Watch guide: Why you should binge 'Luther' Season 5
Also, "Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears" returns after a five-year absence and an earthquake shocks "The Good Doctor."
Why you should binge 'Luther' Season 5
"Your conscience has killed more people than I have," psychopathic murderer Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson, The Affair) teases ethical but unorthodox London Detective Sergeant John Luther (Idris Elba, above) in Season 5 of British police drama Luther. Onscreen duos have never been more dangerously mismatched — or more madly compelling, for that matter.
The broad-shouldered copper and the cunning redhead, wrongly presumed drowned in Season 4 (which is already streaming on Prime Video along with the first three installments), met in the show's 2010 debut. He investigated the gruesome shooting deaths of her parents and knew she was guilty but couldn't prove it.
For her part, Alice was so impressed with Luther that he became the only person she ever cared about. Remarkably, he began asking her — on the sly — for insight into cases, always aware she could just as easily slit him ear-to-ear as whisper into one.
This season, Alice's affection for the intuitive detective makes him a target of someone she's crossed: gang boss George Cornelius (Patrick Malahide, Game of Thrones). The lawman is also pursuing a classic Luther maniac: a man with a penchant for turning people into pincushions whose psychiatrist (Hermione Norris) is harboring awful secrets.
Frenetic chases through London's tight spaces and industrial areas trap the characters in a gray maze. Not everyone makes it out alive.
Luther, Season 5, Monday, March 23, Amazon Prime Video
—Kate Hahn, TV Insider
Worth Watching: The Return of 'Miss Fisher,' Earthquake Shocks 'Good Doctor,' All About Eve on 'Son,' Kim vs. Jimmy on 'Saul'
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (streaming on Acorn TV): Returning from a five-year absence — the first three seasons are streaming exclusively on Acorn — the pistol-packing fashion-plate lady detective Phryne "Frannie" Fisher (Essie Davis) remains a Jazz Age delight in a feature-length mystery movies. This escapade of cheerfully preposterous escapism propels Miss Fisher from British-ruled Palestine in 1929 to a London estate and back to the desert on a caper involving giant emeralds and an ancient curse. None of which ruffles her cool composure. (See the full review.)
The Good Doctor (10/9c, ABC): By now, we know it doesn't take much to rattle autistic surgeon Shaun Murphy's (Freddie Highmore) world. But in the first part of a two-episode season finale, an earthquake takes Shaun about as far outside his comfort zone as imaginable. While St. Bonaventure Hospital is overwhelmed with casualties, Shaun's immediate concern are his colleagues trapped at a charity fundraiser, including mentor Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff), his boss Dr. Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez) and his on-and-off-again BFF/girlfriend Lea (Paige Spara).
Prodigal Son (9/8c, Fox): So what's the deal with Malcolm's (Tom Payne) sometimes girlfriend Eve (Molly Griggs)? Last seen a week ago climbing into a trunk (a la the infamous "girl in a box"), Eve rekindles her relationship with a suspicious Malcolm, who agrees to let sister Ainsley (Halston Sage) use her investigative skills to poke into the human rights attorney's background as well. And how does their mom, Jessica (Bellamy Young), regard these shenanigans? "My children can be socially bizarre, but it's best to find it endearing and not deranged." It may be too late on that count, but surely there's more to Eve than meets the eye. As usual, the case-of-the-week, involving a mommy blogger whose baby daddy (or is he?) is murdered, echoes the episode's central issue, as Malcolm puts it: "Can you ever really know anyone?"
Better Call Saul (9/8c, AMC): In an episode that whipsaws from comedy to drama, Saul (Bob Odenkirk) ramps up his crusade against girlfriend Kim's (Rhea Seehorn) client, Mesa Verde Bank & Trust, with the outlandish audacity familiar to anyone who saw the shyster in action during the Breaking Bad days. As he tries to do the right thing in all the worst ways, he somehow forgets that what Kim wants most is to settle and move forward, before anyone expects their collusion. While they reach a pivotal moment in their relationship, Mike (Jonathan Banks) orchestrates an even more devious scheme to go after Lalo (Tony Dalton).
