With Netflix, and other services, TV series have never been so widely available, and the temptation to binge watch a whole season of Breaking Bad in one night can be overwhelming. May contain spoilers.
Luther is a gritty, violent police drama that revolves around a small cast of characters, the star of which is the title character, Luther, who is by no means a standard policeman.
Played by the exceptional Idris Elba, Luther begins the first series returning from a suspension relating to his previous case, but soon finds his life spiraling out of his control and into a dark chaos once again. Working for the Serious Crime Unit he finds himself in a world of violent murders and terrifying killers who come out of the dark before slipping back into the night.
Everything must be questioned, apart from one thing; DCI John Luther's obsession with catching the killer, something which he fixates upon to the point where the darkness of the crimes that he investigates begin to seep into his personal life and the very fabric of who Luther is. Who is Luther, really? He is certainly not a perfect, incorruptible cop, unerring in his judgement, unswerving in his commitment to righteousness. He has his own demons certainly and sometimes the line between the hunter and the hunted appears blurred. Sometimes it can even be hard to distinguish exactly on which side of the law Luther falls onto.
Make no mistake, Luther is dark, graphic and chilling at times. But the acting is superb and the script excellently written by Neil Cross, who creates characters who lie squarely in that grey region that is hard to define. There are only 14 episodes of this gripping, psychological drama, spread across 3 series. Luther's creators have ruled out a fourth series, but a big screen adaptation is certainly not out of the question and neither is a spin-off series centered around a character met at the opening of the very first episode.
Overall, Luther is a consistently intense thriller that never fails to disappoint. A breathtaking pace is set from the word go, and is kept up throughout, enthralling the audience until the very end. Luther provides more than a simple thrill though, it is thoughtful in its own unique way, and does not rely on the cop being the perfect guy. Luther, as a person seems real, contorted by his job and the people who he must understand if he is to catch them. He must get into their minds, truly understand them, and in doing so it alters his own finely balanced mindset, leading Luther to become something of a tortured soul.