Cameron Pell is a fictional character from the series Luther
Cameron Pell is a failed art student turned serial killer. He wears a hooded jacket and a menacing Mr. Punch mask. His modus operandi consists of slashing the throats of his victims with a machete or simply stabbing them to death. He enjoys taunting the police, even going so far as to send them live webcam feeds of his random killings. His first (known) murder took place outside a meat packing factory, showing a twisted sense of humour on Pell's part as Luther notes. Later he approaches a pretty young female photographer on a London street and begins enthusiastically telling her about the history of London but the photographer is put off by Pell's over-enthusiastic advances. When she wanders into a secluded area, Pell kills her whilst wearing his mask. Examing the body, Luther sees Pell in the crowd watching. As Pell turns to make his escape, Luther pursues him, tracking the madman to his underground lair where Pell attacks him wearing his mask and temporarily blinds him with acid. Luther bites Pell fiercely on the arm and Pell flees. Later when Luther breaks into Pell's expensive but sparse apartment, Pell phones him, watchi
n a nearby rooftop. As the two speak, Pell explains his misanthropic philosophy, describes his admiration for Spring-Helled Jack and says that his murders will shock humanity out of their apathy and they will start caring about each other more. He then states that he has a surprise planned for the evening before hanging up the phone, leaving Luther disturbed. Luther brings Cameron's ex-girlfriend in for questioning. A former art student herself, she shows signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and explains that Pell was told her that was obsessed with Spring-Heeled Jack even as a child and eventually his parents had to get him to see a psychiatrist who mocked and ridiculed Pell instead of helping him, causing Pell to grow up into the lunatic he is today. She asks for an escort back to her home which DC Ripley and DC Gray provide. However when Ripley returns to his car, he finds Pell lying in wait for him.
Having captured and tortured Ripley, Pell phones Luther on Ripley's mobile to mock him but Luther hangs up, reasoning that attention is exactly what Pell wants and that once he feels he has it, he will have no further use for Ripley and will likely kill him. Pell phones the constabulary on their phone and communicates with them over the answering machine, ordering them to give him attention and becoming increasingly hysterical before Luther demolishes the phone. Alone with Ripley, Pell taunts him that his friends have thrown him to the wolves and lectures him on the banality of evil which he calls "bourgeois fatuousness", suggesting that Pell is a Cultural Marxist. He explains that he wants to become a legendary figure in the vein of Jack the Ripper, Hawley Crippen, Dannis Nilsen, Ian Brady, Myra Hindley, the Yorkshire Ripper and Fred and Rosemary West saying that murder immortalised them. Playing on Pell's desire for fame, Ripley says he'd like to write a book about him and asks him why he wears a mask. Falling for Ripley's trick, Pell admits that wearing a mask makes it easier for him to commit murder, suggesting the rudiments of a conscience.
Luther meanwhile assertains that Pell, striving to become a legendary boogeyman would do what boogeymen in folklore do and abduct and kill children. Pell, not making the Bond villain error of bragging about his plan before leaving his prisoner to die, ties a plastic bag over Ripley's head before leaving him to suffocate while he goes to complete the final phase of his master plan. Disguised as a bus driver, he abducts a number of schoolchildren and moves them to a separate truck, reasoning that the police will be after him. He then drives the truck to an abandoned warehouse, climbs out, dons his mask and begins to pump the truck with gas. His plan is to gas the children to death before disposing of their bodies. Fortunately, Ripley manages to escape and joins Luther to search for Pell and the missing children. Ripley tells Luther that Pell can't commit murder without his mask. At the warehouse, one courageous boy named Tim escapes the truck and attempts to escape but is grabbed by Pell. Dauntlessly, the boy tears of Pell's mask and throws it. Before Pell can retrieve his mask, Luther's car crashes into the warehouse. Luther jumps out as Pell cowers behind his child captive, his machete to the boy's throat. Luther, knowing that Pell can't kill without his mask casually chats to Tim, completely ignoring Pell, knowing that being ignored damages Pell's brittle self confidence. As Pell becomes increasingly hysterical, Luther calls him a weak, little pathetic man and throws his mask over a fence. Pell breaks down into tears and releases Tim as the police arrive and free the children from the truck. As Pell attempts to intimidate the police by shouting about the murders he has commited, Ripley appears behind him and glibly says "Cameron, no-one's listening" before punching him in the face and arresting him.
Cameron Pell was cunning, deceptive and intelligent. He had a flair for the dramatic and a pathological need for attention. Pell committed murders wearing a sinister mask in the image of the fictional character, Punch. His goal was to be remembered and feared for all time as a boogeyman like Jack the Ripper or Spring-Heeled Jack. He exhibited no remorse for his murders and seemed to take great pleasure in them but did not have the wherewithal to commit murder without wearing his mask which he used to absolve himself of responsibility and increase his self-confidence. When deprived of his Punch mask, Cameron was incapable of killing, showing that he was essentially a weak, and insecure man who broke down into tears when ignored and insulted by John Luther and who was incapable of killing his child hostage without his mask. Despite possessing above average physical strength and being armed with a large machete, he was too cowardly to face Luther without his hostage, reduced to impotently screaming in rage as the police rescued his captives and ruined his master plan. Subsequently, Pell surrendered after being punched once in the face by Justin Ripley. Given that his plans and self-image hinged entirely on his need for fame, attention and notoriety, it is likely that Pell suffered from a severe case of Histrionic personality disorder. Despite his indefensible actions, Pell is a pitiable character as his mental illness was the result of childhood fears and psychological abuse from doctors who were supposed to be taking care of him. He was not completely heartless as he believed that his vindictive actions would terrify people to the point that they would be shocked out of their apathy and start caring more about each other, although together with his habit of wearing a mask, this may have simply been a means of absolving his conscience. He was a deeply depressed nihilist who was obsessed with loss and emptiness which showed through his bleak artwork and his sparsely decorated apartment.
- Pell's modus operandi of killing people with a knife, usually at night and wearing a mask is similar to cinematic serial killers such as Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. Thes same traits, combined with benign intentions despite his evil methods, also make him reminiscent of John Kramer from the Saw franchise. The mask he wears is similar in appearance to the face of Kramer's doll. Pell's trademark mask, penchant for the dramatic, enthusiasm for knives and love of attention give him a similarity to Vega from the computer game, Street Fighter.