Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Aug 28, 2013
    It gets darker, scarier and more captivating with each episode as Luther matches wits with killers and cops alike.
  2. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Aug 20, 2013
    Elba has been fantastic at every step, taking Cross' wonderful writing it and giving it even more dimensions. Pretty much every character that walks into this miniseries has given a virtuoso performance.... Season three never disappoints even when you kind of recoil, as a viewer, at the evil that has landed in Luther’s already complicated life.
  3. 90
    Brilliantly written, with stunning performances, this will be Luther's final year on TV.
  4. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Aug 29, 2013
    Luther embodies almost everything that's refreshing about the traditional British crime drama.
  5. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Sep 3, 2013
    All charisma and command, [Idris Elb] blasts through the screen in every shot while his performance is a constant reminder that the craft, at its best, is a gossamer of countless little details that add up to something magical.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Sep 3, 2013
    While each night delivers some terrifically tense scenes, series creator Neil Cross’ scripts for nights three and four suffer from some flimsy foreshadowing and serve up slight characterizations of Luther’s antagonists.
  7. 80
    Thanks partly to the writing, but mostly to Elba's performance, Luther rarely comes off as one of those swaggering CBS crime-show smarty-pantses, dumping wisdom on subordinates--and that's good, because even at its sharpest, Luther feels a bit too CBS for my taste.
  8. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Sep 3, 2013
    Luther is a great example of all of the annoying a TV show can do and still be worth watching, so long as it gets some essential things right. Luther’s saving graces are that intense, gloomy mood and Elba’s performance.
  9. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Sep 3, 2013
    The presentation may be Hitchcockian at times, but there is nothing fun or arch or cartoonish or even particularly original in the violence that permeates Luther. It is, quite simply, terrifying, and we are meant to take it as seriously as Luther himself does.
  10. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Sep 3, 2013
    The suspense is considerable, with Luther once again desperately trying in vain to keep those he loves (including new girlfriend Sienna Guillory) out of the grisly crossfire, but the violent twists can verge on the eye-rollingly preposterous by the story's over-the-top climax, which (in happier news) reintroduces one of his most memorably seductive adversaries.
  11. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Sep 3, 2013
    The journey has been fascinating, and unlike in some other cop shows, the police part isn’t toss-away boilerplate. While the cases aren’t as complex as the characters, they’ve got layers.
  12. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Aug 26, 2013
    Although the series hardly breaks any new ground, Elba’s commanding presence--and Luther’s willingness to walk a tightrope in terms of police protocol--manage to elevate the material above standard procedural fare, as do the clever callbacks to earlier episodes and characters.
  13. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Sep 3, 2013
    As was the case with the second season, Season 3 of Luther is only four hours long, and the drama would probably be more satisfying if it didn't try to cover so many bases in that limited running time.
  14. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Sep 3, 2013
    There seems to have been a conscious decision to add a dose of not just violence but horrific suspense and shocking violence. The first hour in particular feels like a disappointing departure. The character remains the same, even if he encounters accentuated gore and mental illness in the criminals. He even grows a bit.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Sep 3, 2013
    The first two episodes are relatively restrained by Luther standards, with an emphasis on plodding police work, while the case against Luther percolates in the background. Neil Cross still delivers the dread, though, as killers pop out of attics, closets and even closer places. The action picks up in the season’s second half.
  16. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Sep 3, 2013
    This season is very good, but it’s only four episodes, and they’ve been tragically whittled down by BBC America to make room for commercials. The result is choppy, with a few critical connections missing in the investigation of Luther and in the progress of Luther’s relationship with Mary.
  17. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Sep 3, 2013
    Four hours is brief enough that the joy of seeing Elba back on TV outweighs the silliness of Luther as a whole.
  18. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Sep 3, 2013
    Unfortunately, you can feel it in the plotting, which is perfunctory at best, and woefully, repetitively tired at worst.
  19. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Sep 3, 2013
    Mr. Elba remains a magnetic presence, but as with all damaged heroes, Luther presents a problem for drama writers: Heal him and he's less interesting; perpetuate his damage and the show gets repetitive. Luther seems stuck in the latter cycle.
  20. Reviewed by: Lesley Smith
    Sep 4, 2013
    When so much of the series depends on psychological nuance, the lurch into Hollywood action thriller confrontations is an outright admission of defeat. Sensationalism trumps subtlety once more. Both Luther and Idris Elba deserve so much more.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 63 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Sep 3, 2013
    Jaw dropping. The best series of the best show ever made. My only problem is that there isn't going to be another series. With a bit of luck, they'll listen to the fans and carry on making this excellent show. Full Review »
  2. Jul 24, 2013
    Just finished the series and all I'm left with is pure joy. The finale from this season was one of the most uplifting and clever episodes i saw in the history of TV. I'm not spoiling here but there will be the one and other surprise for the audience. The progression of this series is a huge one and fans from the first two series will not be disappointed! Go see this! Full Review »
  3. Aug 10, 2013
    Not as strong as the first two seasons, with the first two episodes deviating from what made the first two seasons of Luther great by having a heavy focus on horror, which I found ineffective and at times, cheesy. However, the final two episodes, although still feeling different from the first two seasons, are still great in their own right and save this season. Full Review »