The Daily Social Distancing Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central, 11/10c): A sign of our times. Having joined other late-night hosts and crews turning to digital and social platforms over the last week to keep the jokes flowing after production shut down, Trevor Noah and his team of writers, editors and directors are moving their at-home version of The Daily Show back to Comedy Central. The show will now air in its regular linear time slot as well as on the social/digital channels where so many fans get a daily fix of their favorite comedians, virus or no virus.
Inside Monday TV: Turning points in the dueling singing competitions, as Hollywood Week wraps on ABC's American Idol (8/7c) with solo performances, and NBC's The Voice (8/7c) moves into the "Battle Rounds" phase. While Team Nick Jonas naturally turns to the Jonas Brothers for mentoring his dueling singers, Kelly Clarkson enlists Dua Lipa, John Legend turns to Ella Mai and Blake Shelton consults with Bebe Rexha. Whoever wins the duel moves on to the Knockout Rounds… It's all in the family on The CW's Supernatural (8/7c) when Danneel Ackles and Genevieve Padalecki return as Jo and Ruby… Nat Geo Wild's The Hidden Kingdoms of China (8/7c) explores the natural wonders of China in three consecutive episodes, and the first hour will be of special interest to panda lovers, as it follows a mother and cub over two years.
—Matt Roush, TV Insider
Goodbye to Michonne, 'TWD's Katana-Swinging Badass With a Heart of Gold
“My s**t never stopped being together,” Michonne (Danai Gurira) once snapped at Andrea (Laurie Holden), responding to her friend’s assertion that they should stay at Woodbury and, well, get their stuff together. It’s hard to remember all the way back then — back when Michonne hadn’t met Rick (Andrew Lincoln), hadn’t become a mother figure to Carl (Chandler Riggs) or Judith (Cailey Fleming). Granted, she’s heading off to find the love of her life — hello, Rick movies! — so this isn’t a tragic sendoff. It feels more like a temporary farewell.
But even so, this quote exemplifies so much of what we’ll miss about Michonne. We’ll miss her humor. We’ll miss her stone-cold badassery. We’ll miss her leadership, and most of all, her heart. Read on for an exploration of why TWD just won’t be the same without her.
The Mat Said Welcome
Especially in earlier seasons, before we were laughing at Eugene (Josh McDermitt)’s ludicrous vocabulary or Abraham (Michael Cudlitz)’s irreverent comments, Michonne had some of the funniest lines on the show. It’s hard not to smile when she reveals that iconic painted cat and tells Carl it was “too gorgeous” to leave behind, or when she starts eating Morgan (Lennie James)’s food (“The mat said ‘welcome.’”). Her comment to Rick in later seasons about his beard — “Your face is losing the war” — is equally hilarious.
No, Michonne isn’t a comic. But on a show as bleak as TWD can be, her occasional funny commentaries were always welcome, and they provided brief diversions from the dark world in which the main characters live.
A Practical Weapon
Another hallmark of Michonne’s character has been, since the beginning, her weapon… and the skill with which she wields it. There’s a good reason so much of TWD’s merchandising, especially in the early seasons, leaned on her, Rick, and Daryl. Michonne was, and is, iconic. That katana is synonymous with her name, like a crossbow is to Daryl, except a katana doesn’t need any additional accessories to be deadly. Remember the time she wrote “Go back” in walker parts as a warning to Woodbury’s militia? Yeah, Michonne’s just cool.
TWD has had its fair share of cool characters with signature weapons, but at the risk of sounding too simplistic, Michonne’s pure badassery is going to be missed. She’s been around for so long that it’ll be odd not seeing her swing her blade and chop down dozens of walkers every Sunday. That blade is also symbolic of her smarts; it’s a practical weapon, highlighting her practicality and rationality in every facet of surviving the apocalypse. This woman was once a lawyer. It shows.
TWD’s always had awesome female characters, but Michonne’s really the first woman we saw who was dedicated to fighting and skilled at it. Yes, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) helped clear the prison and Andrea expressed an interest in learning to shoot (and then promptly shot Daryl). But Michonne was playing chess while many of ‘em were still playing checkers, not yet the dangerous fighters they’d become.
