Luther

TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
Luther TV Poster Image
Excellent British cop series with blood and some intimacy.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & Representations

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

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.

Sex

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

Language

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

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySpr148 September 26, 2018

Excellent Drama

This is fairly tough and uncompromising and definitely not aimed at kids. There is plenty of violence, sexual references and mention of paedophilia. Characters... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMichaelBowlby October 30, 2016
A police drama with a brilliantly complex and well developed cast of characters that is occasionally let down but a touch of cliche and overly convoluted plot w... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHeatherde November 13, 2016

Could be creepy

This was a lovely series, though I got scared once for a couple of days, cause of this creepy man. It still was the best episode and I'd love to see more.... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love drama

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