When John Luther - he of the excellent tailored coat and devout reader of the maverick cop rulebook - returns to our screens this week, it'll be 2 and a half years since season 3 finished. But hey, at least for this fourth outing we can sink our fans into a full-length, eight episode season, right?
Er, wrong, actually. Luther season 4 consists of 2 x 60 minute episodes, which seems a bit stingy, if by stingy you mean cruelly, torturously short. But that's what comes of having a Hollywood A-lister in your little television series.
Anyway, "season" 4 begins this week (Tuesday 15th) on BBC One for Brits, and later in the week on BBC America. The trailer, in case you missed it...
Now that you've eyed that and taken a few moments to recover your cool, let's break down what we can expect from season 4, episodes 1 and 2.
Here's the synopsis for the two-parter. Mild spoilers ahead.
On a leave of absence from the police force, Luther is laying low in a rundown cottage on the edge of England but a visit from his old colleagues at the Met brings a shocking piece of news that draws him back to London in search of the truth.
Meanwhile, a gruesome serial killer has struck the city. With a trail of clues leading from one crime scene to the next, Schenk and his team must work out the twisted logic that connects each victim but this murdering mastermind is more than a match for the police, outsmarting them at every step. It's not long before Luther is back in the Bullpen, determined to steal a march on the killer before it’s too late.
1. There's a cannibal on the loose
Luther has featured various psychotic serial killers over the course of three seasons, from the taxi driver who gave jewellery from his victims to his wife to the twins who carried out random killings on the roll of a dice... not forgetting the killer who stole women's shoes (seriously).
This time around? There's a cannibal on the loose in London town. This guy mutilates, feasts, and leaves a clue for the next kill (because killers in Luther love nothing more than to taunt the police). Perhaps we'll get a side serving of Hannibal-esque style with that...
2. What became of Alice?
Remember how, in Skyfall, Bond fell off the radar, holed up in a shack by the Caribbean sea, drank Heineken and played drinking games with scorpions? John seems to have been taking notes, because he's fallen off the radar and holed up in a cottage by the ice-cold, very English sea. He doesn't seem to have sold his soul to bottled beer just yet, but then Luther always was a class act.
Anyway, there are two new detectives on the scene: DCI Theo Bloom (Darren Boyd) and DS Emma Lane (Game of Thrones' lovely Rose Leslie). Bloom and Lane turn up at Luther's cottage hideout with a few questions about what became of Alice, which has John's curiosity - not to mention ours - well and truly piqued.
Luther is not really Luther without a fleeting but tantalising cameo from our favourite seductive murderess, all red lips and mind games, so fingers crossed this Alice mystery gets a satisfying answer in episode two.
3. More trademark badassery
As seen in the trailer, John's return to London brings with it the opportunity to engage in a little physical activity: flipping tables, knocking down doors, all the usual maverick cop stuff that just doesn't have the same impact in a secluded seaside cottage.
At one point, Luther warns DS Lane against cutting corners, which is hilarious when you consider who this man is, and doubly brilliant when he then goes on to cut corners as if corners are about to go horribly out of fashion.
Rose Leslie is a good fit for the show, bringing a slight steel and a touch of edge to a character who's nothing particularly interesting on paper, but don't expect her to hang around too long. Whilst the supporting cast are great, they're also interchangeable: Luther is a one-man show. He's the starter, the main and the desert, and the shot of whisky at the end.
So if the prospect of having Idris Elba back on the small screen makes you feel something like this...
...then make sure to tune into BBC One this Tuesday, December 15th at 9pm, or BBC America from 9pm Thursday 17th.