Why does this matter? We’re definitely not trying to pit female characters against each other, but Michonne was important representation in a number of significant ways at a time when the show didn’t have a character quite like her. She defied stereotypes at every turn. She was allowed to be deadly and dark as well as maternal and caring. That was a breath of fresh air to TWD.
Sword of Steel, Heart of Gold
But perhaps what we’ll miss most of all, beyond her skill set and humor, is Michonne’s heart. She doesn’t quite wear it on her sleeve, but it’s obvious she cares about her family and friends even if doing so ends up backfiring tragically on her, as it did in “Scars.” This is a woman who didn’t stop looking for Rick for years, who was more than willing to give up on finding him in order to stay with her children. This is a woman who helped Magna (Nadia Hilker) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura)’s group even though it went against her “no-helping” policy at the time. Even when she did her darnedest not to care, Michonne cared. A lot.
And for that reason, her end on The Walking Dead is incredibly fitting. Michonne’s always cared about her people, and about people, in general. It seems right that she leaves to help someone she loves, and to — hopefully! — bring her family back together. Although we hate to see her go, if her tenure on the show has been any indication of how her quest will fare, we know she’ll succeed.
The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC
—Emily Hannemann, TV Insider
'CMT Crossroads' EP Margaret Comeaux Shares Memories From 70 Episodes
Some of the biggest country superstars have shared the stage alongside representatives from other genres to make beautiful music together over the history of CMT Crossroads. It’s a rich legacy of the series that goes back to 2002 with Elvis Costello and Lucinda Williams.
And for the upcoming 70th episode, strong female voices Halsey and Kelsea Ballerini continue the tradition by bringing an unforgettable mash-up outdoors at the Ascend Amphitheatre. Executive producer Margaret Comeaux, who has been there since the show’s inception as a vision realized by creator Bill Flanagan, calls the latest pairing one of her all-time favorites.
"It represented the evolution of the show musically from the beginning. We had so much fun putting it together,” Comeaux said. “It was a rainy night in Nashville. Normally, we produce these things inside. All the things that could potentially happen kind of happened. The fans sat in the rain and waited, so Halsey and Kelsea wanted to give those fans the opportunity they’ve been waiting for. It was amazing.
“You can’t buy the special effects that happen on camera when you watch the show. They are soak and wet. Their hands are wet on the guitar. All of it. It was a magical night. As one of the producers, you couldn’t ask for more. It’s what we all love about music. It’s what we all love about producing television shows. It’s incredible.”
Sheryl Crow (second from left) poses with (left to right) EP Margaret Comeaux, Joe Walsh and EP John Hamlin. Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images for CMT/Viacom
Comeaux remembers the show’s humble beginnings of an idea born out of wanting musicians and artists to tell their stories. They found those who wanted to collaborate with each other and others that, although appear different, bring similar music sensibilities.
“We wanted people to come out and perform each other’s songs and collaborate,” she said. “The show is always best when the artists dive into each other’s music and bring a sound we’ve never heard before...You go to concerts and there rarely isn’t one where an artist isn’t paying homage to one of their musical heroes. We really view Crossroads as a great place to make that sort of happen.”
There have been existing bonds that shine through like Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire. Others might not be a normally natural pairing, where Def Leppard and Taylor Swift. Every instance has given unique and entertaining results.
“There were many artists I grew up listening to and were on my bucket list. Lionel Richie and Kenny Rogers was an amazing one for me,” Comeaux said. “ We shot it at the Ryman. One of the few we shot there. Those were really special. Early on, Dolly [Parton] and Melissa Etheridge was a great moment. The Dixie Chicks and James Taylor was one they spent so much time wanting to get it right.
“They are so much about the craft and the collaboration and wanted everything to be spot on. They rehearsed for days. They wanted it to be the best show it could be. There were some amazing musical moments. When I close my eyes and you say Crossroads, there are definitely a few scenes that are part of my memories. One is watching the Dixie Chicks and James Taylor stand in the hallway before going out on stage and doing a final rehearsal. Glad it made it into the show.”
