Luther the TV Series from BBC Worth Watching
Spoiler Alert-Spoiler Alert
For anyone wishing to watch the series, Spoiler Alert, there are some interesting facts revealed. Even if they have been included in the review, the series is still well worth watching.
Luther is a BBC television series well worth a double take by American audiences who love a crime drama show
Although Britain has brightened the days of countless Americans with lots of comedy, there are few crime drama shows on the BBC which really capture the attention. The television show Luther is certainly turned out to be one of them. Missing out on the show which makes the senses tinkle, the heart tick and the brain burn is skipping a weakly dose of healthy adrenalin rush.
DCI (detective chief inspector) John Luther is a London copper well known to the public here in the states by other names. The actor is Idris Alba. His acting has carried him through a series of roles in the movies. He has had roles in Thor, No Good Deed, Pacific Rim and Knight Rider. Most recently he portrayed the South African leader Nelson Mandela to critical acclaim. Although the big screen has been kind to Alba, the small screen really sees him shine in his role as a tortured soul of the London police force.
Alba has been nominated more than once for an Emmy and Golden Globe Award. Finally he did win for Best Actor in a Television Mini Series against stiff competition at the 69th Annual Golden Globes.
Billed as a psychological crime drama the writer and creator Neil Cross saw a run of merely three seasons with Luther. The fourth season did not materialize after the end of the last one in 2013. Still the popularity of the series both home and abroad encouraged Cross into making plans to turn it into a feature film.
Even though concluding in the summer of 2013 the dream is still alive to recreate more episodes. Adris Alba admitted in November of 2014 there is a vision of revamping Luther still alive in the minds of the actors, writers, directors and producers. Whether this will occur is a question unanswered at this time.
One of the attractions of the character John Luther is the tortured soul he possesses. He is clever, noble and obsessed with seeing bad guys behind bars. In the course of the series we see the steep price he pays for getting the job done.
Another appealing trait of the main character besides his bravery is the large and bulky presence of the man hides a gentle nature. The enormous amount of gentleness behind the large exterior is revealed as the plots and stories unravel.
He is the good guy who does some questionable things in order to see the greater good achieved. The means justifies the ends for the detective which puts him in a precarious position with lots of people, including his bosses. He is ultimately investigated by the British version of Police Internal Affairs. They are also conflicted by Luther’s actions, thoughts and the greater good outcome.
There are times when Luther is an outcast among fellow officers and then a hero. He is ostracized by the same team of fellow workers and then they rally around to help him. The plots and scenarios are interesting to say the least. The actors are phenomenal and there is always a surprise coming. Most of these types of entertainment shows are predictable, but the writers have actually given up something new and exciting which keeps the heart beating and the brain guessing until the end of each episode.
The series has been shown all around the world. Countries like Turkey, Slavakia, Canada, Australia and American audiences are able to view on Netflix.
What makes him tick
Season one has the star Luther in a rough break up with his wife on the verge of a divorce and his best friend in trouble. His best buddy murders Luther’s wife after years of working together. He is now a widower at the hands of his best friend, but still believes in the oath of being a copper in Great Britain.
In the first season also shows us Luther is a loner and apart from other officers and team members. He appears to have a closer connection to the criminal element.
There are two characters which shape John Luther into the man behind the badge. One is Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) and the other is Justin Ripley (Warren Brown).
Alice is the wife who accepts John for who he is. His wife Zoe (Indira Varma) is killed in Season 1, but hates his work. Alice relishes the work and is attracted to it in a morbid way. Justin is his protégé and enamored with the investigative skills he owns. John takes him under his wing as sort of a son symbol.
One accused criminal in particular is drawn to him and he finds the unwanted attention of a serial killer. Both cunning and brilliant, she likes Luther for his skills and cunning.
Alice Morgan enters the picture as a mild mannered matron who is a genius as deception who has been accused of killing her parents. The question of whether she did or did not do it is answered.
She is attracted to him and shows attention by killing anyone in his way and doing him personal “favors” he would never imagine as a lawman. She has no qualms doing it and admitting to him she is the culprit. Anything she perceives as a real or imagined threat to him is eliminated. Miss Alice Morgan is a sociopath and she is in love with him.
The immediate feelings of disgust by the viewers with Alice are turned to pity and then something else as her relationship with John evolves. The final episode in season 3 makes a viewer question if Alice loves John in her own twisted way.
Alice makes sacrifices to her freedom; she is a fugitive from justice, for John. She kills for him when he is unable to cross the line and finally she sacrifices her life to save a woman he loves. What begins as an odd sort of friendship turns into something else for both of them. There is never a physical relationship, not for Alice’s lack of trying, but John always leaves distance in this aspect from her because of her previous actions. Although she has done some sacrificing for him, she is still a killer.
Justin is in awe of Luther and as the Seasons evolves turns from a bright eyed and bushy tailed fan to his own man. Luther admits Justin is ready for his own protégé by the final season, but the unthinkable happens. He never gets to be the mentor Luther mentions.
Justin is pulled into a web of lies and deceit by Internal Affairs which has him taking a second look at Luther and his methods. Is there really a method to the madness or has he finally succumbed to the sorrow of his life and the criminal element he chases.
Although the audience is convinced of his decision to turn against his mentor, again there is a plot twist.
The other characters which fill the empty spaces in between episodes are all convincing and credible. The story stays true to life with the correct players. From the wife Zoe to his best friend Ian Reed (Steven MacIntosh), they all bring something to the table which adds to the main character. They give a viewer insight and knowledge unable to be portrayed through dialogue. This is what makes viewers tune in and anxious for the next segment of the storyline.
Zoe is killed in Season 1 and John finally rekindles some love in his life by Season 3. However, everyone he cares about through all three Seasons is killed in some morose entanglement or attachment to John. Although he is seeking happiness with new love in the last season, he doesn’t fulfill the need.
None of the misfortune is his fault, but they are all better off not knowing him. He is the most unlucky penny when it comes to everyone in his life. The only surviving member by the end of the series is Alice.
The future of the show
The writers must have known there may or may not be room for a Season 4 because at the end of the third season a question remains whether or not Luther would remain on the force.
One of the things which stuck out as unusual in the show was the amount of gun violence. In a country where guns are forbidden, even the police do not carry them; there is a gun battle or gun play in every show.
Writers including this facet push the drama up a notch for British audiences not used to gun violence on such a large scale. Compared with American television it is about average. Yet, seeing a police officer chase down a suspect carrying a sawed off shotgun without a weapon is unbelievable at times.
One of the things which make a show great is having the right characters in the right roles. Terrific writing is also a must along with believable stories and plots which make a viewer think. This has all of the elements needed for success.
Fans are hoping to see a feature film or a Season four. The future will tell where John Luther goes. Alba is busy on the big screen, but illuminates the small one even better.
John Luther does have some bind to the criminals he pursues, but he is not one of them. His moral compass is turned the right way, but then again he always finds he has to do some questionable actions for the people he loves.
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