How Netflix changed Luther: The Fallen Sun to make opening scene ‘less scary’

The creator of Luther has revealed that Netflix asked him to chage the sex of the new film’s first victim.

Throughout Luther’s five-season run from 2010 to 2019, the BBC crime drama, starring Idris Elba, would typically start with the grisly murder of a female character.

In fact, many crime dramas, from The Fall to Line of Duty, rely on the depiction of extreme violence against women to make their impact more frightening.

But Luther: The Fallen Sun, which is out now, starts with the killing of a man – and writer Neil Cross has explained that this was a request made specifically by Netflix.

Speaking to The Independent, Cross addressed blowback he’s received in the past due to the show’s violence against women.

“It’s been mentioned before that people are uncomfortable with the victimisation of women in Luther – not unfairly,” he said, adding: “The odd thing, though, is that, if one were to do the maths, there are many, many more male victims in Luther than there are women.

“But for reasons I fear to interrogate too deeply, the female victims resonate and scare more deeply.”

Cross said that, because of this stat, “there was a defiant part of me in the first draft of this”, which saw him say: “Oh f*** it – the victim is going to be a woman because that’s more frightening.”

However, he said that this was the “one moment” where Netflix stepped in.

“They said, ‘Do you want to think about this a bit?’ And I did say, ‘Well, it’ll be less scary.’ I worried that it might be.”

Andy Serkis as David Robey in ‘Luther: The Fallen Sun’ (Netflix)
Andy Serkis as David Robey in ‘Luther: The Fallen Sun’ (Netflix)

Cross acquiesced, though, stating: “But actually, they were right.”

Luther: The Fallen Sun is available to stream now and, since its release last week, viewers have been pointing out a glaring plot hole featured in the new film.