Lucifer returns to Netflix on August 21 with the first eight episodes of its 16-episode fifth season—with a sixth and final season already planned. That means season five will likely start setting the show’s endgame in motion, but it’ll still have time for plenty of devilish hijinks. Are you all caught up?
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that Lucifer isn’t as complex as, say, Westworld. You don’t really need much of a primer to get up to speed. The series—loosely based on the DC Comics character co-created by Neil Gaiman for The Sandman, and about as equally loosely inspired by Satan himself—aims to entertain more than anything else.
Its celestial characters have superpowers and an array of otherworldly problems, while its human characters solve racy and/or wacky murders for the LAPD (and puzzle over what, exactly, those celestial beings are up to). Everyone is insanely good-looking. And Lucifer, whose post-season three leap from Fox to Netflix was in no small thanks to its passionate fan base, has gleefully milked the chemistry between no-nonsense homicide detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) and the Prince of Darkness himself (Tom Ellis) the entire time it’s been on the air.
Armed with just that knowledge, you’re pretty much set to dive into the new season. But just in case you want a little more detail, check out the catch-up we shared ahead of season four—and read on for where things stand now.
Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis)—fallen angel with major daddy issues—gets bored in Hell and heads to Los Angeles to open a nightclub and indulge in every sin possible with humanity. In the first episode, he crosses paths with LAPD homicide detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), and they become an unlikely but surprisingly effective crime-solving team. Why would Lucifer want to solve crimes? Well, he’s very into punishment; it’s kind of his thing. But then he starts to genuinely enjoy it, and he definitely likes spending time with Chloe.
Other key characters include Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt), a torture demon who left Hell with Lucifer and worked as a bartender in his club before realizing her true destiny as a badass bounty hunter; Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), an angel who initially came to Earth to convince Lucifer to return to Hell, but soon morphed from antagonist to important ally; Dan (Kevin Alejandro), Chloe’s ex-husband, co-parent to their young daughter, and fellow LAPD detective; Ella (Aimee Garcia), chipper LAPD forensics expert; and Dr. Linda (Rachael Harris), Lucifer’s therapist and the first human character to understand the hellish truth about her complicated patient. (At the very end of season three, Chloe also finally learned the truth, too.) Loyalties have shifted and changed over the years, with the occasional person-A-trying-to-kill-person-B situation, but generally this core group has stuck together.
Each season has also introduced an important supporting character or two. In season two, Tricia Helfer played Lucifer and Amenadiel’s mother, a goddess who turned up on Earth after, you guessed it, escaping Hell. She inhabited the recently deceased body of high-powered attorney Charlotte Richards and proceeded to wreak all manner of havoc trying to force her way into Heaven. In season three, after “Mum” was dispatched into another dimension, Helfer returned to play the real Charlotte, who became a DA as part of her quest for redemption. Season three also brought us Tom Welling as Chloe’s new boss, Lt. Pierce, who turned out to actually be Cain from the Bible. He was also a fleeting love interest for Chloe, to Lucifer’s disgust. (Both Charlotte and Pierce died pretty spectacularly in season three, but Helfer is such a fan favorite it seems likely the immortal Mum will pop up again.)
Season four introduced the bewitching, hard-partying Eve (Inbar Lavi), as in Garden of Eden Eve, who becomes yet another obstacle to Chloe and Lucifer realizing their true feelings for each other. We also met the slippery Father Kinley (Graham McTavish), who preyed on a vulnerable Chloe to turn her against Lucifer, and—when that plan failed—later became possessed by a very disobedient demon. And there’s another new character who’ll no doubt have a role to play in future seasons: Amenadiel and Linda’s half-angel son, Charlie.
Season four leaned heavily into the Chloe-Lucifer relationship. Her horror over realizing his true identity was a major theme throughout, and the season ended on a huge cliffhanger: in the interest of preventing Earth from being overrun with rampaging demons, Lucifer decided he’s got no choice but to return to his throne in the underworld. Just as he’s about to peace out, Chloe says she loves him despite all the devil stuff, and they share a teary good-bye smooch. So season five is going to have to address that.
Meanwhile, Dan is starting to work through his grief over losing Charlotte, who he fell for in both her incarnations. Amenadiel, Linda, and “Auntie Maze” are raising baby Charlie. Eve, who caught Maze’s eye near the end of the season, took off on her own voyage of self-discovery, as all Lucifer characters do eventually—though chances are good she’ll be back.
The season five trailer revealed that Lucifer will return to Earth as expected—except not, because Lucifer is dusting off the old evil-twin trope to introduce us to... Michael, who somehow doesn’t have an English accent!
Thanks to publicity photos released by Netflix, we also know there’ll be a black-and-white, alt-universe episode set in the 1940s—a first for Lucifer, though the show has done a few previous standalone episodes focusing on flashbacks and adventures that are set apart from the main storyline. An Entertainment Weekly interview with the showrunners also noted that there’ll be “a self-deprecating hour in which the arrogant showrunner of a series about the Devil solving crimes is murdered” as well as “a full-blown musical episode coming in the back half of the season.”
Also, Chloe has bangs!
Really, though, the reason to watch Lucifer is the same as it’s always been. It’s fun! It features plots that find reasons for the Devil to strip down and investigate a murder among nudists, or a leather-clad demon lady to single-handedly incapacitate a bunch of gangsters, or a magical knife to rip through an entire room packed with yoga cultists. Lucifer is a show that knows exactly what it is, and it’s gotten awfully good at that.
But Lucifer has also evolved; season four featured a plot that introduced Amenadiel to the concept of racist police, a shock for an angel who’d never experienced racism before, and who counts cops like Chloe and Dan among his closest friends. For a show that prefers its drama to play out in over-the-top fantasy terms, it was a notable inclusion.
The first eight episodes of Lucifer’s fifth season hit Netflix on August 21.
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