May 5, 2010

NOT COOLER THAN BROTHER MOUZONE:

Luther, BBC One, review: Serena Davies reviews Luther, the new BBC One crime drama starring The Wire's Idris Elba (Serena Davies, 5/03/10, Daily Telegraph)

The BBC has done a very clever thing with its new cop series, Luther (BBC One). It has cast The Coolest Man In The World in the lead role. This man is Idris Elba. [...]

Luther, it turns out, is a zany detective series set on the mean streets of London. It’s beautifully shot, full of slick architectural vistas, and boasts the versatile and saucy Ruth Wilson as its villainess, an astrophysicist prodigy who shot her parents.

It is formulaic, though. Its “big idea” is that we know the killer from the start of each episode – something Columbo did for decades. Spooks writer Neil Cross has created a maverick cop who is haunted by that maverick cop cliché of having killed a man while on the job. His team think he’s unreliable but keep him on because of his brilliant criminal intuition (see also Wallander, Cracker, Prime Suspect).

And, unfortunately, Luther lets Elba down. That “brilliant” intuition isn’t brilliant enough. Its chief example last night came when Luther realised he was interviewing the guilty party because she didn’t yawn when he did, from which he decided she lacked empathy and had to be a murderer. By that logic, several of my colleagues are serial killers.


A few years back he was on an episode of Inspector Lynley and I was impressed at how good his accent was.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 5, 2010 5:21 AM
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