Hermoine Norris in a scene from season five of the TV series Luther.
Hermoine Norris in a scene from season five of the TV series Luther. Des Willie

Spooks star joins dark new season of Luther

FILMING a dark crime series in London in the middle of winter was an exciting prospect for Hermione Norris.

Not only would she work in her hometown again, she would join the cast of a long-admired show.

The actress - best known for her roles in Spooks, Cold Feet and Wire in the Blood - stars alongside Golden Globe winners Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson in the long-awaited fifth season of Luther.

"I'd worked with (creator) Neil Cross, who wrote a lot on Spooks, and I love his writing," she says.

"I was sent these four beautiful, complete, utterly compelling scripts.

"This is Luther back in all its glory... Neil writes such clearly defined, dark and complex characters and then sets them in incredibly complex, thrilling and frightening narratives. Then he squeezes and squeezes them and puts them under so much pressure, you're kind of left feeling really unnerved towards the end of the episode."

The award-winning series follows DCI John Luther (Elba), a near-genius murder detective whose brilliant mind can't always save him from the dangerous violence of his passions.

Idris Elba stars as DCI John Luther in the TV series Luther.
Idris Elba stars as DCI John Luther in the TV series Luther. Des Willie

It's been three years since viewers last saw Elba in the role and Wilson's character Alice was thought to be dead.

"It's a fantastic detective series," Norris says. "I found Idris to be incredibly generous as an actor. He sets a really great atmosphere on set. I think this series is acted brilliantly by him and Ruth."

Season five is set to be as chilling and gruesome as ever, with Luther once again confronting the depths of human depravity.

As a series of monstrous killings becomes ever more audacious, Luther and new recruit DS Catherine Halliday (Wunmi Mosaku) are confounded by a tangle of leads and misdirection that seems designed to protect an unspeakable horror.

But even as the case brings him closer than ever to the nature of true evil, a reluctant Luther faces the ghosts of his own past. Striding back into the line of fire, he must choose who to protect and who to sacrifice.

Norris plays the complex and clever Dr Vivien Lake.

Hermoine Norris plays Dr Vivien Lake in Luther.
Hermoine Norris plays Dr Vivien Lake in Luther. Des Willie

"She's a very well-educated psychiatrist who specialises in sexual deviancy, sexual compulsions and paedophilia," she says.

"She is dealing with a client who is struggling with his compulsions and she believes his behaviour is escalating. She is concerned about that, so she calls in Luther.

"Yes there's doctor-patient confidentiality, but of course this is the world of Neil Cross so it's not that straight forward.

"She doesn't suffer fools and I'd say she is ruthless and meticulous. She will give him the information, but she feels she's done her job pointing out her concern with her patient and beyond that she's unwavering. She's not a very pleasant character."

Season five of Luther premieres on Sunday, February 3 at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW on BBC First.