A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show displays a traditional morality and is built around the activities of flawed but heroic characters attempting to solve crimes and help the innocent.
Positive Role Models
The show's protagonists are very good at their jobs, but also display serious character flaws; antagonists are sometimes glamorized even as they are depicted as disturbed killers.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent violence between police investigators and their suspects as police attempt to track down and capture criminals. Scenes from violent crimes, with occasionally heavy and graphic blood including dead bodies and, at least in one case, a dead dog. Some briefly terrifying scenes of victims being trapped and/or tortured.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent sex-related conversation and banter; occasional moments of physical intimacy; violence in the series is sometimes conflated with sexuality in a disturbing way.
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Occasional use of words such as "damn" and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters frequently depicted drinking in a social environment, occasionally to excess; smoking depicted in a casual social manner.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this excellent British police thriller features deeply flawed heroes and somewhat glamorous villains, providing somewhat mixed messages about right and wrong choices. The violent and sexual content compares to series like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and CSI, and includes some graphic blood and scenes of torture. For these reasons, the series is most appropriate for mature teens and adults.
Is It Any Good?
Mature fans of great TV will recognize Idris Elba instantly; he portrayed the calculating, simmering Stringer Bell on HBO's The Wire. Luther is a showcase for Elba's incredible acting ability, offering him a character that's the polar opposite of Stringer -- Luther is emotional where Stringer was methodical; Luther is a flawed hero while Stringer was a villain with redeeming characteristics.
Essentially, Luther enables Elba to unload as an actor in ways that portraying Stringer did not. His performance is explosive, nuanced, brilliant; it's the key to the show's success. Also key is the clever dialogue from series creator and writer Neil Cross. These are definitely cops, but they're the most articulate and funny cops on television, in a natural and organic way. Rather than making the characters unrealistic, it only adds nuance and dimension. Like any violent cop series, Luther is only appropriate for mature teens and adults; unlike most of its contemporaries, Luther transcends its genre and becomes a remarkable portrait of a singular television character.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.