BBC’s psychological detective drama, Luther, is back. Series 2’s very first episode has Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) John Luther (Idris Elba) chasing a maniacal serial killer as well as a teenage junkie on the verge of starring in death porn. Sounds action-packed, right?
The show opens on a very intriguing note, with the volatile Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) being questioned about DCI Luther. Alice Morgan was a regular — she had committed the perfect murder and had become fascinated by Luther during the investigations. Wilson’s faultless performance helps keep the pace. Unfortunately, 20 minutes into the show, there’s a certain sense of déjà vu.
With so many detective and forensic shows on air, it feels like Luther and his detective team have nothing new to offer. There is a mask-wearing serial killer (right out of Scream) on the loose. After the third murder, Luther (supposedly a genius) manages to pinpoint him amongst the crowd gathered at the crime scene. But that’s not where the chase ends. The masked killer is most likely going to be a regular feature for the next couple of episodes.
In the midst of all the detective work, Luther also finds the time to look for his friend’s daughter. He tracks her down in a seedy, makeshift pornographic production house. Heavily made-up, the young girl is also about to be drugged before the detective manages to yank her out of the hellhole.
The subplots make sure that the episode is action-packed, but the much-raved-about performances were a downer. Elba, who won a Golden Globe for his performance in the first series, disappoints. His expressions ranged between a sulky frown and a constipated gaze. The supporting cast was slightly more convincing. But the star was Ruth Wilson. The emotionless front she puts on while she is being interrogated changes to near-coquettish when Luther comes to see her.
Wilson’s strong performance gives the show an edge. But if that’s not enough, you might just find it easy to toss it aside, calling it a British stepbrother of innumerable American crime shows.