Actor Idris Elba stars at the center of the hard-hitting BBC drama, Luther. Bearing the namesake of its main character, the show centers around the life of DCI John Luther as he struggles to reign in his own demons while ridding London streets of dangerous criminals. His unorthodox, sometimes violent methods of doling out justice earns him the scrutiny of his colleagues. Luther walks a truly deadly path when he becomes tangled with brilliant and twisted criminal sociopath Alice Morgan. If that isn’t enough to make viewers curious about Luther, here are eight more reasons to give the 16-episode series a try.
01 The Characters
Idris Elba is an acting powerhouse. The Golden Globe winner has a commanding presence on screen. He portrays John as a quiet man with a deep voice, distinct walk and a sharp mind. Idris’ portrayal of John is fascinating to watch. The character’s unstable relationships and dangerous mindset slowly break him down throughout the series and Idris gives viewers the impression that John is a bottle trying to contain too much pressure.
Ruth Wilson‘s portrayal of Alice Morgan is as beautiful and chilling as the character herself. John and Alice meet after her parents are murdered. John quickly deduces that Alice is responsible. However, he is unable to prove it. Alice worms her way into the fabric of John’s life and remains a fixture there for the rest of the series. The two characters develop a twisted sort of affection for one another that anchors the plot of the two-part special.
A dark, gritty London provides the backdrop for the series. The city is a character in and of itself. Viewers see Luther navigate the poshest of neighborhoods as well as dank warehouses, blood-soaked crime scenes and his own bare dwelling. The office that John and his team work out of his a hub of activity and contrasts sharply to his own home, which is almost depressingly minimalist.
The television show was created by screenwriter and novelist Neil Cross, whose work includes British favorites like “Doctor Who,” “Spooks” as well as the international horror film, “Mama.” Fans of Cross’ work may appreciate the heaviness of “Luther” and what it does to keep viewers from getting too comfortable.
Tense and engaging. These two words can sum up the plot of “Luther,” but they would not be enough. The plot of “Luther” is startling in a number of ways. Unexpected character deaths, moral dilemmas and forcing the viewers to question their perception of motive are just a few of the ways Luther challenges the audience.
The wardrobe for “Luther” was a surprisingly pleasant element of the show. Such a dark, gritty setting can either demand equally dark aesthetics or something startling and bright as contrast. In “Luther,” we are treated to both. The most memorable piece from the series is John’s long, sturdy gray coat, paired with a striking red tie that he dons and wears about to work in the same manner of Batman or Superman. When the coat goes on, John goes to work.
Another lovely wardrobe element is the pallet of Alice. Her hair is a rich red, often with lipstick to match, and she wears brilliant turquoise colors and rich, succulent purples throughout the series. Her wardrobe is seductive but also brings to mind something dangerous.
BBC dramas are notorious for being short. (We’re looking at you, “Sherlock”). “Luther” could have ended at series three. It left us with a slight cliff hanger but the relationship and future of Alice and Luther was open to fan interpretation. Instead of leaving it that way, the show returned with the two-part special that certainly lived up to the episodes before it.
07 Unexpected twists and turns
Each season of “Luther” brings new characters, plots and surprises to the table. Throughout the series, characters are revealed to be more than they seem.
08 Leaves you wanting more
“Luther” returned for a two-episode special. John can’t escape his old life despite his best efforts. The apparent death of Alice, which John comes to believe was murder, prompts the detective to return to his old ways in order to drum up information and track down her killers. It is difficult to explain without laying down major spoilers. Viewers will be shocked to learn that nothing is ever what it seems.
Want to see for yourself? Catch “Luther” in action on Netflix.