I initially became aware of Idris Elba as Charles, the new jerk boss on The Office, along with what I must assume is a very bad thriller flick starring Beyoncé called Obsessed. I never said anything bad about Elba, but if I had, I would immediately take it back after seeing the first episode of Luther. So consider yourself the recipient of a fictitious retraction of a fictitious criticism Mr. Elba.
Luther, created by Neil Cross, the follows the life of Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, and the extreme cases he encounters on London’s Serious Crime Unit. Luther has a reputation of being a “dirty cop,” with many rumors of him circulating, including intentionally putting a child killer in a coma. After that particular incident, Luther is suspended for seven months, and tries to put his life and his marriage back in order upon his return. Over the course of Series 1 (yes I am calling it “Series 1,” deal with it yanks!) Luther deals with a failing marriage, Internal Affairs investigating him and begins a strange friendship with a woman named Alice (Ruth Wilson) whom he believes to be a killer. The last detail of that chain of events is just one example at how unconventional and unexpected Luther is.
Idris Elba has won two Golden Globes for his role as John Luther, a man who is both strikingly brilliant and unbelievably stupid (emotionally). He’s got a temper shorter than his little finger, often resulting in violent explosions. (Dude punched down a door with his bare hands in the first episode!) Luther is an unpredictable character who is frequently fueled by a righteous rage. Ruth Wilson’s character Alice is equally as mesmerizing. Her performance goes from frightening to playful at the drop of a hat, and its a lot of fun to watch.
I am not usually a big fan of cop/procedural dramas, but I highly recommend the first two series of Luther. To those of you worried about adding another TV show to your list, I say fret not. Luther’s first series is six episodes long and the second series is only four episodes, giving you plenty of time to catch up before the third one airs (currently in production.) As a friend of mine once said: “That’s the great thing about British TV, they give you closure.”
Luther is an almost too fast-paced series that involves some great crime TV as well as one of the best performances the UK has to offer.
Final Grade: ★★★★½ 4.5/5 Stars
Rent It? Only if you are a fan of things that are awesome.