Sunday, 14 October 2018

Luther

Londoner Idris Elba (The Wire, Star Trek Beyond, Pacific Rim) plays DCI John Luther, a copper with anger and violent tendencies but a special insight into understanding the criminal mind and detecting situations. His behaviour is a bit far-fetched, really, and in real life I’m sure that however brilliant an asset he was, he’d be out on his ear. But this is fiction!

I’m very late to the party on this, as it’s been around for nearly a decade, but I’m quite enjoying what I’ve watched so far, taking into account the above! There’s also a disproportionate number of serial killers, activists and gangsters stalking the streets of London, it seems, and we’re offered up a variety of these with differing lengths of stay. Some story-lines run through a whole series, some are short-lived. There’s always the backup plot-lines to follow regarding what’s going on in his private life, corruption and those of the politics in his department at work.

Fellow-Brit Ruth Wilson (Jane Eyre, Saving Mr Banks, The Prisoner) is another consistent through early episodes, which tend to be just under an hour each with varying numbers of episodes for each series. The very capable Dermot Crowley, Michael Smiley and Warren Brown convince amongst a cast of mainly British actors, some better than others, with various backgrounds of TV and film. Attention is paid to photography with some interesting tricks and focusing techniques and direction is shared across the 5 series set amongst 5 people.

I reckon they’ve taken some of the writing cues from Dexter. The side-kick murderous female who Luther/Dexter has to keep liaison with under wraps, have a mutual respect for each other and a sexual chemistry bubbling under the surface. It’s very similar in delivery and style. Wilson plays the first one all a bit tongue-in-cheek, which keeps her scenes light and fluffy, whilst the audience knows very clearly what she's capable of doing!

As I head through series 2 just now, there’s a second female picking up the role where Wilson left off. This dipping in and out with (relatively) well known actors follows the pattern. Take Julia Stiles as Lumen Ann Pierce and John Lithgow as Arthur Mitchell in Dexter again. Seems that actors are attracted to playing the short-lived nasty role and we lap it up!

The show is a very enjoyable BBC offering now available on Netflix in the UK following some patterns as described above of the copper chasing nasty people whilst managing their troublesome home and personal life and balancing the politics and trouble at work. We’ve seen it before, but it done pretty well here. It’s dark and grizzly at times and an entertaining glimpse into the writers’ view of how complicated human beings can be! I haven’t given up yet and am intrigued now enough to continue. Barney Rubble all raaand. Mate.

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