Fans of the BBC’s “Luther”, starring the magnetic Idris Elba cleaning up the scums of the London crime scene, need to buckle up, because Season 2 of the killer crime show hits stores October 25, 2011 from the BBC. The disc contains four episodes from the show’s second season (those unfamiliar with UK TV shows will find it a bit odd that a “season” only has 4 episodes, but let me assure you, this is par for the course “Across the Pond” — even though, ahem, Season 1 had six episodes), and is just as riveting, unpredictable, and Idris Elba-rific as the previous season.
The dark psychological drama starring Emmy nominee Idris Elba (The Wire, American Gangster) as John Luther, the near-genius detective struggling with his own demons, returns with two distinctive, thrilling crime stories. Devastated by the brutal murder of his wife, Luther returns to policing in a different world. His old unit has gone and he’s working in the newly created Serious and Serial unit, headed by former police complaints officer Martin Schenk. Luther quickly gathers together his team, rescuing his old partner Detective Justin Ripley from uniform. It’s not long before they’re dealing with their first case. A masked man wanders the streets of London, carrying out ritualistic murders in historic locations, working his way up to one final masterpiece… Crackling with energy and beautifully shot this series sees Luther take bigger risks and face even darker challenges.
“Luther 2” comes in a 2-disc set, sans any extras, but you probably didn’t expect any or wanted them anyway. Okay, you may have wanted some extras, but you’re not going to get them. Instead, you’ll get two cases for Luther and his London homicide coppers to solve, each case taking up two episodes, giving the second season a more overarching feel than Season 1’s mostly one-and-done cases.
As Season 2 commences, Luther returns to the job after a tragedy in his life. Our brilliant but oh-so-damaged hero (think of him as Doctor House with a badge), cleared of all charges after the events of last season, quickly finds himself knee-deep in the murders of a mask wearing serial killer, before being pitted against yet another killer with an even more twisted family life than our hero’s. A young girl who doesn’t necessarily want Luther’s help, but needs it also enters the picture. Tough nuts if she doesn’t want his assistance, because she’s going to get it either way. That’s just how Luther roles. The delightfully messed up Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) also returns, continuing her less-than-healthy relationship with Luther. Unhealthy for the copper, but delicious for us.
Like the six episodes of “Luther” Season 1, Season 2 features the sole writing of show creator Neil Cross, and the capable direction of Sam Miller (who did two episodes in Season 1). New characters and old favorites clash in “Luther” Season 2, but as long as Idris Elba is front and center, that’s really all that matters. Warren Brown also returns as Luther’s loyal partner Justin, who finds himself in a most precarious situation while pursuing the first killer. Aimee-Ffion Edwards, as the troublesome Jenny Jones, causes plenty of headaches in Luther’s off-duty life, though it’s nothing our cooper can’t handle with a little assistance from some friends.
If you’ve ever only seen Idris Elba in some Hollywood movies, you’ll be surprised by just how intense and good he is in “Luther”. Even though the show’s second season dips a bit in terms of quality from Season 1 (though not by much), it’s still great stuff. The seedy London streets have never looked seedier (or more captivating), and Elba has never been more on the ball. Luther’s relationships continue to be complicated and twisted affairs, even at times surpassing the case of the day. If all you know about Idris Elba is what you saw in “Thor”, “Takers”, or “The Losers”, I highly recommend both seasons of “Luther”. Trust me, you will come to understand just why this guy is such a big deal.