Luther (starring Idris Elba)

Has anyone else gotten into this British police drama?

Idris Elba is an excellent British actor. He appeared in one season of The Office (American version) in which he was made the Scranton office manager during the season when Michael Scott left the company to start his own paper company.

In Luther, he speaks with a British accent and I would never have believed that he was a Brit after seeing him in The Office because when he spoke on that show, there was never any trace of a British accent.

But Luther (it’s named Luther because Elba plays the lead character named John Luther) is really very good. There is a lot of drama and the way it’s produced is quite different from most TV police dramas.

The first episode introduced us to a woman who threatens both Luther and his ex-wife. But although you would expect Luther to arrest that woman and put her behind bars, she keeps appearing in new episodes as a recurring character while Luther solves new crimes each week.

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a crime drama do that before.

I really like the show except that they keep referring to British things and I have no idea what some of them are.

For example, they keep referring to “calling 999” which is apparently the same as calling “911” here. There are several other things like that which is really kind of amusing. I should make a list so that I can ask some British people what some of these things mean. But it’s kind of fun to have them persist as a kind of mystery.

Does anyone know what the equivalent in Britain is to “Directory Assistance”? They have referred several times to dialing 611. Could that be it?

It’s an interesting, if somewhat contrived and stylized, show with an outstanding performance by Elba (who also played Stringer Bell in The Wire), Saskia Reeves as DCI Teller (who I always mistake for Emma Thompson) and Paul McGann. Alice Morgan (played to the sociopathic hilt by Ruth Wilson) is captivating as the only person who really understands Luther’s obsessiveness and pragmatism. I think the third series had difficulty maintaining steam but it offered an excellent ending to the show without bailing out. In many ways it is comparable to Sherlock with Morgan standing in as an amoral Dr. Watson, and the show lacks somewhat in her absence.


I enjoyed it. My husband was really taken with Alice. I’m not sure what to make of that.

Elba is a charismatic dude, no two ways. Stringer was an asshole in any number of ways but Elba acted him so charismatically that that I just couldn’t help having a certain grudging admiration.

We like it but it’s just a British version of the same crappy cop shows we do here. It’s just good because of Idris Elba. I think we just think it’s classy because everybody’s got an accent.

Plus if we see that Alice creature one more time I swear…

She is like the enchanting girl next door who suddenly becomes an evil, manipulative harpy; a sort of cannibal-less Hannibal Lector. She is the woman every man wants and the nightmare everybody dreads.

She’s awesome!

Actually, I think Ruth Wilson is a fantastic actress and she’s played a set of diverse roles very ably. I look forward to seeing her in other works in the future.

“Close that do’, man. Make sure that do’ locked, ya yeah?” Stringer Bell was one of my three favorite characters on the show (along with Michael and Bunny Colvin) and I think one of the best scenes was the post-death scene with McNulty walking around Stringer’s tastefully decorated apartment with a bookcase of classic strategy tiles and saying to himself, “Who the fuck was I chasing?”

Or maybe Stringer in his community college business class soliciting his professor for help on selling his sub-par product, and then repeating the lesson to his co-op.

Or Stringer and Avon on the rooftop, each talking past each other about what they want for the future, with both already having betrayed the other.

Or…well, let’s just say, Elba had more than his fair share of great scenes in The Wire.


I watched a few, but gave it up. Elba is definitely sexy as hell, but geez, he makes Eliot Stabler look like Mr. Mellow.

It’s a great show that loses steam a little bit as it shifts from “Luther is a brilliant cop whose psyche is riven by moral compromise” to “Luther is a brilliant detective who somehow gets himself into and out of insanely complicated problems.” The first season is excellent and I think the second is really great, too, but the third didn’t live up to the same standard. If they do a movie I hope it feels more like the earlier episodes.

I liked it a lot, but had a little trouble with the increased violence and craziness in the third series until I changed my perspective to thinking of it more as a comic book with superhero caricatures. Then it was still worth watching, if not as good as the first two series. That made Ruth Wilson more enjoyable too.

I am saving watching Idris Elba in Pacific Rim for a time I need a lift.

Warren Brown also impressed me. I know he’s been in other cop shows. Is there anything else anyone would recommend him in?

Came across this yesterday, back assward.

Was watching Thor 2: Even Thorier when I recognized Heimdahl as the guy who played Marshal Pentecost in Pacific Rim. Posted as much on my FB page. Someone mentioned he had been in The Wire (sorry, never watched it), so I looked up his IMDB page and saw Luthor.

Then I pulled up my Amazon Prime streaming video app and saw they have the first two series free. :slight_smile:

4:20 into the first episode and you know he’s a bastard. :eek:

It’s a decent show, but really it was always Alice that made the show a bit interesting but her’s isn’t the name in the title.

The show’s creator said that he wants to make a show about her and that the BBC is interested, but we’ll see.

After watching all the episodes, I must admit to being disappointed in how it has turned out. I was hoping it would become a top notch show. But I have now given up on it and I’m currently hoping to find some other good programs.

If you fancy another British cop series, try Line of Duty. The second series has just finished, to make a total of 11 episodes. It’s great.

Agreed, it doesn’t quite work.

Alice/Ruth stole every scene she was in imo, and I could understand the need to limit her involvement given it was a vehicle for Elba.

Her character is worth working on and, in saying that, I believe I speak for the whole of male humanity.

Urrrgh, no it isn’t! She’s the same boring sociopath they get out of the bin of boring sociopaths down at Central Casting! She ruins the whole show!

Yes! The super competent sociopath that is always 5 steps ahead of everyone else. Bo-ring!

In the beginning, I was afraid Luther would be just another boring morally corrupt cop on the edge, but I would have taken that over Alice. I have not watched series 2 or 3 because I was afraid it would be all Alice & Luther, BFFs, not even two sides of the same coin, but rather, two of a kind. I’m tired of shows where the ostensible ‘hero’ is not in any way a good person (never watched The Shield for that reason).

It isn’t at all. In fact,

She’s only in the first episode of series two and the last one of series three.

Interesting. From this thread I would have assumed that was not the case. May have to reevaluate.

I tried to get into the show. It’s extremely well-done, including excellent acting. However, it also focuses on every element of the Sherlock Holmes cliche that I dislike (the killer leaving clues so you can catch him, the nemesis criminal, the mentally unstable genius who makes impossible connections). I’m not normally a big fan of investigative dramas anyway.

I didn’t have any problems with Britishisms, but I do watch a fair amount of their TV already.

Not a big fan of the show. Elba is great, as usual, and I love me some Ruth Wilson… but the whole story tries very hard to distance itself from the standard procedurals by being bleaker than bleak.

Luther not only is sometimes a few minutes short of saving the victim or managing to apprehend the criminal, but all the time, every single episode. Stuff goes from bad to worse, the main arcs become too contrived (was it season 3 where he was blackmailed by mobsters for some nonsensical reason?).

My main gripe, however, is that Elba is too good for it.