh, yeah. The more depraved the killer, the more women fawn on him. It's called 'hybristophilia'.
DCI Luther: 'Sexual arousal from thoughts of violence.'
Lucien Burgess: It's his willingness to murder that attracts her. His murder becomes hers.

DSU Teller: Three guesses why Zoe's gentleman caller was here.
DCI Luther: To confess he's a dick?

Richard Henley: [about Lucien Burgess] I wanted to kill him. I knew it would cost me, but I didn't care. To this day, uh, the biggest regret of my life is not killing the— Any idea what it's like to feel like that?
DCI Luther: Yes, I do. I know exactly what that feels like.

Episode 4 [1.04]

DCI Luther: Graham knows we're onto him, all right? And he'll try and kill as many as he can before we catch him, and if I have to terrify his wife to stop that happening, I can live with that.
DSU Teller: Oh, thus spake John Luther, gentleman of the parish.
DCI Luther: She knows what her husband is.
DSU Teller: Yeah, but maybe not what he's done. There is a difference.

DSU Teller: Do you want to know the real tragedy about marriage?
DCI Luther: No, thanks.
DSU Teller: Women always think men will change, but they don't. Men think women won't change, but they do.
DCI Luther: Where'd you get that from, a fortune cookie?

[Luther is sitting in a chair surrounded by photos and maps in a circle on the floor]
DS Ripley: What's all this?
DCI Luther: Découpage, a cut-up technique. Take a bit of text, cut it up, randomise it, make new text, see new patterns.
DS Ripley: Where'd you learn this?
DCI Luther: David Bowie — it's how he wrote his lyrics.
DS Ripley: Are you a fan?
DCI Luther: Don't I look like a fan?
DS Ripley: What, of songs about, like, aliens and that?
DCI Luther: Well, there's a bit more to him than aliens. I'll make you a tape.
DS Ripley: A-a what, sorry?

DCI Luther: Do you have any sexual fantasies?
DS Ripley: What? Yeah, not that I'm gonna tell you about.
DCI Luther: Does the reality ever live up to the fantasy?
DS Ripley: Well, I, um— well, no, no, not really.
DCI Luther: Yeah, it can't, can it?

Episode 5 [1.05]

Alice Morgan: No games, listen. I did what I did to Henry Madsen because I wanted to help you. I put my liberty at risk because I couldn’t bear to see you hurt. So, what I did I did for wholly unselfish reasons.
DCI Luther: I don’t…
Alice Morgan: Yes, you do. "The mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven." The universe isn’t evil, John, it’s just indifferent. That hasn’t changed. It can’t. But what I did for you, proved something to me. Something I hadn’t believed until that moment.
DCI Luther: What?
Alice Morgan: It’s you who’s right. There is love in the world.

DSU Teller: 'The evidence won't leave our sight for a second'?
DCI Luther: We'll get it back.
DSU Teller: We'd better, 'cause, right this second, I'm pedaling thin air like Wile E. Coyote

DSU Teller: [about Evangeline Nixon] Anything?
DS Ripley: Not a word, no prints on record, no nothing.
DCI Luther: You know, she may not have been our problem up until now, but she's been someone's. You don't start off at kidnapping, you work your way up to it. Why don't you send her details to Detective Munch in New York. He's Special Victims Unit there.

Episode 6 [1.06]

Alice Morgan: In 1988, two psychologists published an article arguing that positive self-deception is a normal and advantageous part of most people’s lives. It turns out, people lie to themselves about three things: they view themselves in implausibly positive ways, they think they have far more control over their lives than they actually do, and they believe the future will be better than the evidence of the present can possibly justify. But, you’re way beyond that now. You’re on the other side of that particular mirror. Lying to yourself isn’t going to help anymore.

Series 2


Series 2, Episode 1 [2.01]

Alice Morgan: Now what?

Cameron Pell: [speaking on the phone to John Luther] I'm going to remind people what it's like to be really scared. Have you ever heard of Spring-heeled Jack?

Series 2, Episode 2 [2.02]

DSU Martin Schenk: [speaking across the table from Ronald Bryson] I know men like you the way you know men like me, and I know you wouldn't have done this if you believed there was the least chance of it coming back on you. Well, guess what. It's come back on you like the Hand of God, and the next words from your mouth will determine the weight and velocity of the staggering tonnage of shit that's about to plummet onto your head.

Cameron Pell: [yelling to John holding a knife] You know what I can do! You know what I can do, you know who I am!
DS Justin Ripley: Cameron. No one's listening.
[punches Cameron in the face]

Series 2, Episode 3 [2.03]

Jenny Jones: A job. Like flipping burgers?
DCI John Luther: Well, them burgers are not going to flip themselves, are they?
Jenny Jones: It's, like, 2p an hour. Who am I, SpongeBob?
DCI John Luther: I don't know what that is.
Jenny Jones: He's a sponge. He flips burgers.

