Luther: Season Two

Living in a personal hell following the murder of his wife at the end of
season one, Detective Chief Inspector John Luther (Idris Elba, “Thor“) throws himself into his work — namely, two big, bad crime sprees that divide this bunch into halves.

First is a serial killer donning a creepy Mr. Punch mask, who vows to be
the new Spring-Heeled Jack for this generation of Londoners. Second is a
seemingly random and awfully deadly crime spree committed by a man who
chooses who to slay and how literally by a roll of the dice — like the
Virginia Tech shooter playing a real-life “Dungeons & Dragons” game.

That in itself would be enough, but events from the previous season have
consequences that carry over, like the wife of a prostitute killer
Luther put down, feeling she’s owed, wants him to retrieve her daughter
from her current so-called “life”: being a “death porn” star (that, we
learn, is paying to have sex with an unconscious girl). Luther’s
attempts to save her, in every sense, play out in a season-wide story

As with the first year, these episodes are not whodunits; we know almost
 immediately who’s doing the dirty deeds. The thrills are in Luther’s
pursuit of them, often via methods that are ethically questionable. As a
former colleague puts it, Luther’s “not a dirty copper. He’s a man over
a barrel.”

Devious Alice (Ruth Wilson, TV’s “The Prisoner” remake), meanwhile, is
in a mental institution, and only briefly seen in the first half.
Hopefully, her role as second lead will be restored in season three, but
that’s hardly a drawback. There’s plenty going on
in her absence — something no doubt achieved by the consistency in
writer/creator Neil Cross and director Sam Miller in place across all
six hours.

As invested as they are, naturally, is Elba, who remains as intense as
one can get without taking a character over-the-top. He
owns this character, and deserves every accolade
thrown his way. No superhero, he’s as fallible as you or I, and that’s
what makes him so fascinating. —Rod Lott

Rod Lott

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