(Hy)Lights #16 – Luther (Full Series Review)

Original Date: September 7, 2013



You know, I never knew much about the world of British programming or programmes as they call it and you know at this age, the age of the internet and all, you can’t escape from it and I’m not going to say which nationality has the better shows. Both countries got their best and their worst. From shows like The IT Crowd, The original version of The Office, Sherlock, Torchwood, Spaced Out, Skins, Misfits, and of course the infamous long-running show known as Doctor Who. Well, like I said, I don’t know much about it and I’m sure in the future, I’ll watch some of those shows (at least the ones that are short in total length – maybe Misfits, I heard good things about it.) but for now, I’m reviewing one show that I have been curious about ever since I knew of its existence and also I did notice it during awards season (the Golden Globes 2011, that is.) and that show, ladies and gentlemen, is Luther.

John Luther is a Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) working for the Serious Crime Unit in series one, and the new Serious and Serial Crime Unit in series two and three. A dedicated police officer, Luther is obsessive, possessed, and sometimes dangerous in the violence of his fixations. However, Luther has paid a heavy price for his dedication; he has never been able to prevent himself from being consumed by the darkness of the crimes with which he deals. For Luther, the job always comes first. His dedication is a curse and a blessing, both for him and those close to him. He is unable to arrest Alice Morgan, the murderer in the first episode, and for the rest of the first series she becomes his confidante, giving him an insight into the motivations of other criminals.

Now from that description, you should know that the show uses the inverted detective format like Columbo with some elements of Sherlock Holmes thrown in or as it’s called the “howcatchem”, which is the opposite of the whodunit format of mystery drama shows as in this is that show that goes into the head of what a criminal will do and why he or she did it but unlike most American crime shows, they don’t neander on it and lose focus on what purpose they got for doing that sort of thing and wonder off to some unimportant plotline. Luckily, this entire series consist of 14 episodes (6 eps. During the first series and 4 each on both latter series), but I’m not saying no secondary storyline or plot exists. They do and most of the time, I was fine with what was written there. Plus, some of the lighter moments are needed since there is a lot of murder in this show and believe me, don’t expect too many clean resolutions in here and don’t get me wrong. That’s good in a series like this; that’s what I like about this show because the unpredictability of it kept me in suspense. I wouldn’t know if this specific person is going to live or die or if it’s going to go well for them.

If I were to compare seasons (or series), I would say series 1 was the strongest performer for me, just for introducing one of the interesting characters on the show and also a favorite character of mine and others who have watched the show, Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson. I don’t know if comparing her to Hannibal Lecter but I did kind of felt like if she was a female counterpart of him; an intelligent psychopath who knows how the psychopathic mind works and performed well as both ally and enemy to John Luther. However, when it comes to the later series, she isn’t much of a presence at all….although she did appear in the last episode of Series 3 and for the record, no spoilers! (Watch the show for your damn self to see!!)


However, Series 2 wasn’t the weakest just because Alice Morgan wasn’t there, but it’s more of the downtime portion of the series. There is no major murder of a reoccurring character but more of how the events of Series 1 effected all the characters, especially Luther himself. While watching Series 3, the one thing that carried from Series 2 was how Luther is more suspicious in the eyes of DS Erin Grey and DS George Stark, whom she worked with investigating Luther.

As for Idris Elba, for an actor who mostly played supporting roles for most of his filmography and few leads to projects that aren’t that great or just unnoticed, he deliberately acted his ass off for this role; a detective whose basic instinct is when their loved ones are harmed or endangered, they want to act on that quick and will do anything to for him, even if it means to kill those who are endangered but he’s a detective, a police officer, as in, there are consequences if he tried to do that.


Music is definitely minimal at best but it provides the ambience of the tone of the show and it is me or does using Massive Attack songs always works when picking a theme? Yes, I’m a fan of the British ambient electronica group and their song “Paradise Circus” serves as the main opening theme of the show. There are various pop/rock/R&B songs that played but rather in the end of each episode and no, I don’t know most of the songs. Try looking them up for yourself.

FINAL VERDICT: Luther is highly recommended on my watch list and I suggest many of you who are interested in either British television and/or crime dramas that are more unique and different than the average procedural should try out. There’s great acting, it’ll keep you in suspense with its haunting moments, and it doesn’t go overlong with their secondary plots.



So how do I rate this show?



And until then, this is MAK2.0 aka The Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one case.


LUTHER – courtesy of The BBC.




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