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Luther season 6: Everything you need to know

Digital Spy (UK) logo Digital Spy (UK) 24/03/2020 Morgan Jeffery, Sam Ashurst

The fifth series of Luther closed with a game-changing climax – with Alice (Ruth Wilson) apparently dead, DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) was led away in handcuffs, arrested by his heartbroken boss Schenk (Dermot Crowley).

Is there going to be another series? If so, when? And is John really going to be spending some time at Her Majesty's pleasure? Here's all the info our detective work has been able to dig up.

Luther season 6 release date: When can we watch it?

a man wearing a suit and tie: DSU Martin Schenk (DERMOT CROWLEY), DCI John Luther (IDRIS ELBA) © BBC/Des Willie DSU Martin Schenk (DERMOT CROWLEY), DCI John Luther (IDRIS ELBA)

Though its last episode was a ratings hit, the BBC hasn't actually officially greenlit a sixth series of Luther.

The finale drew a fairly massive 4.6 million viewers – peaking at 4.7 million – for the BBC, winning its Friday night slot in the process with a 21.7 per cent audience share. That's obviously huge, but the success wasn't limited to the finale.

Idris Elba show's season opener was a big ratings smash on New Year's Day, even beating Doctor Who despite the latter moving its traditional Christmas Day episode to January 1.

Yeah, that basically means that the BBC would have to be bonkers to cut Luther off in his prime, especially as season six ended on such a massive cliffhanger. That's a lot of people the BBC would have to apologise to if they don’t get any sense of resolution.

Elba has insisted that the fifth season was "not the end", though it's not entirely clear what that means. "The next step is to make a film," he said in late 2018. "This season has the film very much in its sights. If there is a film, then it will be somehow connected to [the fifth] season."

But Elba and series creator Neil Cross have been talking about the possibility of a Luther film since 2011. After the third series, Cross even insisted that the show was "finished" and that a movie spin-off was the next logical step, only for DCI John to return to the small-screen a short while later.

Idris Elba wearing a suit and tie © David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images Idris Elba

It's possible that the same thing might happen again. In fact, Elba said relatively recently that the "ambition" for Luther's future "falls on the scale of seven [series]." So we don't know what to believe.

Of course, Elba could be talking about the movie Seven, saying that he wants Luther’s first big screen outing to be on the scale of the David Fincher movie that starred Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt (the show certainly seems influenced by that cinematic masterpiece) but let’s see.

If Seven really is an influence on their plans, we can’t think of many better - or appropriate - movies for them to emulate. "We’ve got a skeleton of an idea for a film," the actor said (via Radio Times). "I’m not allowed to say too much."

Whichever medium it lands in, more Luther will likely be some way off. The gaps between series have widened with each outing and and we had to wait a little over three years between the fourth and fifth series.

And all bets are off in terms of the series actually going into production. The BBC has halted all drama productions in the wake of the coronavirus - and this is especially relevant with Luther - with the series lead testing positive for the virus.

"This morning I tested positive for Covid-19," Elba said via a video announcement. "I feel okay, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus."

"Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing. No panic."

"I got some test results back and it came back positive, and it sucks. I didn’t have any symptoms I got tested because I realised I was exposed to someone who had also tested positive. I found out last Friday that they were tested positive. I quarantined myself and got a test immediately and got the results back today."

Millions have viewed Elba’s video, which is positive, as the actor used his platform for good - giving people solid advice about how to behave during the crisis.

"Beyond that there are people out there who aren’t showing symptoms and that can easily spread it. So now is a real time to be really vigilant about washing your hands and keeping your distance, okay."

So it's entirely feasible that a sixth series, if it does materialise, might not be with us till 2022 or 2023.

Luther season 6 cast: Who's going to be in it?

Ruth Wilson using a phone: Luther series 5, episode 2 © BBC / Des Willie Luther series 5, episode 2

Luther wouldn't be Luther without, well, Luther, so of course Idris Elba will return. There's good odds on Dermot Crowley reprising his role of DSU Martin Schenk, too.

Besides that? Bar *another* miraculous resurrection, it appears we've seen the last of Ruth Wilson as unhinged Alice, while John's long-time ally Benny (Michael Smiley) and new sidekick DS Halliday (Wunmi Mosaku) also bit the bullet in series five.

Wunmi Mosaku et al. standing in front of a store: Luther series 5, episode 1 © BBC/Des Willie Luther series 5, episode 1

Gang boss George Cornelius ended the series alive but in police custody, so it's possible that Patrick Malahide could be back. (Maybe he and Luther will be sent to the same prison? Improbable, but when has this show not been?)

Having resurfaced following an eight-year(!) absence, Paul McGann's Mark North could also potentially appear in any future outings. (Though, really, we feel like poor Mark just deserves a quiet life away from John's antics.)

There are also a whole roster of other characters who haven't appeared on the series in a while, but who, like Mark, could potentially return after a long absence.

Related: Here's the one thing Luther got wrong in series five

Luther season 6 plot: What's it going to be about?

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Luther season 5 ending © BBC Luther season 5 ending

Given how the last series ended, you might expect any future iteration of Luther to at least begin with John behind bars.

That said, a series / film in which he goes on the run while fighting to clear his name, Fugitive-style, would definitely bring a new slant to the whole thing.

Of course, if the movie does happen, there's the matter of those 'prequel' rumours – which would mean it wouldn't fit into a timeline that could lead into season six. Still, there is good news – if the film is a prequel, fan favourite Warren Brown could return, and he's definitely up for it.

"I think when those rumours [of a film] were knocking around years ago, [series creator] Neil Cross did say it would be a prequel," Brown said.

a close up of a logo: Luther Series 1 - 5 [Blu-ray] © BBC Luther Series 1 - 5 [Blu-ray]

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"They've done a couple of seasons since Ripley met his demise. But yeah, it was a fantastic job for me, that, and I met friends for life on that. And it certainly boosted the work that I've done since then."

"So I would be [up for it], but I'm not too sure whether they would do a prequel, or whether it would carry on. Who knows?"

Either way, we'd expect John to be cleared. Though he's undoubtedly bent and even broken the rules on countless occasions, he didn't actually commit the crime of which he's been accused – murdering the hitman who offed his friend Benny. And now that George Cornelius, the real culprit, is in custody, maybe the truth will come out?

(In addition to John's legal woes, there'll doubtless be another merciless serial killer, very probably sporting a creepy mask, stalking the streets of London / hiding in small spaces, too.)

Luther season 6 trailer: When will it drop?

Don't expect any new Luther footage for a while, given how, in all likelihood, we're in for a long wait for the next series (or movie).

That said, series five got its first teaser trailer seven whole months before the first episode aired, so the first promotional material for series six might well surface long before broadcast.

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