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4.5 out of 5 stars147
4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 5 August 2011
The plots were a bit fantastical but clearly this quite gripping if a bit gory police procedural was really all about the relationships.

The two central women were either the best actors or got the best lines. It was as though they'd watched Alan Rickman in Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves and decided to steal the series in much the same way that he blew away Kevin Costner.

DCI Luther's tortured persona was completed out-acted by both Zoe Luther (who played being a real person better than most of them) and the completely enchanting psychopath Alice Morgan.

His opposite number DCI Ian Reed seemed to channeling Dennis Waterman's DS George Carter from The Sweeney. His boss DSU Rose Gray seemed to have been an (over) promoted Sergeant June Ackland from The Bill .

The crims all seemed to more credible than DCI Luther. DS Ripley seemed more credible. Only Zoe's cardboard cutout of a boyf seemed less credible.

Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy watching this well-above average show, it's just that sticking a "name" in the middle might not be necessary but it certainly isn't sufficient.

Alice, (truly, they should have spun her out into her own show) could have been a British Wendy Kroy in The Last Seduction. Hoping to get some more of her I looked for Series 2, but her absence/brief appearance will save me the trouble of watching it.
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on 19 May 2016
This is where it all began. My Luther addiction!
Inspired first season and all that has followed.. Excellent!
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on 13 May 2016
bought for my friend as a birthday present. Loved watching again and again.
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on 29 April 2012
A unique BBC series with a strange moral compass. "Luther" is a complicated central character with more than his share of problems. In the first episode, Detective John Luther, is released from a psychiatric hospital back under the watchful gaze of the police department. His beloved estranged wife has taken a lover, & to complicate matters he unwittingly engages the obsessive admiration of an amoral killer he has failed to convict.
Despite these stumbling blocks, Luther is insightful & brilliant, solving case after twisted case; perhaps guilty of dragging innocents down with him in his ruthless pursuit of convictions.

Clever, quick & very engaging.
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on 29 March 2016
Great introduction to what looks like a good series
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on 16 January 2012
Did I commit a sacrilege by expressing my very honest thoughts in the title? I leave it to you to judge me, but please let me absolutely candid in my inferences, and they are: -

1) This is a very good show, and despite all the deliberate drama that had to go into the script to make the life & times of a police officer, who is compared to "nitroglycerine" by his superiors, watchable "prime-time", you would be actually feeling the pain & loneliness of our hero, as he moves from one typhoon to another hurricane.

2) Idris Alba stands tall & heroic, and is very ably accompanied by the other characters in this show, almost all of them in varying shades of grey; but the way he was set up and eventually the way the crisis was resolved (?!), both were frankly too much, too dramatic. Good for one-time viewing, but if that's the point then the future of this series is doubtful.

3) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had made a glorious mess when he had created Professor Moriarty simply to dispose off his popular creation, without realising that he had stated a hard fact (uttered by Holmes, no less) long back: belittling the anatgonist drags down the protagonist as well (I am sorry I don't remember the quotation, so I am explaining). Hence, the opposite must also be true, i.e. stronger the antagonist, stronger the protagonist. Professor Moriarty and his absolute darkness has kept Holmes relevant till date, way beyond anything Sir Arthur might have dreamt. Alice Morrison is that dark beacon (I am losing it, isn't it?) that keeps John Luther shining bright, and it was Ruth Wilson's brilliance that has kept my interest in this series alive.

So, I would definitely like to recommend you towards this tightly paced drama that revolves around Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. But I would be coming back to it only for Alice. Honest.
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on 16 January 2014
This is truly edge-of-your-seat drama, though be warned, it's very brutal.

The feel of Luther is almost American. I don't mean that in a Hollywood way, but more in the way of American TV Dramas like The Wire, from a shaky scale of morality to the arty music of the titles to the shots of next week's episode interspersed with the credits (the latter idea is brilliant- wonder if anyone's done it before?).

