Wednesday, July 17, 2013



Right, is there anyone here that shouldn't be? Come on, own up? Why are you still here then, I've already told you there are spoilers? Off you go. Yes, yes, come on, out you go. Bye!

At last we are alone...

Neil Cross is a genius! There I've said it again, but exactly why do I think he is one? Neil is one of those rare breed of writers that knows how their audience ticks, how to play on their fears and how to get them to sit on the edge of their seats biting their fingernails, and that's not an easy thing to do. Last night's episode of Luther is a case in point. How many of you can't wait to see the final episode? Me neither! I WANT to see it NOW!!!!

When we left Luther last night his best friend had been killed and his girlfriend was about to be kidnapped, leaving us on a knife edge, making us will next Tuesday to be here already. But how did he do it?

First off, in the character of Tom Marwood, Neil Cross has developed a very sympathetic character. When we first meet Tom he saves a man and a woman from a gang of young thugs who are intent on beating, raping and robbing. Tom blasts two of the attackers in the chest with a shotgun and returns to hold the hand of the beaten man until the ambulance arrives. We instantly know that although he is disturbed he is still trying to do good and we feel for him. This is reinforced when we learn of his personal tragedy and sense of injustice after his wife was raped, murdered and shoved into the airing cupboard by an offender recently released from prison. Neil not only makes us sympathise with him, but also want to be him, reeking vengeance where injustice has prevailed.

We can also sympathise with Luther. He would love to be able to do what Tom is doing, or just turn his back and let him get on with it, but he knows it's wrong and he battles with his conscience. He'd love to see the scumbags off the streets just as much as Tom, but doesn't believe the way he is going about it is the right way.

At the end of the episode, just when Neil has made us love Tom, he goes and rips out those feelings and stuffs hate back in. DS Ripley has Tom cornered. Tom wants him to walk away. We all know DS Ripley isn't going to do that. We scream for him to do so, will him to just walk away so a much loved character doesn't get killed, but what happens? Neil Cross doesn't let up, he has Tom shoot DS Ripley in desperation, turning Tom from a sympathetic character into a hated one, with one pull of the trigger. The wife and I were totally hooked.

But Neil didn't stop there, he played on our fears once more when, in the last scene, we see Tom outside Luther's house ready to kidnap Luther's girlfriend Mary. Now it's Mary and Luther we sympathise with, Neil Cross having turned everything on its head. His genius lies in understanding the human psyche. These events COULD happen in real life. They WOULD happen. We all know it. And therefore it terrifies us. We are all just one psycho or one wronged person away from a Luther storyline. Bloody genius writing. Absolutely spellbinding. It's the kind of dark, character driven writing I love to do myself. Totally unmissable!

And not only has Neil Cross done this with the Luther series but also with The Fixer, which ran for two series. Again with The Fixer Neil didn't shy away from the unpleasant, the stuff that makes us cover our eyes, or suddenly run to the kitchen to make an urgent cup of tea. And most of all Neil's genius lies in making it all believable, making it real for those who watch it, playing on our fears and emotions like he was simply strumming a guitar. That is why I think Neil Cross is a genius. I hope I get to meet him one day because I would like to shake his hand and buy him a pint.

Oh and Alice is back next week...

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