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Before you settle in for the umpteenth “Law & Order” marathon, add “Luther” to the DVD rental queue. Idris Elba stars as Detective Chief Inspector John Luther in this Golden Globe nominated BBC series. Luther is both brilliant and impulsive, a lethal combination that makes him just as dangerous as the criminals he seeks to bring to justice.

“Luther” deviates from the usual ‘who done it?’ format of crime procedurals by revealing the murderer’s identity at the start of each episode, therefore freeing the audience to focus on the psychological cat-and-mouse games between Luther and his prey. Backed by a solid cast, suspenseful storylines and first-rate writing by creator Neil Cross, “Luther” is the template for the 21st century detective. Here are five favorite reasons to rent, buy or move to England to watch the show. Pay attention because will be giving away a copy of the Season 1 DVD!

1. Idris Elba—Elba has come full circle. It’s only fitting that one of his best roles would be on the BBC, the genesis of his acting career. Elba brings nuanced complexity and passion to the title role. Luther is tortured by his genius and his impassioned sense of right and wrong. Years of working in the shadows has cost him his wife, and quite possibly his career and sanity. The line between good and evil is a thin one, and Elba is excellent in navigating Luther’s struggle for balance.

2. Ruth Wilson–plays Alice Morgan, a murder suspect who gives new meaning to the term ‘femme fatale.’ With her porcelain skin and flame-red hair, she is a portrait of both fire and ice. When Luther sets out to prove Alice’s guilt, she turns out to be his most dangerous adversary. Alice is cold, calculating and devoid of any sentiment or moral codes. Her nihilistic views fascinate Luther, but his obsession with Alice may prove to be his downfall. Morgan and Elba’s scenes together crackle with sexual energy; their confrontations slowly evolve into an unconventional friendship Luther will eventually need to survive his darkest hour.

3. Indira Varma—is Zoe Luther, a human rights attorney and Luther’s estranged wife. Through Zoe we come to understand the emotional toll Luther’s work has taken on both himself and their marriage. Varma brings a mature and emotional honesty to her role, and we feel the conflict within her as she attempts to move on from Luther’s self-destructive tendencies with her new lover, Mark (Paul McGann).

4. The Villains—””Luther” features a rogues’ gallery of criminals that would make Hannibal Lecter proud. From a blood-drinking Satanist to a serial cop-killer with serious daddy issues, “Luther” creates an unsettling intimacy between the viewer and murderer. The violence is so visceral you just might leave the lights on long after the credits roll.

5. Theme Song—Trip-hop group Massive Attack’s “Paradise Circus” captures the dark and haunting mood of the show. When Hope Sandoval sings ‘the devil makes us sin, but we like it when we’re spinning in his grip’, she could easily be referring to the murderer or… Luther.


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