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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Alice Morgan: Coolest Sociopath

Luther was a BBC police serial drama that was kind of more about superheroes. In that it was fantastical, revelrous in it's reveals, and it certainly wasn't believable. Idris Elba was DCI John Luther, tired and crumpled and fighting the big bad. And Ruth Wilson was Alice Morgan, the big bad. So he hunted her, and then he playfully jousted with her, and then he needed her, like we did. But Alice was always pulling the shots. She's a rare gem in television; genius and malevolent and deliciously self aware, but never sliding into the 'crazy eyes manic laugh' prop character. We witnessed someone with an absence of empathy learn about a world outside of facts and cynicism while being so sadistically humourous about it you couldn't help but mirror that Playful Alice Grin™ right back at her. Let's take a look at Alice Morgan.

It's a very strange thing to watch the first episode of Luther again, because you may, like me, be hit squarely with how confused you are at how good Ruth Wilson is at playing Alice as the innocent little lamb. I had forgotten that for the first half an hour or so, Alice was a victim. We the audience were introduced to her as victim.

Evidence: this is the first time we see Alice:

Crying, shaking Alice. Calling the police.

Bambi in shock. Wide eyed and overcome. Isn't this weird to look back on? I found myself searching for a clue in her eyes, in the way she moved, for a glance at the Batshit Alice we came to know and love.

When John Luther aka The Fittest Police Officer In The World (honestly The Bill should have looked like this) sits her down for questioning she stutters and sobs. Blue Is The New Black.

This is a woman who just lost her parents. A woman who returned to find her childhood home a bloodbath. I mean even the family labrador bit the dust.

ENTER: the unique angles of Ruth Wilson's face. Let's get a zoom in on those features:

 Ruth Wilson is a brilliant actor. Do you know who's an even better actor? Ruth Wilson's eyebrows. It may be sacrilege to praise her eyebrows before her lips, but hey, I've just done it.

The set is grey. Luther is dressed all grey everything. Alice's face is a beacon, pale and painful. Luther is framed in such unique ways.  I remember suddenly having the feeling that he was her knight. That he would protect her and avenge her parents' death and they would fall in love. Because, troupes.

But then that look in her eye. That half smirk.

The way that when Luther called her a child prodigy, a freak, "practically a genius", she replied "practically..." with this look on her face:

"Yes!" I thought "This girl knows she's hot shit!" This isn't a little lamb, she's not a victim in need of saving. She's an arrogant, narcissistic little turd! And she killed her parents! This was the moment I was hooked on Luther.

I mean who leaves an examination room knowing she's the main suspect in a multiple murder case acting like she's eyeing up a guy at a bar?

This girl.

This was the initial magic of Luther. You've got a troubled cop and a gleeful murderer. And you want them to have sex SO BAD. So bad.

Alice is told she's free to go and heads back to her flat. Which you also want SO BAD. What a view. She's leading a pretty decent life minus all this murder stuff.

Alice, why that TV in 2010 though?

Luther pays her pad a visit to drop off the dog's ashes. That was casual, Luther.

Alice plays it all enigma-y, like an old movie star. You half expect her to collapse onto her chaise longue with the back of the hand to her forehead, mocking in her best Anglo American "Oh John, why must you come here and torture me so?"

Instead, she locks steely eyes and rolls "Did you come here for sex?"

Jaw. Floor.

He straight up replies "No."

To which she says "Because you'd be surprised how many men do. Do you think they have any idea how fatuous they look?"

Alice is a human jackpot sound effect.

Luther boasts a will of steel. I mean I know Alice is a sociopathic killer but she is also vixen personified.

She then subtly segues into a rant about Black Holes and how they're evil at it's most pure. At which point we know that she's evil at it's most pure. It's dead exciting.

What's next up on Evil Vixen's itinerary? Why, threatening Luther's estranged wife Zoe of course!

Luther knows that he's Alice's next project. He has to tell her to back off. He's so scared you guys.

I just realised I haven't said anything about style yet. Erm, what a nice purple coat! Redheads in purple are always game changers.

Anyway, they meet and threaten each other against the backdrop of the Thames. How romantic!

Just a pair of sexually charged maniacs meeting on their bridge.

Oh wait

 Lover's bridges aren't for strangling, John!

Oh, you two.

And this was all in one episode!!! Let's proceed, to more wigs.

Backstory: Luther snapped and put a paedophile in a coma. Due to the fact people in comas generally don't speak, Luther got away with it. For now. So naturally, Alice decides to dress up and go visit. And then taunt Luther about it.

