Posted by: Paul | May 19, 2010

A Lutheran convert

Ruth Wilson as the icy Alice Morgan in Luther

Despite it’s staid and unoriginal framework, I’m totally into Luther now. My goodness, for what’s essentially a police procedural, this is audacious and dramatic television. The Beeb have also clearly spent quite a lot of money on the series – not only to secure a quality cast (in addition to Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson, we’re treated to Steven Mackintosh, Indira Varma, Paul McGann and Saskia Reeves, among others) but also in the staging – episode two was awash with shootings and exploding buildings, it was action packed stuff. If this is what my licence fee is going on – more please. And soon.

For me it’s almost all about the performances. Elba is brutally honest, a glowering presence but immensely likeable. Ruth Wilson is icily detached but with a mischevious glint in her eye – like a Praying Mantis about to eat her mate. Last week’s main villain, played by rent-a-hard-man Sean Pertwee, was chillingly authentic and the exchanges between him and Luther were gripping.

It’s also becoming notable for it’s jaw-dropping opening scenes. Last week opened with the shooting of two policemen by what they thought was a dead body – I nearly jumped out of my skin. And last night, a terrifying home invasion by Paul Rhys playing a lascivious serial murderer posing as a police officer –

“Is there anyone else at home who might be able to…help you?”

Just thinking about what he did next sends shivers down my spine. Brrrrrr.

It’s not without it’s plot holes and slightly dodgy fudging of some solutions and situations, but overall the scripts are tight and with flashes of brilliance, with some fantastic one liners. My wife also thinks it’s somewhat blokish, which might account for my growing obsession with the series. She’s enjoying it, but it’s got me in its headlights like almost no other British show – certainly nothing which is currently screening.

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