Adam Friedman, John Hamlin, Margaret Comeaux, Gavin Degraw, Chris Young, Leslie Fram, Rob Beckham and Joey Piscopo attend CMT Crossroads. Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT/Viacom
The longtime CMT EP also believes an important aspect of Crossroads has been the sit-down conversation and documentary portion. A segment that has evolved over the years.
“What happens before the audience is amazing, but as producers, we get to sit back and listen to these artists talk. You hear what brought them together, where are the common threads in their history, it’s all really interesting,” Comeaux said.
“I look back at Kid Rock and Hank Williams Jr., where we went to Hank’s farm and there was a firing off of a cannon. All kinds of pieces of fun you don’t really get to see. I think about Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, where there are so many of these whether the conversation started because we wanted to do a Crossroads together or an album that came out together for them. It’s amazing to watch the connections form.”
Comeaux is proud of how the series has become part of a performer’s story. She believes with CMT being a music channel, being part of that process is crucial. As for the future and what’s on the wish list of someone who has seen so much already, it’s hard to say.
“There are so many new artists coming on to the scene every year that I think the answer changes year-to-year. What has been great about this show is we visit classic rock, current bands, it can go wherever we want it to go,” she said.
“There are some amazing artists we are honored to have on our stage. Part of the fabric of Nashville. Every now and then you’ll go to a show and hear an artist from the stage, I’ll get a text saying this person just called out they want to do a Crossroads with so and so.
"It’s great to know artists understand what this show is, and why it’s something they would want to do. I think it speaks to its longevity and why it continues to be around and is such a viable flagship program for us. Music is the constant in everyone’s lives, and as long as that is still there, we’ll keep producing these Crossroads.”
CMT Crossroads: Halsey and Kelsea Ballerini, Wednesday, March 25, 10/9c, CMT
—Scott Fishman, TV Insider
'Dark Side of the Ring' Producer on Gaining Unprecedented Access for Filming
The Dark Side of the Ring has tackled some of the most controversial stories in pro wrestling history like never before. Now, VICE TV’s most watched series returns for Season 2 with a two-hour episode on Chris Benoit. In 2007, the top superstar sent shockwaves when he killed wife Nancy and young son Daniel before hanging himself, which changed the business forever.
Some of the intriguing episodes will also delve into the murder of Dino Bravo, Owen Hart’s stunt that led to his untimely demise, and the death of Jimmy Snuka’s girlfriend, Nancy Argentino. Other topics include the “Brawl for All” tournament, New Jack, David Schultz’s much-talked about encounter with a 20/20 reporter, UWF promoter Herb Abrams, and the Legion of Doom’s Hawk and Animal.
Adding narration to the show is AEW’s Chris Jericho. A new after-show featuring a panel of guests from the wrestling and other parts of the entertainment realm will be hosted by comedian and wrestling fan Chris Gethard, and airs immediately after each episode.
Ahead of the premiere, we sat down with producer and writer Evan Husney to talk piecing the season together.
What did you learn about last season that kept in mind this time around?
Evan Husney: We were trying to figure out what the show was about in season one as we’re making. As we figured out the format, how we wanted things and our interactions, I think we used all of that to apply to the bigger stories in the world of wrestling. We wanted to approach the big marquee stories that fit right in with the themes we explore in our show. Stories that have impacted wrestling in the last several decades.
It’s incredible the access you managed to acquire for these episodes. For the Chris Benoit one in particular you managed to have his son David and Nancy’s sisterSandra Toffoloni on board. Was it easier to gain trust this season knowing what you had done in the past?
It was a little easier in terms of getting people on board because we had something we could point to. We had work people could go out and watch. The first time we didn’t have that. It was more of a struggle. For the Benoit episode specifically, none of it would have been possible, in terms of access and building trust, without the participation of Chavo Guerrero Jr. Chavo was somebody I met almost two years ago now, and we started talking about this project. Chavo was instrumental into introducing us to a lot of people in the episode. Vickie Guerrero, Sandra, David, Chris Jericho. He came on board the project as a producer, but he was instrumental in terms of giving us access to the inner circle of the story. That was the way we wanted to tell that story, and without him, I don’t know we could have done that.
You talk about instrumental, Chris Jericho is a pretty integral part of the episode. He is also the narrator for season two. How did he become attached to this project?
