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 17+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 6 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.

Wondering if Luther is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCAT B. March 3, 2019

Too psychotic for me

Sexual references in every episode. Psychotic killers in every episode which is to be expected based on the show premise, but it shows way too much gore, viole... Continue reading
Adult Written byOli April 20, 2020

Stylish, violent and dark

Personally I love Luther. The show has plenty to offer, cops solving crimes, fascinating characters and hooking plots; this show is the best British police show... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byStardust3178 April 15, 2020

It's ok

So first off, you can't hear what they're saying the whole first season due to the extremely loud background music.
This plot doesn't make the mo... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byFitzy864 May 13, 2018

Amazing show with adult aspects

Luther is a show featuring amazing writing and consistently good episodes. It has some bloody violence and sexual references. The worst is probably in season 2... 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate