DCI Ian Reed was John Luther's most loyal friend. They have years of history between them, both good and bad, and Reed has saved Luther more times than either man could count. Reed is a man just as scarred by his commitment to the force as Luther. A veteran of three failed marriages, he understands the true cost of the job and knows what Luther is going through in his break up with Zoe. Reed also knows that rules are there to be bent, though never broken, which is what makes him such an ideal companion for Luther. Not averse to making a bit extra on the side, Reed is an excellent detective who lives by a strict moral code of his own devising. But if he crosses the line and breaks that moral code, his world will start falling apart.
He is the main antagonist in the first series of ‘Luther’ and a former friend turned enemy to the protagonist, John Luther.
Ian is John's best friend. He regularly goes out on patrol with him and is his partner in most investigative cases, offering input and advice. He also covers up for John's maverick tendencies and even participates in them, such as in Episode 4, phoning a serial killer and pretending that the police were on the verge of capturing evidence from his lair, so Luther could arrest him without a warrant. In Episode 5, he lets a robbery go ahead involving the Carrodus diamonds in return for a cash payment. However the Carrodus' are kidnapped by a rogue gang of American loan-sharks who kill the wife and one of their own members who tried to set her free. It turns out the gang member was the nephew of Ian's gangland contact, Bill whom Ian killed to protect his identity. However, he deceives Luther into meeting at a fountain, when he goes to a hotel to kill the gang leader, Sugarman. Anticipating this, Luther arrives to but fails to stop Ian killing Sugarman. Luther offers to cover it up, but Ian runs away. He almost commits suicide but feeling better he appears at Luther's house and accidentally kills Zoe Luther with a gun when she tries to attack him. John catches Ian at last but Ian stabs John with a knife.
Ian Reed is shot by Alice Morgan while he is captured in Episode 6.
Much like Luther, Reed is shown to be a highly competent detective and police officer, who isn't afraid to bend the rules as long as it has a positive outcome. It's shown that Reed; on numerous occasions has helped Luther, whether it be helping him convict a suspect when there wasn't sufficient evidence to convict them, or covering for Luther should he do anything to jeopardize himself, displaying a strong sense of loyalty to his friend.
While Reed was secretly corrupt, he seemed to maintain a strong code of ethics and would never participate in something that would cause collateral damage.
He ultimately became undone after a heist he allowed to go ahead resulted in the deaths of Tom Meyer and Mrs Carrodus at the hands of the key orcherstrater: Daniel Sugarman. With his career at risk and the possibility of incarceration or even death, Reed showed a desperate and somewhat cold blooded side when he killed both Bill Winingham and Sugarman to avoid detection. While Luther; who had deduced Reed planned to murder Sugarman, tried to apprehend Sugarman when Reed shot the latter, still tried to reason with Reed; even going as far as to try and cover up the crime, Reed became visibly more anxious. Believing Luther planned to set him up; after a house keeper at hotel they were in opened the door to their room, Reed tried to kill both the maid and Luther before successfully escaping, and turning on his friend in the process. Reed ultimately became unhinged when he killed Luther's wife Zoe after he unsuccessfully tried to lure him into a trap, going as far as to frame Luther for murder by staging Zoe's death as a crime of passion, which he succeeded in doing so.
With Luther on the run and his career on the line, Reed went to great lengths to silence Luther, such as trying to have Luther gunned down by police snipers having convinced them Luther posed a threat.
Despite this Reed showed signs of conscience and regret before and after the heist. He was visibly horrified when Mrs Carrodus and Tom Meyer were killed by Sugarman and was devastated when he killed Zoe Luther when she charged at him with a knife (having not intended to kill her). He also showed early signs of a borderline deathwish such as when he arranged to meet Luther after the murder of Zoe, he chose not to wear a vest; indicating that he intended for either himself or Luther to be killed in the process. In the end Reed choose to die rather than face prison time when he deliberately insulted Zoe Luther in front of Mark North in order to provoke North to give the order to Alice Morgan to kill him.
Key Life Events
|Series 1 Characters|
John Luther • Alice Morgan • Ian Reed • Zoe Luther • Mark North • Rose Teller • Justin Ripley • Martin Schenk