Honestly she looks like Businesswoman Barbie.

What is she playing at? A button sleeve blazer? Really?

She ditches blonde but carries on her game of taunting Luther over the phone. What did I say about redheads and purple? Alice knows. She got that memo.

She breaks into Zoe's place, all jazzed up for Gals Night In by the look of this. Zoe is not down.

Teal is Alice's friend. I don't mean that Alice has a friend called Teal, Alice surprisingly doesn't have any friends, but she looks good in teal. Straight off the Mad Men set in a high waisted pencil. She looks amazing.

She meets back up with Luther to talk about her findings from her investigation into his life.  Basically she Psych 101's him and he doesn't want to know. He tells her to stay away from Zoe.

She promises she will even though her Brownie's honour is accompanied by that already famous face of mischief.

Then, despite Luther's protestations that they are in no way friends, they go for coffee. The whole world nods in agreement that they will one day love each other.

Technically keeping her word on staying away from Zoe, Alice sends a group of teenage girls to beat up Zoe's new boyfriend, Mark. She's loves getting off on a practicality, this one.

Continuing her phone tirade, she has a strop when Luther doesn't appreciate her doing this, mainly because he is being blamed for it. But as we should all know by now, Alice is the puppeteer, and she has a plan. She actually wants to help Luther, in her own creepy way.

That plan may be to start wearing all grey so that she can stand directly in front of Luther and be completely unseen. And him, stood in front of the grey London sky, goes unseen. The ultimate camouflage. The couple that wear grey together, stay together.

Next up we get to see Alice in her natural habitat, a lab.

She looks at home. Again with the purple.

Even science knows about the redhead/purple thing. I mean technically science explains the redhead/purple thing, but you know what I mean.

She shows up at Zoe and Mark's place again (these two really need a better security system) and bullies Mark into dropping the charges on Luther.

She terrifying and she has a gorgeous soft curl. A deadly combination.

As per the last six minutes of every episode, Luther and Alice meet. This time in a creepy alley that has amazing lighting.

Honestly this lighting is great for both of them.

He's a golden angel and she's an alien blue.

Seriously where is this alley I wanna go there and take selfies. JK, kinda.

Alice listens intently while Luther mansplains to her that she doesn't understand how human beings work... cause she's a psychopath and all....

...That this attempt to push Zoe back to him was way off the mark, that it was a crazy misguided idea. He's a master of the criminal mind, he just knows these things. Her plan won't work.

Alice is all smiling at him like "LOL k, remember how I went to Cambridge at thirteen? Had a PhD by the time I was eighteen?"

"But yeah, you're right buddy"

You know this alley is probably one of those ones behind a station that has UV so that addicts can't find their veins isn't it? Looks all glam on TV though. Okay, I'll shut up about the alley.

Footnote: Zoe shows up at Luther's place and jumps his bones, because, why wouldn't you?

And Alice spies on them like the little creep she is. A Peeping Tom Maureen O'Hara. Never change, Alice.

And so...

They're back in the lab again! (Sang to Eminem's 'snap back to reality' in Lose Yourself)

Yup Mulder and Scully are having a big ol' chat. Larking about. Something about Basil Brush.

This is the beginning of these two as Comedic Duo. Laurel & Hardy. French & Saunders. Morgan & Luther.

They're having a right laugh about the fact the paedophile has woken up from his coma and the police force think Luther is stupid enough to head straight into the hospital and finish the job before said paedo starts talking.

HAHA, police force you stupid buggars you!!

I love when they get all flirty and silly with each other. They're so much cleverer than everyone else aren't they.

But it's serious, actually. Luther is probably in big trouble. So the joke ends pretty abruptly when Luther says he can't see Alice anymore because of surveillance and being sensible and stuff.

She has a tantrum. A tantrum in a really nice high waisted skirt. She's good at those.

What's next? Alice shows up at the hospital in beautiful boots.

She heads into a bathroom, sets fire to it and emerges as Dr David Bowie.

She's heterochromic and it's goddamn otherworldly.

If you can't tell from this really chill facial expression, she's about to murder someone.

She's suffocating a paedophile and she looks really cool while she's doing it. Space Oddity indeed.

She looks like Anna Friel. Ruth Wilson and Anna Friel should play sisters in something.

Anyway, Alice gives Luther a call like "hey bro I killed that guy for you"

He doesn't appreciate the gesture. At all. In what is becoming a bit of a pattern, Alice's 'favours' tend to end with the blame falling on him. If he was in trouble before, now he's in the eye of a Complete FuckStorm.

