With Lucifer Season 4 now on Netflix UK (read our review here), the question for many newcomers is whether they need to have seen Seasons 1 to 3 or not.
After all, in a show about the son of God, the original fallen angel, giving up his divine responsibilities to have fun running a nightclub in Los Angeles (where he helps an LAPD detective to solve crimes), there’s a lot of mythology to wade through. With all those three seasons still on Amazon Prime Video (who bought the exclusive UK rights to the show back when it first aired), the good news is that you can read our catch-up guide and dive right into Season 4 without an additional subscription.
For those who want to get the full picture, though, 57 episodes can still be a bit daunting to binge through – so we’ve whittled down the first three seasons to the essential episodes to watch to get yourself properly up to speed.
Here are the 17 best episodes of Lucifer Seasons 1 to 3:
Season 1, Episode 4
You don’t need to see Lucifer’s opening episodes to get the gist of the show, so skip the intros and start with the first bit of character development, when Lucifer (Tom Ellis) discovers that he might not be as immortal and invincible as he first believed. Helping FBI agent Chloe (Lauren German) to track down a missing girl, while trying to seduce her and better understand her, the fast-paced hour has all the information you need to get into Lucie’s groove – including his brother, Amenadiel (trying to persuade Lucifer to return him), confronting helpful demon Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt) about him, which sets into play their complex, shifting relationship. More on him next episode, but for now, the idea that Lucifer can sometimes by physically vulnerable is the first step to having sympathy for the devil.
Season 1, Episode 5
Lucifer agrees to investigate an shoe designer who used to be in a street gang, less because he wants to help Chloe, and more because he wants to test his newfound mortality. There’s fun in that crazed excitement at finding something new and unknown about himself, and Tom Ellis sells it with manic glee, but the best thing on offer here is the chance to spend more time with Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), as he surprises Dr. Martin at her officer and pretends to be a fellow therapist so he can quiz her on Lucifer. Not only is it a vital step for Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris) to move from being a one-note fling for Lucifer, but it’s also the first time we see Amenadiel is willing to be deceitful to get Lucifer to do what he wants.
Season 1, Episode 7
Lucifer’s wings are a major part of the show’s mythology, with Lucifer having removed them and kept them safely in storage. When they apparently get put up for auction, Lucifer and Amenadiel spring into action, but Lucifer only ends up showing us and him how far he’s willing to go to stop him having to go back to hell.
Season 1, Episode 9
Fear the Walking Dead MVP Colman Domingo is fantastic as a guest star in this one-off episode, which sees a priest see out Lucifer’s help to unearth a possible drug ring in the local youth centre. Tom Ellis’ piano playing is one of the highlights of the series, and the chance to see him and Domingo both duetting at the ivories is one of the programme’s biggest treats to date.
Season 1, Episode 12
Lucifer is a show that lives on the grey areas between good and evil, in dismantling the moral absolutism of either side. Enter a group of Satanists, who show just how not-evil Lucifer can be, as he is appalled by the murder of a woman found on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the group of occultists linked to the homicide.
Season 1, Episode 13
Season 1’s penultimate episode leads right into a killer finale, with Lucifer framed for murder by a sinister figure who has managed to acquire an otherworldly dagger that’s capable of killing angels and demons, as well as humans. And so the quest is on to clear Lucifer’s name, but it also gives us a glimpse of Lucie being hurt by Chloe not trusting him, a moment of peril for Amenadiel, a moment of compassion for Maze, and a burst of justified anger from Linda. And, of course, there’s the cliffhanger revelation that someone new has broken out of hell: Lucifer’s mum.
Season 2, Episode 4
Another episode to watch for other reasons than the case-of-the-week, as Lucifer and Maze have a bet to get the latter to take Chloe out for drinks. What emerges is a ladies’ night out that gets Maze, Chloe and Linda to bond together, giving each character a real chance to shine and bring a hefty dose of giggles to the table.
Season 2, Episode 5
“I came to tell you that you have 24 hours. Either return here with mom or I’ll finish what I started with your detective.” That’s Uriel, Lucifer’s older brother and not a nice one at that – he’s there to drag him back to hell, and that (plus the threat of killing Chloe to get his way) is enough to send Lucifer and Uriel into a tense showdown that ends with Lucie stabbing his sibling. It’s a huge moment for Lucifer’s moral compass, which points to humans over his own family, and leaves him wracked with guilt – another chance for Ellis to add another layer to the devil himself.
