Henry is the adopted son of Jeremy and Jan Madsen. His birth mother was a prostitute who used to abuse him as an infant. When her gentleman callers would arrive, she would lock him in a cupboard. He was 2 years of age when he is adopted, and Jan, his mother, admits she did not like the look of him when she saw him. She was unable to bring herself to love him as mother loves her child, and she feels that Henry knew this and that is why he behaved so badly.
Henry has a long juvenile record. At age 7, while Jeremy and Jan went out for dinner, they left him with a babysitter and he set fire to his bed. He went on to commit acts of animal cruelty, shoplifting, burglary, and sexual misconduct. At age 14 he tried to kill his adoptive parents by setting fire to their beds. He was imprisoned in a juvenile detention centre until he was 21. After his release, he immediately visited Jeremy and Jan and told them that he would start a family of his own, but they were dead to him.
The only interest Henry ever showed in anything was animals. At a young age, Jeremy and Jan brought home a mongrel dog, Digby, and gave it to Henry. A few weeks later it ran away, but they suspect Henry killed it. He would later become a veterinarian, working specifically for Gary Braddon under the alias of Henry Mercer. He would treat dogs injured during dog fights. It would seem that the dogs deemed unable to fight, he would take home and keep in his basement.
Henry appears in the novel Luther: The Calling, which details his background and his murder of the Lamberts and Daltons. He never felt as though he truly fit in; he craved a normal life, a normal family. Sometime in the early 1990s, Madsen attempted to kidnap Thomas Kintry, a young black boy living in Bristol. The kidnapping failed, but worked as a practice run, giving Madsen experience for future kidnappings. He is known to have kidnapped Adrian York, an even younger boy taken during his parents' messy divorce. The kidnapping was made to look like the boy's father, David York, took him back to Australia. When the courts ruled in favour of David, portraying Adrian's mother as an unfit parent, Adrian's "disappearance" was never looked into. Henry brutally raised Adrian, whom he named Patrick, giving him frequent beatings and teaching him how to break into houses and murder people. He and Patrick also lived in numerous cities across the United Kingdom and even abroad, possibly in France.
As an adult living in London, Henry began following people who interested him. One young Asian woman he followed home and observed her on a date with her boyfriend. He later broke into her house, watched them sleep, and masturbated into a pair of discarded panties. He continued to follow people, invade their homes, film them sleeping, eating, using the toilet, and having sex. As his interest grew in creating a family of his own, he began kidnapping women and chaining them in his basement. He would feed and exercise them in an attempt to make them more likely to become pregnant, but it did not work. His first two victims were Joanne and Lindsay, prostitutes, and later Oona, a woman he witnessed walking home drunk after arguing with her boyfriend. After all three failed to quicken, he killed them and fed them to his dogs.
Henry then began exploring other options in order to acquire a child. Under the alias 'Mr Torbalan', Henry looked into buying an orphan from Eastern Europe through Vasile Sava, but worries the child won't have good genes. He begins following families, and acquires the keys to the households of 16 families. He meets with Steve Bixby and, through him, partners himself with "Sweet" Jane Carr. With her, the pair pose as social workers and attempt to steal babies that way. When that fails, Henry and Jane, under the alias of Barry and Lynda, begin attending meetings for couples who have difficulty conceiving. There, he becomes obsessed with Tom and Sarah Lambert. Upon realising that Sarah is pregnant, he begins to plot how he can steal her baby.
When Sarah is eight and a half months pregnant, Henry breaks into their house and murders Tom; he cuts Tom open from throat to pubis, castrates him and places his penis and testicles in his mouth. He then kills Sarah and carefully cuts her unborn foetus from the womb. He brings the child home, names her Emma, and tries to feed her. Unfortunately, Emma becomes ill and dies. Henry, under the alias 'Pete Black', calls into London Talk FM, a radio station, and informs host Maggie Reilly that he is the Lamberts' killer. He tells her that so long as police refrain from staking out the hospitals in London, he will return the child so she can be rescued. However, it was all part of his plan in order to blame police for the child's death. He later stuffs the corpse in a shallow grave in a central London church and claims that he saw police at every hospital he went to. During the night, multiple people are attacked under the suspicion that they are Pete Black.
Angry, Henry turns his attention to the Dalton family (one of his 16 families). He and Patrick invade their home, killing father Marcus, mother Steph, son Dan, and au pair Gabriella Magnoli. The pair brutally beat the family, with Henry butchering them. He later arranges the family into morbid poses, decapitating all of them; he places Dan's head on his mother's corpse, and arranges Gabriella so she is sitting in a chair with her head in her lap. Mia Dalton, their 11 year old daughter, is able to escape into the neighbour's back garden, but is cornered by Patrick. However, he finally musters the courage to stand up to Henry. He and Mia flee to Henry's car, but he chases after them. He stabs Patrick multiple times, believing to have killed him, and catches Mia, taking her to his hideout.
He later burns his hideout down, releasing his dogs (which he has drugged, so they are agitated and attack emergency workers). He first tries to sell Mia to Steve Bixby, a paedophile and associate. When that fails, he buries Mia in a box with a limited amount of oxygen and then calls his adoptive parents. He tells them that if they don't pay him the money he needs, Mia will die. Around the same time, the SCU discovers his identity and the whereabouts of his parents. DCI John Luther and DS Isobel Howie arrive at their house to question them. However, Luther quickly deduces that Henry is in fact within the house and is holding them hostage. He believes he is upstairs with his father, so he begins to head up the stairs while Howie escorts Jan out the kitchen door. However, Henry was, in fact, in the kitchen and attacks the pair with a screwdriver, gravely wounding Howie and killing Jan by driving the tool through her eye socket. Luther is able to subdue him, but he realises that Henry will not reveal Mia's location. So, before emergency workers arrive, Luther takes Henry to his car and takes him away with the intention of torturing him until he reveals where she is hidden.
Luther arrives at a small scrapyard where a number of abandoned cars lie. He places Henry within an old caravan and makes a few calls. While doing so, Henry escapes and Luther pursues him through the forest and into an old industrial area. He flees into an old brewery, but he becomes cornered atop a deep chasm. He falls and, dangling from the edge, Luther pries Mia's location from Henry. However, rather than help him up, Luther becomes enraged and steps on his fingers, causing Henry to fall. The fall does not kill him, but he breaks many bones and is rendered comatose.
In the television series, Henry appears in the opening scene of S01E01, in which he is being chased through a factory by Luther. He crosses a walkway but becomes cornered. Arming himself with a pipe, he charges at Luther across the walkway, only for it to break beneath him. He grabs on to the ledge and begs Luther to pull him up, but Luther uses this as leverage in order to learn of the location of Mia Dalton, a girl whom he had recently kidnapped. However, once Mia has been confirmed to be safe, Luther still lets Madsen fall. He survives, but is hospitalised and comatose.
Madsen makes his final appearance in S01E04, in which he is smothered to death by Alice. She killed him in an attempt to win Luther's favour.
|Series 1 Characters|
John Luther • Alice Morgan • Ian Reed • Zoe Luther • Mark North • Rose Teller • Justin Ripley • Martin Schenk