Excellent British cop series with blood and some intimacy.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.


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.


Frequent sex-related conversation and banter; occasional moments of physical intimacy; violence in the series is sometimes conflated with sexuality in a disturbing way.


Occasional use of words such as "damn" and "hell."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters frequently depicted drinking in a social environment, occasionally to excess; smoking depicted in a casual social manner.

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.

Kids say

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What's the story?

The titular character in LUTHER (Idris Elba) is a detective with the London police with a single-minded focus on capturing serial killers and sexual predators. He has a genius-level investigative mind but lacks self-control when it comes to his own relationships and emotional life. His singular focus has damaged most of his personal relationships, and his identity straddles a terrifying line between the light of justice and the darkness of the criminals he pursues.

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the show's violence. How is the violence depicted on this show different from that in U.S. shows? What would the show be like with less graphic violence -- would it still work?

  • What kind of moral questions does this show bring up? How would you handle yourself in similar situations?

TV details

Cast:Idris Elba, Justin Ripley, Ruth Wilson
Network:BBC America
TV rating:TV-14

This review of Luther was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Written byAnonymous June 22, 2015

A fantastic show with very graphic violence

The show is great. It has a few F words in latest season, and a somewhat revealing and sexual scene with a pornogropher. The violence is disturbing and realistic. Some scenes involve images that can make one feel queezy and sick. There are scenes of people murdering with hammers, abducting children, and spraying people's faces with acid.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written byslasher23 August 16, 2014
violent and sexy
What other families should know
Too much violence


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