She genuinely thinks he should be grateful. She is a sociopath after all.

She loses her shit. He loses his shit.

Where have the LOLs gone guys? What about the good times? Basil Brush, remember?

Just as the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. Alice manipulated Zoe back into Luther's arms, and now in a rage rush she's prising her away. I wasn't kidding about her being master puppeteer.

You remember Mark? Alice loves to humiliate him. She's broken into his house numerous times, she sent a bunch of schoolgirls to beat him up, and now she's here to let him know that his girlfriend's cheating on him. And this is how she chooses to break the news:

Give the girl a medal because this is gold. There's a real breeze in here. So cold.

After a bit of an absence, Luther calls Alice to talk things through. Where? A church. Sure. Because they seem like the devout kind.

This is the place to have a chat about love and humankind duh. This is also the debut of the green knit beanie. I love the green knit beanie. There's always something distastefully 'Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown' about a beanie these days, but I fight the connotation. Sorry to bring up that awful film.

Because she looks really pretty. And it's almost as if her face has compassion and warmth in there somewhere. They're both being genuinely honest and sympathetic to each others' personalities.

Oh and he touches her face. It's a lot.

Understandably, Alice takes a backseat when the plot takes a turn which involves Luther's mate on the force becoming a bit of a dirty copper, then going full scale WTF and murdering... someone (spoiler) and framing Luther. Blimey. That escalated quickly.

Everyone on the force turns against him. No one believes him. No one has his back.

Someone does though, can you guess who?

Also I would like to say kudos to Alice because out of EVERYONE in this whole bloody series, she's the only one who upon hearing noises in a dark house fashions some sort of weapon before going to investigate. No one EVER dials 999. It's ludicrous.

Lucky for her, it's only Luther. Can you tell how pleased she is that he's breaking into her place:

She's all silk pjs, wavy hair, do care. She looks so beautiful it's kind of sickening.

And she's also got a great robe to hand. Handy.

She fixes Luther some tea, and is there for him when no one else is. Well, apart from DS Ripley, but you know, not like this. Not like a PJ party.

At the prospect of Luther asking her to be his accomplice Alice basically, well, climaxes. She is giddy to say the least. Now they've advanced a level to Crime Spree Duo. Bonnie & Clyde. Thelma & Louise. Morgan & Luther.

They've even both turned their coat collars up FFS. They're soulmates you hear me? Soulmates! And they mean business.

You know, the kind of business where he wears her stockings on his head as a "disguise". Okay, if that's the way you wanna play it guys.

After hijacking a police car and stealing planted evidence together, lets just say this dynamic is working well. It's pretty cemented.

And oh my jesus they're wearing matching beanies now. I can't handle this. What are you trying to do to me??

Look at them!

They're basically married now. She's all "don't get angry. I know you and you'll get angry and you'll mess up the plan"

And he's all "chill babe I got this". After a close call, he does in fact got this.

Hubby jumps in the boot, and wifey slams it shut, hand on hip. They race away.


Spoiler alert (although not a spoiler alert) about the first series finale: do not fucking mess with Alice Morgan.

And so we move on to Series Two......

Alice is convicted of murder and therefore living in a mental health facility. She's bored as fuck.

And Luther's not much better really. He's sitting in his shabby new flat playing Russian Roulette all by his lonesome.

There are no fun Crime Spree Duo things happening *pouts and stomps foot*. Alice has taken to cutting her wrists so that she can be put on high security just to get some peace and quiet.

Luther goes for a visit and they both sit in grey, feeling sorry for themselves.

He sits munching an apple and later chucks it over the fence. With a security key card stuffed in it.

Alice wanders around the grounds in a hoodie and finds said apple.


The Crime Spree Duo are back in action!!

And it feels so good.

Except it doesn't exactly last long because Alice is now a fugitive, obviously. 

She rocks up to Luther's place in her best frock before she makes her getaway like B MY SARANDON

She even sees his gun and immediately Russian Roulette's.  Just like Luther does.

But that's not enough to convince him to cadillac off a cliff with her.

She lists all her favourite places beginning with an M that they could run away to. She gets real close to his face. Real close. And talks about deadly seafood.

AND HE SAYS NO. Luther how the bloody hell could you say no.


What kind of a person passes up a funny genius who murders for you and gets all flirty over The Roadrunner??

C'mon man get your shit together.

So that's Alice out of the picture. She's outta there.

