Luther 1.01 (2010, Maverick Cop Drama) – 6/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Idris Elba: DCI John Luther
Ruth Wilson: Alice Morgan
Warren Brown: DS Justin Ripley
Creator: Neil Cross
Writer: Neil Cross
Producer: Katie Swinden
Director: Brian Kirk
Associate Producer: Idris Elba

Luther 1.01 Luther Episode 1 of 6 (2010)

Brilliant maverick cop who doesn’t follow the rules John Luther has a failing marriage and, on return from suspension for an investigation into whether he coerced a paedophile serial killer to reveal the location of his latest victim, is assigned to investigate a double murder. He quickly decides that the brilliant but psychopathic daughter did it (she didn’t yawn when he did, obvious really) but knows he will not be able to prove it and so both killer and detective decide to make it personal.


This is a maverick cop show with so many writing and directing clichés that the opening scenes featuring a paedophile serial killer are genuinely funny. They’re not supposed to be. As the episode continues it appears that writer Neil Cross is only capable of cut-and-pasting clichés together and you wonder if there will be any room left for a plot. As it turns out, no. The case-of-the-week is solved in a single sentence after precisely no detective work. It’s an entertaining and unique solution, though, and that’s the odd thing. Luther has a quality that makes you hope that it is slightly smarter, slightly better than it appears; as if the emphasis on cliché is purposeful. I’ll give it another week.

This Luther episode contains bad language, adult dialogue and violence against a poor innocent door, very gory and unpleasant scenes.