Benny Silver: [discussing a killer's possible MO] Bedlam Axis has been around since 1960s. It's used a lot like an RPG - role-playing games. So, the arrow going upwards indicates predictability, law and order. The arrow going across indicates unpredictability, chaos.

Series 2, Episode 4 [2.04]

Jenny Jones: You didn't really do that, did you?
DCI John Luther: Do what?
Jenny Jones: Like, call up some totally psycho killer girl?
DCI John Luther: Her name's Alice.
Jenny Jones: Whatever.
DCI John Luther: I dunno, what do you think?
Jenny Jones: Mmmmm... dunno. I do know you were totally epic though.
DCI John Luther: Totally.

Benny Silver: It's a scoring system. You score a certain amount of points for who you kill, and then get bonuses for where you kill 'em and how you kill 'em. So it's sort of a tally of Experience Points.

DCI John Luther: Do you want to play a game?
Nicholas Millberry: I already am.
DCI John Luther: Oh, I know. In order to get to the next level, you need a lot more points. And correct me if I'm wrong, but you need a... a boss. You need to kill a boss. Well, I'm the man at the end of that level, aren't I? I'm the man that's chasing you. I'm that boss. If you beat me, you get to play on. You're gonna like this. Check it out. [tosses a lighter to Nicholas and douses himself with gasoline] Now you roll the dice. I guess a number. I beat you, you disarm that switch. If I lose...
Nicholas Millberry: You're not serious.
DCI John Luther: [laughs] Look at me. Do I look like I'm joking?

DS Justin Ripley: The media don't care if it's lies, as long as there's a good story.

Series 3


Series 3, Episode 1 [3.01]

DCI John Luther: [observing a dead body] Look, it's a very specific look - the wig, the makeup. There's a bit of a Siouxsie and the Banshees thing going on here.
DS Justin Ripley: Who and the what?
DCI John Luther: '80s. Post-punk.
DS Justin Ripley: Oh, uh, goths.
DCI John Luther: Post-punk.

DSU George Stark: There was a park ranger. In America, that is. He was struck seven times by lightning. Seven times. Actually made the Guinness Book of Records for being the unluckiest guy in the world. Or maybe the luckiest guy in the world, depends on how you look at it.

DSU George Stark: DCI Luther will be taking on a case of a waste of semen called Jared Cass.
DS Justin Ripley: It was you. You had him assigned to the Jared Cass murder.
DSU George Stark: I want to know exactly how he handles that investigation. And I mean every move by move, breath by breath. If he breaks the law, I want his head on a stick.

Series 3, Episode 2 [3.02]

DSU George Stark: [opening a book in Luther's flat] He underlines.
DCI Erin Gray: So?
DSU George Stark: We tend to underline observations that confirm our view of the world. Give me a day with those books, and I'll serve him to you on a plate.

DCI John Luther: [after barging in on Stark's operation, observing photos on the wall] Do you remember that show This Is Your Life? It's like the big red book. Except for all these people are dead. Well, most of them.
DSU George Stark: Don't make it any worse for yourself.
DCI John Luther: And who are you, exactly?
DSU George Stark: Me? DSU George Stark.
DCI John Luther: [scoffs] I'll tell you what, George. You're a big man, and I'm tired. But if we are gonna take lumps out of each other, it won't be the first one I've had tonight. And someone's gonna have to find out. Your boss, my boss. And they'll ask why, how I just walked in on your... operation. And how I walked out of here with all the evidence you've got against me. What's that gonna do to your reputation, eh? Now, you can continue if you want. Chase me down. [gets up and looms over Stark] But if you take me down, I'll take you down even faster and even harder.

[Paul enters Ayesha's room and sees Luther beside her]
DCI John Luther: Hope you don't mind, Paul, but I gave Ayesha a call. Asked if I could sneak up here with her. Hmm? Well, go on, say something.
Paul Ellis: Ahh! [lunges at Luther with a knife]

Series 3, Episode 3 [3.03]

DCI John Luther: George, if you sow these seeds...
DSU George Stark: And what? I reap the whirlwind? Is that right? You know your problem? You've spent your life thinking you're the whirlwind. Well, you're not because I'm the whirlwind, John. I'm the whirlwind.
DCI John Luther: We'll see.

Tom Marwood: [aiming his shotgun at Ripley] Let me go.
DS Justin Ripley: Say I did that. Yeah, and all this carries on. Someone innocent gets hurt. How am I supposed to live with that?
Tom Marwood: It won't happen.
DS Justin Ripley: It'll happen.

DCI John Luther: So, what's up with the website?
DS Justin Ripley: Goes live in two hours.
DCI John Luther: Well, can't we just pull it down or trace it to the source or whatever you do with websites?
DSU Martin Schenk: Apparently now it's been posted from Uzbekistan, or Kasakhstan... one of the 'Stans.

