Tuned In

Idris Elba Gets on the Right Side of the Law

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BBC America

Idris Elba, whom Tuned Inlanders may remember in particular as Stringer Bell from The Wire, is starring in a new crime thriller for the BBC, Luther, which will air on BBC America later in the year. But this time, he’s one of the good guys. Maybe. And depending how you define “good.”

At least according to the BBC description, John Luther is a brilliant but self-destructive detective—not necessarily a “reinvention” of the British crime procedural on its face, what with the history of Prime Suspect, Cracker, &c., but that all depends on the execution of the six-part series, which I have yet to see. (It wasn’t universally admired in its British run.) I always enjoy Elba, so here’s hoping. The BBC description after the jump:

BBC AMERICA today announced its latest U.S. premiere co-production. Luther, starring Idris Elba (The Wire), is a smart, six-part, psychological thriller that takes a bold new look at the crime genre. Elba is also Associate Producer on the project.

Luther (6 x 60) is a BBC/BBC AMERICA co-production and is distributed by BBC Worldwide. It will air later this year on BBC AMERICA.

Idris Elba, best known for his performance as drug kingpin Russell “Stringer” Bell in HBO’s The Wire, now finds himself on the other side of the law. He plays John Luther, an intellectually brilliant but emotionally impulsive murder detective. He considers his profession a vocation rather than a job and it remains to be seen if he’s a force for good or a man hell bent on self-destruction. His confidante is also his arch-enemy Alice (Ruth Wilson, Jane Eyre), a beautiful multiple-murderess who evades his grasp early on, and with whom he becomes locked in a lethal battle of wits.

Luther is created and written by acclaimed suspense novelist, and one of the lead writers on MI-5, Neil Cross. He says: “I’m delighted that the BBC has brought Luther to life. It’s an intense psychological thriller which examines not only human depravity but the complex nature of love … and how it’s often this – our finest attribute – that leads us into darkness.”

Elba is joined by an all-star cast: Ruth Wilson (The Prisoner) is Alice Morgan, beautiful, extraordinarily intelligent and a key witness in Luther’s first investigation; Steven Mackintosh (Criminal Justice ) is Detective Chief Inspector Ian Reed and Luther’s loyal friend and work colleague; Indira Varma (Rome) is Zoe Luther, who’s had the strength to walk away from the man she still loves; Paul McGann (Withnail and I) is Mark North, unafraid to compete with Luther for Zoe’s love; Saskia Reeves (Bodies) is Detective Superintendent Rose Teller, Luther’s risk-taking boss and Warren Brown (Occupation) is Detective Sergeant Justin Ripley, Luther’s loyal, awestruck new partner.