Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Elba plays Detective John Luther, a detective for the London police department who has serious demons. Luther is a brilliant investigator, but he has anger management problems, a messed up personal life that keeps intruding on his work, and a personal code of justice that sometimes has him going outside of the roles of law in order to catch the bad guys. Also, he's a bit of a an ass, but Idris Elba is such an amazing actor that he's able to make it all work and come together in a way that the titular character is admirable, scary, honorable, despicable, cold, and charming. This is some of the finest work currently being done by one of the best actors around. If you're a fan of the actor, you won't be disappointed.
As a police procedural, however, it's not that great. The stories are very clever and all of the actors are fine, but it's just a bit too dark, too unengaged, and too impossible to believe throughout. I just find don't think that a London cop tracks down a different serial killer every week, especially not ones whose crimes are as grotesque and depraved as the ones found in this series. And while Luther's deductions are often very clever and well thought out, they too often border on the supernaturally clairvoyant.
So I liked this show, but I didn't love it. I loved the main performance by Idris Elba and I enjoyed the London setting, but I found the stories to be far too dark and far too unbelievable. It's definitely worth checking out for Elba, however, who's still one stone cold cool mother.