Luther Season One
Starring: Idris Elba, Steven Mackintosh, Warren Brown, Indira Varma, Paul McGann
Writers: Neil Cross
A 2010 BBC show about a brilliant detective who is called to investigate unusual crimes.
Just not the one you think.
No, today we’re taking a look at Luther, a very different good show which sticks out of the bunch with its format, characters, crimes and passion.
But, first, who is Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, played by Idris Elba? Well, as cliché as it sounds, he’s not your typical cop. And, you’ll laugh, he’s a cop on the edge. Already I see you losing interest, but you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t because this show plays it straights to the extreme and you find yourself afraid of what he does next. How does a cop under investigation for putting a child killer in a coma and whose wife has decided she loves another man react to violent crimes? The answer will have you on the edge of your seat.
The show isn’t done toying with you. While John’s marital problems amplify, he finds himself drawn to the girl that got away. No, really, Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson, is a psychopath who got away with the cold blooded murder of her parents in the first episode. Their relationship goes from cold like a crocodile’s blood to hot like a tango played on a guitar with bloody piano wires for strings. It’s probably the best chemistry I’ve seen in a show in quite a while.
Knowing that, would you believe me if I told you this show has something in common with Columbo? Because it does. See, this show does not take you along for the ride with the detective, asking you if you can figure out whodunit before him. This show, like Columbo, shows you who the killer is from the get go and its all about figuring out a way to catch him. Some may say this doesn’t work, that this format doesn’t have tension. Some would be wrong. It is especially when the clock is ticking, when Luther and you both know who the killer is and when you share with him the impulse of wanting to throw the rulebook out the window that this show will have your blood pumping.
This feeling of uncertainty, this fear that John could lose it at any moment is the focal point of the whole 6 episodes arc. Each 1 hour episode is good on its own, safe for the last two which must be watched together, but the show shines when watched as one long TV movie. I know I’ve done it. Didn’t have much choice in the matter, the show simply puts you under its spell.
Being a BBC show, it’s hard to find and somewhat expensive. Again, like most BBC shows, it’s really worth it. There’s another season on DVD and a third in the works. As far as I’m concerned, I need to see them. Yesterday in fact. There’s also a prequel book, Luther: The Calling, by show creator Neil Cross which details the investigation of the child killer Luther ‘‘accidentally’’ put in a coma at the beginning of the show. That’s going on my ‘’to read’’ list.