LadyGhosts of TV Past

What I Watched Last Night: Luther, Episode 1

Are we surprised that I’ve found another BBC show to watch? No. I’d heard great things about Luther, but what with all the Doctor Who binging, I’d yet to start watching until last night. To be honest, I wondered if I’d have something to say beyond, “Idris Elba is a very attractive man.”

Idris Elba
A very attractive man. I mean, look at him. Let us all nod appreciatively.

Beyond that, Luther is an interesting, well-written drama that originally aired in 2010. Idris Elba is Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, a man who has just come back from forced sabbatical after he let a criminal fall to his death instead of helping him after he provided information the police needed. Luther and his wife, Zoe, are separated, and she’s seeing someone else. I kept trying to place where I’d seen Zoe, played by Indira Varma, but I couldn’t figure it out until I looked it up today. She played Susie on two episodes of Torchwood – yet again proving my theory about actors being perpetually on-call for BBC shows – and she was in an episode of Bones that took place in the UK.

While investigating the murder of a couple and their dog, Luther realizes that their daughter, Alice, is the likely culprit. Alice earned her PhD at 13, and as an adult, she is an eerily calm psychopathic narcissist who delights in “nothingness.” During their initial interview, I loved this exchange:

Luther: You can revel in your brilliance for as long as you like, but people slip up. Happens time and time again.

Alice: Well, that’s just faulty logic predicated on imperfect data collection. What if you only catch the people who make mistakes? That would skew the figures, wouldn’t it?

Luther: Yes, it would. But criminals aren’t as smart as they think they are.

Clearly, Alice is not going away any time soon. I’ll definitely watch the rest of the available episodes.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

16 replies on “What I Watched Last Night: Luther, Episode 1”

The pilot episode of Luther is one of my favorite episodes of all time. I just love the exchanges between Alice and Luther, and I think Ruth Wilson and Idris Elba play so well off each other. They only get better as the show goes on. My one complaint is the series’ are too short,  but that’s UK telly for you.

Oh yes, that’s a tough one. Ten will always be my favorite, but Eleven is pretty great too. I think I have 4 or 5 episodes of Season 6 left and that’s it until there are new ones AND they make it onto Netflix. I don’t have BBC America so I can’t watch them when they are new, unless I find them online somewhere.

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