Coming Attractions: Idris Elba’s Luther

By Arturo R. García

TV Guide lists 28 “must-watch” new shoes in its’ fall preview section. Of those, six are police procedurals. None of them has a POC protagonist.

Not listed in that summary, and not made in this country, is Luther, a BBC production starring The Wire’s Idris Elba. The show starts airing on BBC America Oct. 17, but from what I’ve seen, Elba, who also served as an executive producer on the show, has helped craft something occasionally creepy, sometimes unnerving, but not bad at all.

No spoilers here, but the show does follow the Law & Order storytelling style: the crimes are presented “realistically” enough to warrant a trigger warning and the baddies are true bastards, indeed. But the show’s less about whodunit than what DCI John Luther is going to do next.

Might as well get this out of the way now: Luther is not John Shaft. He is not Hawk from Spencer For Hire. He is not supabad or cool. In fact, other than his workload, his life’s a shambles: his wife (Indira Varma) is preparing to move on with a new man; he’s just barely back on the job after a traumatic incident; and in the pilot episode, he runs into this show’s version of a femme fatale, Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson):

And, of course, things get more twisted from there over the course of the show’s first six-episode season. Here’s to hoping for a quick renewal.