It's true that Idris Elba does play John Luther as 'shouty angry cop' (think Boyd from Waking The Dead)and he does that crime drama thing of picking out a detail and instantly deducing something about a suspect, or even identifying the killer! However I think it works- partly because it adds some levity to a show where morality goes out the window and partly because he's the central character of the show. He's got to have something interesting about him. It also adds some delicious ambiguity- is Luther really psychotic? And when the stakes are so high, is it worth employing someone who's a bit of a maverick if it gets results? Every crime show has a detective who 'doesn't do things by the rules' and you always wonder why they would employ someone like that, but Luther genuinely tries to explore it. The show suggests two things- one, that Luther is a genius, and two, that it's only his personal integrity that stops him from being one of the psychopaths. If you're looking for a more upbeat version of that, Sherlock is a good alternative.

What is unusual for a British crime show is that despite the episodes focusing on a different crime each week, there is an over-riding arc centred around an odd sort of love square. John Luther's wife Zoe (Indira Varma) is torn between her loyalty to John and her lover Mark North (Paul McGann). I take exception to the idea that they are cardboard cut-outs. In any drama, you have characters which are less developed as their main importance is their relationship to the protagonist. I think there are elements of those characters they could have played with more- Zoe (and maybe Mark as well) is a human rights lawyer, so she has even more reason to feel horrified by some of the things Luther does. Because Varma plays Zoe as normal, some viewers might see the character as weak, but her reactions make far more sense than characters in other shows. Her affair with Mark is not simply playing around whilst her husband's away; there's a sweet little scene where Zoe playfully throws toast at Mark, and the viewer knows that these two are right for each other.

Luther of course is still desperately in love with Zoe and detests Mark but Mark actually comes out quite well. McGann is a very good actor anyway but he's particularly good at taking weak scripts or 2D characters and making them feel like people. At the end of the day, Mark just wants to be with the woman he's meant to be with and his requests that Zoe stay away from Luther are quite understandable. Again, because McGann plays the character as normal, whereas other characters are hammed up a bit more, you might see that as weak, but it's vital that Zoe and Mark come across as normal 'good' people.

This is where the fourth point of the square come in: Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson). Alice is a psychotic genius and one body away from being a serial killer. Try as he might, Luther can't pin anything on her. But she's not his nemesis simply because she evades capture; she is obsessed with Luther and sees him as a sort of soulmate. As the series progresses, you start to wonder whether there isn't some truth in that...

The message of Luther (the show) seems rather grim and depressing: morality is a myth, a beautiful lie, and in order to get anything done, you have to ignore it. Writer Neil Cross is mistaken in not bringing Zoe and Mark into the argument more- after all, morality is their job. Hopefully this idea might be developed in Series 2. Overall though, I think that Cross isn't simply trying to make as grim and bleak a show as possible. Characters develop- for better or worse- over the course of the series, as does the theme of how notions of 'right' and 'wrong' contrast with personal desire.

Luther's colleagues are all interesting as well; I won't go into any detail about them because they tie into the story. Of course, the general feeling around the office is that Luther is a loose cannon (again, see Sherlock) and that his temper will get the better of him. However, he does have one supporter- rookie detective Justin Ripley (Warren Brown), who sees the goodness behind John's temper.

Luther is, in summary, a tightly woven drama that raises a lot of ethical questions, provides some human drama, a bit of romance and some cracking thriller moments. At the finale, I was literally on the edge of my seat, squealing at the TV. It also has an advantage over American shows in that this series has only 6 episodes, so there's no filler- just thriller.

As for the product itself, I haven't bought it yet. It has the advantage of having subtitles, which I think should be compulsory for all DVD releases, and there's a 'making of' type documentary. Personally, I would have preferred audio commentaries, but the play's the thing.
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on 4 April 2016
Loved it! Id rid Elba is an amazing actor.
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on 17 December 2014
An excellently written, directed and acted series. Idris is brilliant as the lead in this crime thriller. Would have loved more series so fingers crossed for the future. Probably not for the faint hearted as very gritty. Highly recommended.
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on 19 October 2013
The acting is superb as is the writing. Recommended for adults who like complex drama. Idris Elba gives a masterful performance.
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