Luther – Crime Drama – Dark & Bright

Luther is a Crime Drama which was aired on BBC last year. It had six episodes of one hour each. Luther starred Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson.

Luther is a police detective who is specialized in solving complex murder cases with his unique psychoanalysis and deducitve skills. But he is also a complex personlity and is a cop who does things mostly his way by bending the rules and crossing the lines. He is also temperamental, emotional and loses self control easily. He is both the good guy and the guy with grey shades. He could have very well been the bad guy with his criminal mind but is not.

The series starts with Luther being suspended. He ultimately returns and accepted back in the team. His colleagues Ian Reed, Justin Ripley and boss Rose Teller welcome him. He immediately has to deal with a complex double murder where he finds the enigmatic Alice Morgan, played superbly by Ruth Wilson. Alice is a prodigy astrophysicist and a witness to double murder of her parents. Alice’s is the most intriguing character and the relationship between Luther and Alice in itself is worth watching the show. They are both very similarly brilliant yet very different.

Later in the series Luther solves several complex cases of murder, kidnapping, smuggling etc. at most times with help of his colleagues or even Alice. There is the additional drama of Zoe Luther, ex-wife of Luther, played by Indira Verma who decides to move on with Mark North. Luther is extremely possessive about his wife, loves her yet has to let her go.  This parallel track of Luther’s wife and her lover is also very interesting and at times is key to the development of overall story.

By the end of the 6 episode first season, Luther is on the other side of the law, his ex-wife is killed by  his old colleague who further is killed by Alice on insistence of Mark. The viewers are left high and thinking about what next. Luckily BBC has sanctioned 2 episodes of 2 hours each for later this year to take the story forward.

The series works on the principle that the audience is made aware of the criminal, murderer right at the beginning itself and the drama is in the way Luther and his mates discover the evidences against the criminal and ultimately catches him or her. Luther is a great character, although the character is quite similar to many cop characters we see on TV or in movies yet it is differently portrayed by Idris Elba. The grey shades, the changing temperament and the controlled anger which later unleashes is nicely captured.

Technically, the show is brilliant just like most British shows which as I think are vastly superior to its American counterparts at least in giving a laid back and well developed script and characters.The series is shot mostly in and around London and city’s landscape is shown and used artistically in the show. The story of Luther’s life moves slowly along with the cases he solves. At times it seems far too easy the way he solves crimes and gets clues just by interrogation and on hunches just like Sherlock Holmes would but Idris Elba makes it believable. The show is dark and intense at times with lot of blood and gore and violence too yet its is bright and brilliant mostly because of acting,  great casting and chemistry between the leads and a moving storyline. There is hardly a dull moment in the hour long episodes.

My Ratings – 8/10 – Do watch it for fine acting by Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson and some compelling crime drama.

Sherlock – BBC Drama – Magnificent !!

BBC recently produced ‘Sherlock‘ a three part mini-series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective character Sherlock Holmes but set in modern times and not the 19th century. The mini-series stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. The three 90 minutes episode were shown on British Television in August 2010.

This Sherlock Holmes is set in today’s world and Sherlock Holmes not only uses his extraordinary powers of deduction but also uses mobile phones, text messages and GPS signals to solve the mysteries and he also has a website. He has kept some of the things oddly similar to the great writers novel though including the address where Sherlock Holmes lives, 221 B Baker Street.

In the first episode, “A Study in Pink“, along with Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes solves the mysterious case of the Serial Murderer forcing his victims to commit a suicide.

The 2nd episode titled “Blind Banker” deals with murders happening in different parts of London where the killer leaves cryptic symbols similar to ancient Chinese script. The interaction between Watson and Holmes is quite wonderfully enhanced here.

In the 3rd and final episode of this season titles “The Great Game” Holmes solves more than one cryptic murder cases in game guided by a bomber only to be outsmarted by the ultimate arch-enemy Proffessor Moriarty in the end. The end leaves you hanging and wanting for more. The 3rd part shows the brilliant side of Holmes as he solves one case after the other in quick time. The camaraderie between Holmes and Watson with the slight hint of gay undertones is again wonderfully shown.

The series is brilliantly shot with great production values and great casting. Benedict Cumberbatch not only looks the part of Sherlock Holmes but  have to admit that even surpasses Robert Downy Jr.’s portrayal in the movie version of Sherlock Holmes. Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson is fantastic as well.

This television series is one of the best written, acted and directed in recent times. The three episodes this season have not satiated the users and thankfully BBC have green-flagged another 3 episodes to be released next year.

My Ratings :  9.5/10 –  Catch it on DVD or Online Streaming Sites, TODAY !!