What's remarkable about "Luther" is how series creator Neil Cross takes a rag-tag bag of clichés--brilliant but damaged rogue cop, long-suffering boss, genius killer, etc.--and makes it all seem so fresh. Of course, having the fantastic Idris Elba helps immeasurably. He doesn't just act the part of Luther; he is Luther, fully inhabiting the role and moving like a force of nature through every scene. This is one of those rare times where you see an actor's innate intelligence and physicality used perfectly. (Watching Luther decompensate, as he does at various times over the story arc, is really something to see.) Elba is matched every step of the way by Ruth Wilson, playing a sort of female Hannibal Lector--brilliant, amoral, remorseless, scary, and, I daresay, sexy. She and Elba make quite a pair, and their interplay is priceless.
Finally, it's worth noting that this series, while ostensibly a cop show, has its own look and feel. It plays more like a beautifully filmed, weird morality play. (Cross makes the point that Luther believes in only two things, life and love, though the viewer will quickly see that, despite his damaged psyche and emotional baggage, he also ultimately believes in himself.) Some may think that it's just insane, far-fetched, and way over the top. (which it sometimes is if you look closely and cynically). But I think that it exudes a unique vibe. Take a look at the impressionistic opening credits with Massive Attack on the soundtrack, and you'll know right up front that this is something special.
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