Tom Marwood: The criminal justice system was created to protect us from people who would do us harm. But time and again, it fails in that purpose. For all the Caitlins, and for all their families, it's time for that failure to end.

Series 3, Episode 4 [3.04]

Alice Morgan: Some little girls grow up wanting ponies; I always wanted to be a widow.

Alice Morgan: You assert a fabulous moral conscience, John. This adherence to unwritten law, yet, time and again, it devastates the people you claim to hold dear but you don't stop. Seems to me your conscience has killed more people than I have.

Alice Morgan: So, I've got bullets but no gun. That's quite Zen.

Alice Morgan: If you're going to go on the run, you're going to have to, er, lose the coat.
DCI John Luther: It's my lucky coat.
Alice Morgan: Lucky? Right. Well, I'd take it back to the shop if I were you. Get your money back. It's obviously defective.

Tom Marwood: [aiming his shotgun at Luther, realizes Alice is filming] Give me that camera, or I will shoot him!
Alice Morgan: No, you won't, Thomas. Not on camera. Because people do hate a cop killer, and you so very much want to be admired. Which is a defect, really, in a multiple murderer...

Series 4


Series 4, Episode 1 [4.01]

DCI John Luther: Come with me, please.
George Cornelius: Sorry, mate, who are you again?
DCI John Luther: Police.
George Cornelius: Which police?
DCI John Luther: The police.
George Cornelius: I don't care if you're fucking Sting.

DCI John Luther: You ever have that dream where you're falling?
DS Justin Ripley: Yeah.
DCI John Luther: Do you ever wake up in it?

Mrs. Morley: [on phone] Hello?
Steven Rose: Hello. Is this Alastair's mum?
Mrs. Morley: Who is this?
Steven Rose: I was with him... when he died.
Mrs. Morley: Who are you?
Steven Rose: He was asking for you at the end. When he couldn't fight anymore. "Mum... Mum..." He was so scared of dying.

DCI Theo Bloom: Got to go. Vivid misdeeds in Hackney Wick.

DCI John Luther: Can I help?
Megan Cantor: Are you DCI Luther?
DCI John Luther: Yeah.
Megan Cantor: I have a message for you.
DCI John Luther: Message from who?
Megan Cantor: Alice Morgan.

Series 4, Episode 2 [4.02]

DCI John Luther: Well, there's this thing. Cotard's syndrome, okay? It's a delusional mental illness and the patient thinks that he's dead and decomposing.
DSU Martin Schenk: And the cannibalism? That's a symptom?
DCI John Luther: No, not usually. I mean, I'm making a... a leap. Well, it's a small leap... it's more of a hop, really.

DCI John Luther: I think he's this clever, little lonely man, slowly falling apart, spending his days watching the lives of others. And you know what that's like... other people's lives seem so much better than ours. More interesting, more attractive, more alive. The way he sees it, they got something that he needs, so he's just going to take it from them. No, he's never going to stop, he's just going to keep doing it and doing it, because he'll never get back whatever he's lost. None of us ever do.

DCI John Luther: They'll do her for intent to supply and then they'll upgrade to murder when they connect the toy to Jonathan.
Megan Cantor: Do you feel better putting it right?
DCI John Luther: Did you hurt her?
Megan Cantor: Who?
DCI John Luther: Alice. Did you?
Megan Cantor: Why would I?
DCI John Luther: Because you wanted me to keep my promise. You had to stop me from leaving.
Megan Cantor: Hmm. It could be that. Or perhaps it could be that Alice Morgan... was your blind spot. You didn't love her, not really. She frightened you and she excited you... and you mistook that for love. But you would have killed her, eventually. If she didn't kill you first. Perhaps that's why I did it. [laughs] But I didn't.
DCI John Luther: Megan... are you scared of me?
Megan Cantor: Clearly not.
DCI John Luther: Well, you should be. Because I'm coming for you.

Series 5


Series 5, Episode 1 [5.01]

DCI John Luther: Can you breathe?
Emil: Yeah.
DCI John Luther: Shame, that.

Series 5, Episode 2 [5.02]

DSU Martin Schenk: [into phone, from police headquarters] Benny, I need you here.
Benny Silver: [playing video game with Errol at home] I'm sorry Boss, I think I've caught that norovirus. I've basically been up all night turning myself inside out.
DSU Martin Schenk: I don't care if you've shit out your own liver on Oxford Street - I need you here now.

Series 5, Episode 3 [5.03]

Alice Morgan: I'm not apologizing for what's happened, I'm regretting what's to come.

Series 5, Episode 4 [5.04]

DS Catherine Halliday: What did you do?
DCI John Luther: Nothing I can't fix. I just need time.

DS Catherine Halliday: Can I stop you from leaving?
DCI John Luther: No.
DS Catherine Halliday: Then I won't try.



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