Season 2, Episode 6
With Lucifer’s mum now confirmed as using the body of normal human Charlotte as a host, this episode gives us a chance to get to know her, as she and Amenadiel have a heart-to-heat. With Lucifer on a self-destructive streak, meanwhile, we get to spend some quality time with “Detective Douche” Dan, Chloe’s ex, which gives him a welcome bit of substance – but the real reason to tune in here is the light relief offered by Trixie (the increasingly scene-stealing Scarlett Estevez), Chloe’s daughter, who is taken trick-or-treating by (you guessed it) Maze. Her back-and-forth with Brandt is huge fun, not least because of Trixie’s unconditional acceptance of everything dark and dangerous about Maze – exactly the kind of thing that softens her up and leads him feeling more at human on Earth.
Season 2, Episode 7
Now, it’s Lauren German’s opportunity to sink her teeth into some dramatic material, as she discovers the killer of her father has been murdered, opening up an episode that explores revenge, grudges and paying things forward that’s deceptively well thought-out. Meanwhile, there’s more fun to be had with Dan, as Lucifer shadows him in an attempt to learn how to be more “normal” – right down to them wearing identical baseball caps.
Season 2, Episode 9
Lucifer’s sense of home takes front stage here, as the person who owns the building of his nightclub, LUX, is murdered, and the new owner promptly tries to evict him so they can demolish the place. Crucially, Chloe helps to support him as they work to keep him on Earth in a place where he feels comfortable and wanted. This sets the stage for Amenadiel’s similar acceptance of where his home is in Season 3 and 4.
Season 2, Episode 13
As Season 2 enters its end game, Chloe has been poisoned by a nasty professor, prompting him to travel to hell to get the antidote… from the professor’s own soul. It’s a nifty sequence, and visually quite jaw-dropping, as we get a taste of the show’s version of the afterlife, but it’s also an internal struggle for Lucie, as he has to confront his guilt about killing Uriel while down in the underworld.
Season 2, Episode 18
How do you solve a problem like Lucifer’s mum, aka. God’s wife and the Goddess of the universe? It’s a moral dilemma for Lucie, as he refuses to send her to Heaven and suggests she can rule over hell instead – something that she violently refuses to do. What follows is a moving finale that centres around the notion of moving forwards rather than stepping back, and leaves Charlotte coming back to life as a human and being rather confused about everythig.
Season 3, Episode 3
By now, one of the best things about Lucifer isn’t Tom Ellis or even the show’s mythology, but the amount of time the series is willing to devote to its supporting characters. Best of all is Maze, and the best episode, perhaps, of the first three seasons is Mr. & Mrs. Mazikeen Smith, which sees Maze head to Canada on a bounty hunter case for the police – and finds herself tempted to start a new life with him. The only thing better than Brandt getting more character (and fight scenes) to play with? Lucie’s immortal line, delivered deadpan by Ellis: “I never thought I’d say this detective, but we need to go to Canada.” Action, romance, comedy, this hour has it all.
Season 3, Episode 9
The overall arc for Season 3 revolves around the sinister villain The Sinnerman, and, after seeing nasty deaths and suspecting that this bad guy kidnapped Lucifer at the end of Season 2 and reattached his wings, this episode brings that into focus. While Chloe, Dan and forensics whiz Ella Lopez deal with their awkward new boss, Lucifer is dealing with a similarly dubious force, coming face-to-face with the killer – and being outsmarted all the way.
Season 3, Episode 10
This is the episode that finally gives us our first reveal of The Sinnerman’s identity – Cain, yes that one from the Bible – but also finds Lucifer struggling with an increasingly strong conscience, which is interfering with his work.
Season 3, Episode 24
There’s nothing like an impressive display of angel wings to save the day, and they certainly prove useful during a heated shoot-out in Season 3’s finale – and, after a season of struggling to get his Devil Face back, killing The Sinnerman for good is enough to bring out his mojo, and his real visage… just in time for Chloe to see it. After three seasons of her seeming to think his talk of hell, etc., is all a metaphor, this is the major turning point to set up Season 4. And, as a bonus, we get nice moment of resolution between Maze and Linda, who emerge as more important than any romantic feelings between Maze and Amenadiel or Amenadiel and Linda.
All 10 episodes of Lucifer Season 4 are available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription. Season 1 to 3 are available on Amazon Prime Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.