It was pretty informal in terms of getting him on board. We had just done his interview for the Chris Benoit episode. I was standing in his kitchen asking him his thoughts of narrating season two. He said, “Yeah, I’d be really into that.” That was pretty much it. This season is a Canadian production where last year was not. We had to secure a Canadian citizen to be the narrator for the show. It’s perfect, it all aligned that way. Chris has been great. We actually just recorded with him to put some VO on some of the upcoming episodes. He has been fantastic to work with. He knows so much about all these stories already and learning new things. It’s awesome. He is fun to collaborate with, so we’re excited to be working with him.
There are so many stories that have been told before and others that maybe fans today, and even older, aren’t so familiar with. Were you trying to find a balance in your choice of topics?
We definitely tried to keep a balance while hitting the big stories. We wanted to look at them from different vantage points. We also wanted to mix in some episodes that were a little deeper cut for some of the die hard wrestling fans. One of those that I think will be a treat for fans will be the one we’re doing on Herb Abrams and the UWF. A story of a wrestling fan turned promoter who tried to basically tried to start his own wrestling promotion in the late ‘80s to challenge WWF. It was this big-time dreamer who had these lofty goals and had money to pull it off. It pretty much became one of the most spectacular disaster stories in wrestling. Not many fans know the real story of that ill-fated federation. That’s going to be really entertaining for people.
One of the newsworthy episodes will certainly be the one on Owen Hart. You managed to engage the participation of his widow Martha. That couldn’t have been easy. What was that process like?
There is no way we would have attempted to do the story without her. It was definitely one of the episodes I think wrestling fans have wanted to see the most. We really wanted to make it happen. I basically wrote her a cold email introducing myself and telling her about the show. She responded to me and wrote out these 10 questions that were super well thought out. It was answering questions about me, the background of the show, what we were looking to do and the story we wanted to tell. It was amazing.
Essentially, I worked on responding to her for two weeks and writing this full essay, which was amazing because it made me try to discover what I wanted to say with the story and how I wanted to approach the story. I sent that to her. That prompted a meeting. I flew out to Calgary and spent an entire evening with her and her son Oje. It went super well. She really wanted to tell this story. She had been wanting to tell her side of the story. It just went off from there. They are as cool can be, and we had a great time together. I think the episode is going to be fantastic.
You touch on some heavy topics as the title suggests. What do you say to those who might argue you’re opening up old wounds and bringing negative attention to the wrestling business?
I think there is so much to unpack with these stories that has never been discussed and processed. A lot of these more tragic stories have been kind of swept under the rug. With Dark Side of the Ring, we don’t approach it like a wrestling hit piece because we’re die hard wrestling fans. We grew up fans and still love it and watch it. We would never want to damage wrestling in that way. Most of the stories we’re looking at transcend wrestling.
They’re human stories of what these families and other wrestlers had to endure and, in most cases, overcome. For us, it’s more about examining that. I also feel the themes, especially with the premiere episode about Chris Benoit, is a lot of that story is unprocessed for a lot of people. There is an important conversation to be had around a lot of the elements of that story. That’s what we want to try and do, be that platform so wrestling fans and people involved can have some element of closure on some of these issues. I think we made our best effort to do that with a lot of them.
You see that with family members, even last season’s Bruiser Brody episode. What is it like for you to see the show have a tangible impact?
That's the best part for me personally. There is this relationship we have developed with the family members the last couple of years. We’re still in touch with a lot of them today. It’s one of the most rewarding aspects of making the show. For example David Benoit, Chris Benoit’s son from another marriage, after doing the interview, which was a very emotional and heavy interview. He remarked to us how much he felt a weight was lifted from him and that he was able to share his story. It kind of seemed to be one of the first times he ever had to explain his side in full detail in that way. Albeit an emotional experience, but that is one of the rewarding aspects of being able to connect on that human level while we’re making that show.
If or when there is a Season 3, what other topics do you want to dig into?
The next episode I would love to do if given the opportunity after this season would be looking to explore the WCW event in North Korea. That’s what I would want to do next.
Dark Side of the Ring, Season 2Premiere, Tuesday, March 24, 9/8c