Wednesday, 5 May 2010


[8.37 - French Time] With Neil Cross (Spooks) as creator/writer and Idris Elba (The Wire) as its star, new BBC crime drama Luther inspired the highest expectations.

DCI John Luther (Elba) is a genius murder detective but he has serious psychological issues and an obvious anger management problem. After several months of suspension because he spared the community some money and time on the case of a child kidnapper, Luther is back on the job.

His first new case is Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), Oxford graduate and former child prodigy, who survived a slaughter in the family house - dog included. John quickly understands (during the interrogation) that she did it but the beautiful young woman appears to be a very dangerous adversary. She starts a mind game with the detective, tries to seduce him and even threatens the life of Luther's estranged wife (Indira Varma).

Many rather elitist critics consider HBO's The Wire as the ultimate American TV drama and believe British television fiction should use it as an example to follow. For them watching the rightfully successful Idris Elba in this six-part crime series must be a dream come true.

Credit must be given to the BBC for their ambitions. Luther is a dark, stylish, psychological thriller with a fine cast - Saskia Reeves, Paul McGann, etc - and a theme song by Massive Attack (Paradise Circus). Unfortunately and surprisingly, Episode 1 is cliché-ridden: the maverick/tormented cop working on the edge, the brainy and attractive Catherine Tramell type sociopath, the "By the book gov", the hero who scares his wife while he tries to protect her...

Luther is a British answer to the tiresome overdose of US network police procedurals. We'll see next week if it is another generic cop show in spite of Idris Elba's formidable on-screen presence.

Tuesday 9pm (British Time) on BBC One.

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