RECOMMENDED: BBC's "Luther"
- by Ninja Ross, 10 July 2013
There are a lot of cop dramas in the world. I mean A LOT. Too many, one might say. But there are those that remind us why the genre is so popular. They bring back the originality, the interesting characters and the fascinating stories. For every Rizzoli and Isles or Body of Proof, there’s a Castle or a Luther. Something worth watching.
Luther is a British T.V show created by Neil Cross, starring Idris Elba as the violent, intelligent Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. A man who gets lost in the crimes he tries to solve and, occasionally, gets a little too close.
It doesn’t SOUND very original. In fact it sounds almost cliché. But it’s the execution that makes Luther original, rather than the concept.
The RPG killer is actually the one that stands out for me in series two; a lot of crime dramas have an episode similar to that, often with appalling mistakes that paint us as obnoxious idiots. But with Luther there’s nothing else besides the killer using the rules of a game to plan each kill. It’s just a psychopath being a psychopath. While the show still has problems with clichés it at least proves that those clichés can be great T.V.
While the cases are pretty interesting in their own way, it’s really the characters that make the show as fresh and original as it is. Specifically John Luther himself.
He’s one angry guy, I tell you what. There’s a scene in the first episode, shortly after he returns from suspension and a break down, where he’s visiting his ex wife. After a not so great chat he literally kicks a door to pieces. This scene in particular gives an incredible glimpse into Luther’s character. At first we seem him a troubled man with some degree of control over his violent, obsessive tendencies but here we seem him lose all of that control. Both Sam Miller’s directing of this scene, and Elba and Indira Varma’s acting give it a gravity that you just don’t see in many cop shows that claim to be gritty or dark.
Of course, Luther isn’t the only character to love. One of the most interesting in the show is Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson. She’s introduced in the first episode first as a victim but quickly spotted as the nut job she is by Luther.
Alice is, quite literally, Luther’s opposite. She’s Luther’s Moriarty. She’s a psychopath who kills just because she likes it; she has no real feelings or emotions, besides an obsession with Luther. Of course, that obsession goes both ways and a more complex relationship is born, changing it from a simple “cat and mouse” story.
Of course, there’s also the straight guy. The cop who wants to do things by the book. The straight guy for Luther is DS Justin Ripley, played by Warren Brown.
Ripley isn’t your average whining good guy. He doesn’t spend all his time saying “but that’s not faaaaaaair!” whenever Luther does something... Less than legal. He’s an interesting character in his own right. He’s naive but, like Luther, wants nothing more than to put the bad guys away. It’s interesting to see how he learns from Luther while still maintaining his own ethics.
The first two Series are available in America via BBC America and possibly Netflix while the third series started last week in Britain. If you haven’t already seen it, I can’t recommend this show enough.
Have you seen Luther? Has this suggestion made you want to see it? Let us know below!