Friday, February 18, 2011

Mike Says: Try a Police Procedural with a British Flair

Luther starring Idris Elba & Ruth Wilson

I have to admit, I'm pretty picky when it comes to starting a new television show--there's so many great shows out there like Mad Men and Curb Your Enthusiasm that I tend to not watch a show and risk investing an entire season's worth of time on what turns out to be a mediocre story. On top of it all I never watch crime dramas; that is, with one notable exception that I've previously gushed about. Which brings us to why I began watching a British psychological police drama: Idris Elba was one of the best characters in that fantastic cops-and-gangsters show The Wire, so when I heard about Luther I decided to give it a try. To say I wasn't disappointed is a massive understatement.

John Luther is a criminal investigations detective who has fallen from grace and suffered a nervous breakdown but is back from a year's suspension and plunges headlong into his work. I'm not giving anything away when I say that the reason he was suspended is because he allowed a particularly odious criminal to plunge to what should have been his death, and this is the twist that the entire season turns on--that a police officer, who has never been one to follow procedures before, would take the law entirely into his own hands and become judge, jury, and executioner. He's done it once, so who is to say he's not to do it again? This pull only becomes stronger as he befriends another murderer who begins to play a cat-and-mouse game with Luther's life. This is recommended for any police procedural fan, people who thought Stringer Bell was the greatest thing since sliced bread, BBC Anglophiles, and anyone else who enjoys a decent story.

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