Whilst watching The Wire some time back I did not realize Idris Elba was British, he wore a very convincing American accent as the drug-dealing Stringer Bell. In Luther, Elba restores his native British accent and steps to the enforcing side of the law as a London detective with a penchant for chasing down clever serial killers.
The character development is good, Luther being a street level cop with a keen instinct for understanding criminal behavior and an unswerving confidence in those instincts. This confidence causes routine conflicts with superiors, however he is usually spot on. Whatever psychological advantage he possesses at work is a disastrous disadvantage when it comes to relationships otherwise. While this theme is not new to crime dramas, the plot is fresh and Elba’s performance is convincing.
Alice, a suspected serial killer, presents the first of many odd story arcs. Luther attempts to prove her guilt even though, we as the audience know she’s guilty, she is also very clever at covering her tracks and injecting doubt. Alice is more adept at psychological cat-n-mouse than Luther but shes also disturbed and over-confident. Alice and Luther develop a bizarre relationship characterized by precarious high-wire balance and high-stakes card calling. Ruth Wilson brilliantly plays Alice; she imparts a pairing of intellectual strength and emotional damage with chilling effect.
London is always good setting for a taut psychological crime drama; the city is simultaneously sophisticated, sexy, menacing and unpredictable, which makes it a pivotal character and reflects perfectly the characteristics of Luther making it an entertaining watch.
Only 14 episodes were made, most of which are free on Amazon Prime.