Let’s talk about a TV show. Since I got Netflix, I’ve been watching a lot more TV shows, mostly via binge watching. One show on Netflix that I liked a lot was Luther. It’s a British detective show, and it is awesome. Again, this isn’t for the kiddies. It’s dark and violent, full of self-administered justice in the back alleys of London. The titular John Luther, played by Idris Elba, tries to always do the right thing, which isn’t always the legal thing. And, in my opinion, the show only gets better as it progresses.
My favorite character is Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson, introduced in the first episode. A sociopath (although in the show, they call her a something narcissist. Maybe that’s a British thing?) and a killer, I’d never want to meet her in real life, but, man, is she awesome to watch. I smiled whenever she came onscreen, knowing that anyone who got in her way would either live to regret it, or not live at all.
The actors and writers did a good job working together to bring the characters to life. All the characters had believable motivations. The mysteries were interesting, but not as interesting as the way that Luther approached them. I personally like my cop shows with a heavy amount of “taking the law into your own hands” and Luther sure has a lot of that.
There is a delicate balance between having characters who are awesome at what it is they do and giving them obstacles to face that are difficult, but not impossible. Luther strikes this balance perfectly. There is never a moment where the characters look incompetent by the way they are unable to solve a problem, rather, there is a logical reason for why even someone as awesome as Luther couldn’t do what he was trying to do.
If you want to watch a show about a British detective who fights crime by masterfully straddling the line between cop and criminal, Luther is for you.
There’s also a book about Luther called Luther: The Calling. It’s a prequel. I haven’t read is, so I can’t attest to how good it is, but if you like the show, you might want to check it out. I might end up checking it out. If I do, I’ll talk about it here.