Top critical review
18 people found this helpful
on 18 September 2010
I was drawn to this 6 hour, 6 episode series from the BBC by being familiar with Idris Elba from The Wire and seeing favourable comparisons to other recent surly cop show Justified (Give that a look while you're at it). Those expecting anything in the same vein as The Wire should kibosh that sentiment right now, because if it's realism you're after you're not going to find it here. He's playing a cop from the East End who plays by his own rules, doesn't bow to authority and delivers his lines in capital letters. Often finding himself dealing with the extraordinary, verging on the supernatural, near-genius kind of criminals you don't find on Police, Camera, Action and a pervy taxi driver, Luther himself has his own Special Move. He instantly knows who's guilty. "LOOK AT THAT, SHE YORNED, SHE'S NO EMPAFEE. SHE DID IT.", he'll growl instead of finding evidence, then suspects, then guilty parties. Every little helps when you need to fit things into a 60 minute show.
But what of his personal issues you ask? Divorce. His wife's leaving him because he was too into his work. He was so into the dead he was dead himself. Dead to her. Emotionally dead. One of those, perhaps all. But they're still on speaking terms even after Luther smashes up her living room door once she's found someone else. Mild, mannered white boy Mark North. Luther would deal with it himself but then he'd have to get `Loose Cannon' tattooed on his abs and give the game away.
After the pilot Luther finds himself linked with Alice Morgan, the pilot's antagonist who smoked her dog, and her family. We can tell she's pure evil because she's got fine set of pointy eyebrows and she admits to enjoying sex, the big skank. She proves a help and a hinderance for Luther, whispering bad ideas into his ear like a devil on his shoulder to help he catch some London based Dexter knock offs (Episode #3) or people guilty of embarrassing and completely out of place American accents (#5), all whilst tormenting him with sexual advances and meddling in his affairs with his ex-wife.
Similar set-up for the first 5 out of the 6 episodes, Police procedurals - Luther style, so it's a cop show first and foremost, rather than a deep character study. Even with a second season surely on the horizon I doubt they'll be showing Luther's day off and what he does down in Brighton for the day. The final isn't really a break from the norm, just a moving of the goal posts as Luther finds the tables turned on him with the fuzz on his tail because they found this little thing known as EVIDENCE.
Dark in tone yet slick on the visuals, bad guys don't always get blown to pieces, some don't even get justice and the innocents might get it in the neck. It's Luther World. It happens.
Not always sure of itself, and taking some silly missteps a few times, but that's par for the course on a shows first season. However, it is distinctive and stands out from the ever increasing crowd of Crime fiction of TV and celluloid. Worth a watch.
Episodes #1,#2, #4 were the best if you feel like a trial download.