Apart from when Luther pisses his pants cuz PAM FERRIS aka Miss Trunchball threatens him and he tells her he'll set his murderer ladyfriend on him if she ever comes near him. That was a real gift.

Also a gift was Idris Elba sitting in the snow eating an ice cream.

What a babe.

We do get to spy that Alice sends him about ten postcards from various places. And he keeps them on his mantelpiece which is, you know, adorable.

S'cute. I can't say I'm entirely convinced that Alice went to all of these places but you gotta give a girl props for trying. It's hardly like she can have an instagram. #sun #sea #sand #hellopigs #fugelyfe

They were obviously supposed to fill the void a little but the five Alice-free episodes just aren't full somehow. And don't get me started on Mary. Bloody Mary. You'd need a Bloody Mary to tolerate...etc etc. It's not that Luther's new love interest isn't... expected, it's just that she's more of a boring stereotype rather than a fully formed character and provides the worst dialogue of the entire series. She calls him gentle and bleats on about staying up all night just talking. Gross. The word saccharine thinks this is too saccharine. Five episodes doesn't sound like long time but it was an eternity. Luckily for us though Alice is back with a bang. Or should I say a meep.

The last episode kicks off with a serial killer hoodlum hijacking Luther's police escort.

Oh hi guys! Surprise!... It's just Alice.

Because it's series finale time! And hilarity and silliness must ensue! High stakes abound! And Alice has cut her hair!

She looks like a Cotswolds yummy mummy.

"Tilly! Tarquin! Get your bookbags or you'll be late for riding practice!"

Don't get me wrong she's still a fox.

She's a fox in a Hunter jacket. Which still sounds like something you'd find in the Cotswolds.

Anyway, she's back to rescue John, that's why she's back. Because he's got himself in a pickle again and she knows he needs his favourite law breaker to get him out of it.

Except that's not why she's back. In a move that makes Fatal Attraction Glenn Close look super chill, Alice heard Luther had a girlfriend, so she flew across the world, risking arrest, to be like "nah mate, you're mine".

New favourite Alice quote: "Some little girls grow up wanting ponies. I always wanted to be a widow". Said casually, sitting in her bathrobe and brushing her wet hair.

The height difference here just made me imagine that for their bridge scenes, Ruth Wilson must have to stand on a box.

Like this whole thing couldn't get any cuter.

Let's bask in the glory that the Crime Spree Duo are back together. Once again. Like Oceans 11. Oceans 12. and 13!

Alice really is the intellectual version of the Hello Boys Wonderbra campaign.

Yes she literally just walked into a police station as a fugitive rrrrreeeeal casual. I need a quick favour guvna.

And now she's racing around town all Lady Penelope in a vintage car

Because of course Alice Morgan drives this car.

Her and Luther squeeze in like two little sardines and go find the bad guy.

Alice resists the urge to film herself wearing the hell out of a green polo neck and instead films the perpetrator acting like a class A dick.

Surprisingly though, the master plan backfires.

And verrrry unexpectedly for a police serial drama, things come to a climax on the top of a building with a suicidal maniac brandishing a weapon.

Also suprrrremely unexpected: A decision for our protagonist. Which of his ladies will he save?

Everything actually ties up very nicely. Maybe too nicely. Alice escapes the police again, someone really keeps dropping the ball on this one.

And we end up back where we started, back on good ol' blackfriars bridge.

She's gonna kiss him!

She's gonna kiss him!!!

...She doesn't kiss him.

But she does persuade him to throw his coat into the river.

You truly deserved better than the sewage and the rubble and the fried chicken carcasses, Grey Coat.

RIP Grey Coat. 

Long Live Crime Spree Comedy Duo, Morgan & Luther.

And Long Live The Matching Beanies. #neverforget

Apparently Elba and the show's creator, Neil Cross, are cooking up a prequel. In film format. Idris Elba as Luther on IMAX. LORD HELP ME my knees my knees

But for now I'm going to go watch The Affair, because it's apparently excellent, and I'll watch Ruth Wilson in anything. I'd watch Ruth Wilson watch paint dry. And then I'd give her an Olivier for it.

Bye you needy little fishys! 


  1. lovely lovely article. i had lots of fun reading this. thanks for writing about alice morgan, the sociopath hbic

  2. Really your article is awesome.I am a great fan of Luther series and particularly of Alice Morgan.Her behavior,intellect and her psychopathic ventures..All are so fascinating.

  3. looking forward to luther series 5


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