Luther: A BBC Show: The Review

Idris Elba, formerly Stringer Bell in The Wire, is Luther. He is a devoted homicide detective, devoted to the point of obsession but brilliant. If you saw The Wire, one of the best HBO shows ever to hit the screen, you know who Stringer Bell is, the second in command of a vicious drug dealing gang on the streets of Baltimore.

Idris Elba is a method actor; he becomes the character he plays. In Luther, Idris Elba is Luther, haunted by the demons in his own life, he chases serial killers as part of an elite unit of detectives in a city in Europe.

Luther is the best at what he does and he pays a price for it. His marriage is on the rocks; his wife feels that he is always with the dead and thinking about the killers he chases even when he is with her. She takes a lover.

The show begins as Luther is running a child rapist and killer to ground. His unit is looking for the most recent victim who is hidden away somewhere to die. The perp attacks Luther and falls into a hole, grabbing the edge of it and holding on, in the building under construction where the chase has led.

He begs Luther to save him, to pull him up, but Luther says he will not unless the perp reveals where he has hidden his latest victim, in the hopes that the unit can find her before she dies. The perp gives up the information; Luther calls it down to his unit and the rip the wall down in a building and finds the girl while the perp begs Luther to pull him up.

The girl appears to be dead. The head of the unit, a woman driven with passion, gives the girl mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and she comes back to life. In the meantime, on one of the top floors, the perp begs for mercy. Luther, already on the dark side, lets the man fall. The man lives and is in a coma at the hospital. If he wakes up and tells his side of the story, Luther could lose his job.

But that’s only the beginning of a trip into a tense world where serial killers test their imagination against this crack police unit. Luther’s next call is to an alleged home invasion where the father, mother, and the dog lay dead. Alice, the daughter, claims to have come upon the scene and made the call that brings the police to the house.

Alice, played by Ruth Wilson, from The Prisoner, Jane Eyre, is a brilliant mathematician who entered college at the age of 13. She taunts Luther, never giving up any secrets, and Luther is sure she is the killer and will kill again but has no proof that his unit can use to make an arrest.

A twisted game of cat and mouse ensues. In the meantime, his wife reveals that she has taken a lover and Luther goes ballistic, smashing a closet door in what was their apartment to pieces. Later, Alice takes note that Luther is no longer wearing his wedding ring and makes seductive advances to him, which he rebuffs even though one can see he is tempted.

This is one of the most brilliant shows ever produced, in my opinion, and it is 6 episodes long. Everything I have relayed to you takes place in the first episode, yet there is more. Alice, a master at computer seeking, looks up facts about Luther’s life, including who his wife is, and the dubious facts that surround his latest arrest, the man who still lies in a coma.

Alice has a potentially lethal confrontation with Luther’s wife, yet his wife never sees her face. Luther, in a fury, breaks into Alice’s apartment and finds the evidence he needs to arrest her, but because of the way he goes about it the evidence is of no use to him. Alice chases him down by London Bridges and they have a chilling altercation, Alice first threatening his life, then he threatens hers.

Luther goes back to his wife’s house, once their house, bangs on the door, and his wife, at the urging of her new lover, Mark, calls the police. Mark answers the door, a brief physical altercation occurs, and then the police arrive. Luther talks briefly with his wife, they hug while her lover looks on with a look of dismay on his face, then the police take Luther away at his request.

Meanwhile, Alice has dyed her hair blonde and dressed herself in a nurse’s uniform at the hospital where the child serial killer and rapist is awakening from his coma.

Have I told you too much? Have I given too much away? Hardly. There is so much more to come, more vicious killers, a horrifying ambush on the elite unit, the dance between Luther and his wife and Alice.

The show must be obtained online unless you tell Newbury Comics to order it. If enough of you do that, maybe they will. Until then, Amazon.com is the place to purchase this amazing show, directed by Brian Kirk, Sam Miller, & Stefan Schwartz, produced by Katie Swinden & Phillippa Giles. It is a BBC/BBC

America Co-Production.

Idris Elba is at the top of his game, playing a totally different type of character than Stringer Bell, but just as dark. He is brilliant, unstable, and explosive but you will find yourself rooting for him as the demon that lives in humanity spins an irrevocably tightening web around him.

In quality, this show is comparable to The Wire, Breaking Bad, & Homicide: Life On The Streets. As it says on the cover of the DVD, “What if you were on the Devil’s side without knowing it?”

Don’t miss this show! Marc D. Goldfinger is a formerly homeless vendor who is now housed. He can be reached at

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

Related posts

Top