Smart and exciting, Luther couldn't be more generous with its cop-crime-thriller offer. Idris Elba (known best for his unforgettable portrayal of Stringer Bell in The Wire) does a superb job overturning old, worn out rules on the morally-ambiguous cop genre. As John Luther, he isn't getting any financial gain or power perks at his job. He's just an overly-emotional, boundary-less guy who maybe just doesn't know how to walk away. But he's clever and sharp, and sees through people, wanting to know everything at whatever cost. Elba plays him with such naturalness and charm; it's his perfect execution, accompanied by a talented cast, that ultimately makes the show work.
The story lines - and various criminals that come and go (and some stay) - are very interesting. And the shocking bits of plot turns are actually very surprising and catch you off guard. These "turns" come mostly from the characters, their decisions, and the developing relationships. I was totally taken aback by the second half of the first season (the second already in the works).
It's a great series; for those of us who love to be thrilled, it does this after the first couple of ease-in episodes. For those of us who like smart detective stories, it doesn't stop, not from it's very opening minute (featuring a chase). It's a well-crafted and beautifully-acted series that delivers on smart, paced, and funny writing and thrills.