LUTHER Season 1: The Lowdown

Luther Season 1: The Lowdown

Premiering this Sunday, October 17 at 10:00 p.m. on BBC America is the UK show LUTHER. I had the opportunity to preview the first three episodes and now I am left wanting more. As I was not able to watch all three episodes back-to-back, I would find myself craving the next one in between viewings. That is a sign to me that Luther is a show worth watching.

Luther is a police show but more in the vein of Dexter than NYPD Blue. It centers around Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) John Luther, an outstanding detective on London’s Special Crime Unit, who has just recently returned from a leave of absence after a psychological breakdown that resulted in the possible end of his marriage. Cleared of any wrongdoing, and feeling emotionally healthy, Luther is back on the job and on the task of winning back his estrange wife, Zoe. Unfortunately, Zoe has other plans.

Each episode of the three I have seen so far has one major villain committing crimes akin to those one would see on Criminal Minds. Luther is particularly adept at solving the murders and tracking the murderers. Perhaps it is because he is not that all that different from them. Although it is evident that Luther is loyal, dedicated and working for the dead and their survivors, it is also apparent that below the surface lies something a bit darker. Luther himself asks of another detective “Do you not worry that you are on the devil’s side without knowing it?” I think that is a worry that Luther has every day. There is a very gray area between good and evil. Is it evil to kill someone that has hurt others? That is something with which Luther struggles.

The series starts off with a bang – a double homicide and a bloodied daughter as a witness. As the investigation turn towards the daughter, Alice Morgan, Luther finds himself both appalled and fascinated with her. Alice Morgan is brilliant, cold and very much like Luther himself. She is a series regular and Luther finds himself seeking her out repeatedly under the guise of telling her to stay away. Alice and Luther get themselves almost impossibly intertwined to the point that you are not sure which one needs the other more. It is an intriguing puzzle and leaves the viewer wondering how this relationship will end. Is it okay to befriend a possible killer?

The plot lines range from murderers with kinky appetites to those with a true motive for vengeance. Each villain and his or her crime is spectacular in their own way. While some of it is a bit unbelievable, I don’t think your run of the mill crimes would work on a show like Luther. The audience is immediately shown the murderer and quite often bits of why the crime is being committed and then gets to follow the detectives along as they figure it out.

The acting in this series is outstanding. Luther is played by Idris Elba, formerly of The Wire. I have never watched The Wire but I did recognize Alba. Before I did recognize him however, I immediately thought how truly original his accent was on this show. It was easy to see it was not faked. That makes Alba’s acting on The Wire that much more incredible as he had absolutely no accent ever. Speaking of accents, they can be quite heavy at times, especially Alba’s. I found at times if I was not concentrating enough, whole sentences would go by and I would have no clue what was said. I really did not view that as a detriment as I love accents, but if that is something that annoys you, you might have a problem with Luther.

Also outstanding in her role is Ruth Wilson as Alice Morgan. Wilson has appeared in The Prisoner and Jane Eyre. I had not seen her before so I have nothing to compare her to, but I am in awe every time she appears on screen. It is almost as if she was born to play that role. In fact, I was disappointed when the story centered around others besides Luther and Alice.

I am definitely a fan of this show and will be tuning in after the first three episodes. If you like Criminal Minds or Dexter and are a fan of grittier police shows, you should give Luther a chance. You won’t be disappointed. Did I mention the soundtrack? It is nothing short of awesome. In fact, I plan on downloading many of the songs. From the moody red and yellow credits until the last song plays over the credits, Luther had me for every minute.

Give it a chance this Sunday October 17 on BBC America and see if it grabs you as well. Then come back here and tell me what you think in the comments below. I would love to hear from other Luther fans!

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