It’s hard not to watch Luther and understand why folks are abuzz about it. Luther is one of those shows that solidifies that credentials of all those involved. In this case, we’re talking about Idris Elba. The way he moves, the way he speaks, the way he delivers a character with such sharp fangs, it’s brilliant. Luther makes me want more of these cop dramas. It makes me want more and more of these gritty true crime stories that bring to life urban locales such as London’s busy streets. It’s quite hard to pick apart a show as complex as Luther, but in today’s Show Time, we’re going to be doing just that. Hang on to your hats folks, this is a wild one.
To start, I just want to say that I’m happy Luther exists. The reason for this is that there are WAY too many Sherlock Holmes clones at this point. Sure, some like House are great. Honestly though, I’m seeing about as many Sherlock Holmes ripoffs as the market can handle. Sure, Luther is a great detective…but he feels like just that. Holmes feels larger than life, his powers of deduction are phenomenal. Luther feels like a cop whose just a little crooked trying to do the right thing. The change of pace is utterly refreshing. One thing that isn’t however, is the lack of character progression.
You see, I do hate to knock Luther. As mentioned prior, however, it’s an extremely complex show. What makes Luther good is its sense of escalating story. Each season truly feels like the crimes DCI (Detective Chief Inspector) John Luther works to take down truly need his presence. They don’t shelve him, they don’t put him in a corner. He’s always on the front line, and even if the side characters are given presence, you’re always reminded that this is Luther’s story. Unfortunately, with so much of the microscope being pointed at Luther, you start to realize something. His character never really evolves.
From the start, we’re introduced to a certain type of man. This man is angry, embittered, and often enraged. This serves as the vehicle for much of DCI Luther’s motivations. It also serves as the underlying premise of much of the distrust that is served his way by friends and co workers. However, one day it just…stops. There’s no explanation as to why it stops, but it does. From season one to season two, and then into three, Luther suddenly calms down. It actually comes as a bit of a shock. We don’t see him flinging chairs through windows, destroying his desk, punching walls, or anything similar. The reason this is so major is because there are so many moments throughout the series where you’re just waiting for Luther to explode. It’s a major change in character that breaks your connection with him almost instantly.
That aside, I do need to compliment the show. The show is brilliantly shot, and well acted. Although the show can be full of Deus Machinas (A.K.A Alice) it’s well thought out at its core. The villains are compelling, and watching Luther’s life spiral out of control while he solves these crimes is extremely compelling. There’s something extremely endearing about a man under pressure managing to simply perform. It’s also pretty cool that Luther usually takes all the risks himself, rather than delegating. Characters like Ripley and Alice compliment the series, and you’re never annoyed by their presence…although Alice can sometimes end up being a cop out when they’ve written themselves into a corner.
Ultimately, the show is brilliant in its own right. Well acted scenes and brilliantly shot cinematography keep your attention for the duration of the series. Short seasons make for easy consumption/binge watching, and you can view the first three seasons on Netflix. The fourth season is only two episodes long, so if you’re willing to track it down, it’s pretty easy to get in a solid viewing. I’d definitely recommend Luther for anyone who loves gritty cop dramas such as True Detective, although it’s definitely not a show you’ll watch over and over again.
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