Idris Elba was known simply as “that bloke from The Wire” when Luther hit our screens for the first time last year. To be fair he’s still known mainly for his forays in the criminal world of Baltimore, but that shouldn’t take away from his performance as the fractured but mercurial detective in BBC’s well-pitched crime drama. The Wire might be one of the finest TV shows in history, but British audiences were also quite partial to DCI John Luther and thus he returns to our screens for a four-part miniseries this summer. Bring it on..
A cross between Sherlock Holmes, Columbo and a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown, the star of the show is a troubled soul haunted by his past, though always striving to do the right thing whatever the consequences. Season two returns to this old theme, kicking-off with Luther playing Russian roulette over coffee before leaving for work. Whether a man who is still mourning the murder of his estranged wife should be back at work is another question entirely – and let’s face it, he wasn’t exactly a stable character before that tragedy..
Delightfully dark, this opener follows an inverted detective format, which essentially means that the viewer is aware of the killer for a lot of the episode, but has no notion of how they will be caught. To give you an idea of what to expect, this week’s episode features a Scream-like masked killer who hunts women in lonely dark streets, with Luther also rescuing a prostitute from a Necrophilia themed porn film shoot.
If this introduction is anything to go by, then we can expect plenty of suspense in the upcoming series, with enough surprises to keep us entertained. Episode one was delightfully written and beautifully filmed, with excellent casting and some very realistic and creepy acting. Like last season, it also has some silly moments that raise an intentional smile, an example of this being a drug-addict trying to rob a Karate club.
Yet overall the series has retained its dark, grimy and slick ambience that fans of the last series will know and love. We’re also be pleased to see that the psychopathic Alice Morgan (played by Ruth Wilson) is still part of the series – despite the fact that she has been confined to a very very high security institution. Silence Of The Lambs anyone?