Image courtesy of BBC Luther









**SPOILER ALERT – Do not read if you haven’t watched these two shows yet**

When it comes to reading, or writing, police procedurals, I like to keep things real. Yes, I want to be entertained, but not to the point that it gets me rolling my eyes and thinking ‘really?’

It’s fair to say that I love Luther. I’ve always said it’s crazy – realistically unrealistic. But hey, he’s nice to the eye, the show is dark and moody and with Alice in the background, I could forgive a few poetic license moments.

But series 5, I’m sad to say, tested my boundaries a little too much. It became the Luther and Alice show and as much as I enjoy watching their relationship ‘evolve,’ I don’t want to watch episodes of a man about town (a deadly quiet London to be precise without a soul on any street?!) with his woman doing crazy stuff. I want to watch a detective catching a killer.

Some of the scenes too were so far-fetched to be enjoyable for me. I loved the idea of the serial killing couple and had this stayed at the forefront of this series, I would have been riveted to my seat. And there were some really scary moments. But when Alice turned into a superwoman, well, that turned me off completely.

The last episode was so farcical – Alice shot an officer dead with one bullet (where she got her guns from I will never know) and then missed a man using a machine gun…  And poor old Smiley. Murdered, and yet not a one officer in the building asked where he was (or was told what had happened to him) and then his blood cleaned up as if it were a drink of spilled orange juice. No emotion from either character after seeing him shot.

I really wanted to like it, and I know I will watch the next series because let’s face it, Alice won’t be dead, will she…

Image courtesy of ITV

Which leads me to Man Hunt – the complete opposite of Luther. Here we have a real-life case so I guess there can be no poetic license, but for my money, it showed exactly what happens in a murder investigation team. I enjoyed working things out with the police, being one step ahead of the suspect until he was caught and brought to justice.

I enjoyed going home with the team members and seeing how their job affected their day-to-day lives. I also like the series, Unforgotten, for the same reasons – where I feel I am working a real-life case with the police. 

Does this make me a realist? I guess it does. I get that they are both filmed for entertainment. I get that for some people precise procedurals are boring, and let’s face it a lot of time-consuming, mind-numbing jobs that are the most important parts of the investigation can be brushed over and the feel of a show can still be authentic. But I like to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.

Indeed, I don’t write about DCS’s or DI’s because I like working the case alongside my officer. That’s why I write about detective sergeants because mine are hands-on, out there with the people in the community, getting things done. (And even this isn’t true as most detective sergeants manage a team of detective constables and rarely leave their desks.)

What do you think? Should books and TV stay true to life or bend the rules like Luther?

Luther v Man Hunt – is sticking to police procedure really necessary?

9 thoughts on “Luther v Man Hunt – is sticking to police procedure really necessary?

  • January 9, 2019 at 20:14

    I have been watching Manhunt and I too have enjoyed watching the team gather clues, put it all together and get the suspect.
    I haven’t watched Luther ever but my daughter loves it and tells me all about it so Ive got an idea what it’s like and I know I would prefer Manhunt simply because it’s more real life. I was born and bred East End of London before moving to Essex 14 years ago and I can honestly tell you knew some real villains but never once did I ever see shoot outs going on in the street or people jumping from building to building whilst firing shots at someone!
    I definitely prefer Manhunt.

    • January 10, 2019 at 16:17

      Lol, Fay! There’s nothing like that in Stoke, too, thank goodness!

  • January 9, 2019 at 23:43

    With you on both counts. Much as I like Elba’s acting skills the plot was just that bit Bond-esque in the reality stakes. Manhunt on the other hand was riveting.

    • January 10, 2019 at 16:16

      Yes, there were a LOT of eye rolling at Luther. Whereas I was riveted to Man Hunt. I just love the nitty gritty police work.

  • January 10, 2019 at 07:46

    I have to agree with you about reality, sometimes I have to say I too am put off by lack of factual reality. I find it a lot these days, maybe that is why I love your books so much Mel.
    I have Man Hunt recorded but haven’t watch any of it yet.

    • January 10, 2019 at 16:15

      Thank you! Yes, it’s hard at times as procedure makes the storylines restrictive, As an author, it’s also great to work out how to change the plot to fit the procedure that makes it seem real.

  • January 10, 2019 at 15:42

    I adore Luther and struggled with this season too, for the same reasons.

    There wasn’t the police investigation, and that’s what it’s supposed to be about. It all felt too rushed and out there.

    Manhunt on the other hand had me utterly gripped, even though I knew the outcome, knew most of the plot – with it being a real crime – and I loved it! It was brilliant to see that the team can disagree, that they don’t all get along and trust each other implicitly … teamed with an amazing cast it beat Luther S5 by a mile!

    • January 10, 2019 at 16:12

      Exactly – Luther became Bourne in this one for me 😉 I just love anything that I can work out alongside the characters so Man Hunt was great.

  • January 11, 2019 at 21:19

    Stopped watching Luther, because I felt it had got too silly. Basically, I’m with you. I like my crime series to be realistic and the plot to hold together. Loved Unforgotten and hope it will be back soon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.