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Elba Is Able To Bring BBC's Luther To Life

From Bell to Luther, Elba does troubled well


With even a glance at the screen as you click through the channels on your TV, you will likely see the face of at least one actor from HBO's The Wire--especially if you watch Law & Order: CI. Many of the actors' bit-part appearances were from before the success of the cable drama, but many of those actors have landed softly since the series finale in 2008.

For example, Michael K. Williams (Omar) plays gangster businessman Chalky White on HBO's Boardwalk Empire. Amy Ryan (Beadie Russell) plays Michael Scott's love interest on The Office. Wendell Pierce (William "Bunk" Moreland) stars in Treme. And British-born Idris Elba who played Stringer Bell, a drug lord's second-in-command with a head for business (and who also had a story arc on The Office), has found a niche in the equally driven title character of the BBC crime drama Luther.

Season No. 1 of Luther, which wrapped up in mid-2010, saw Detective Chief Inspector John Luther let a suspect fall to his almost death, befriend a beautiful psychopath, lose and reunite with his wife only to lose her again, be completely betrayed by a trusted friend and solve every major crime brought before him. Luther is an oft-seen genius-but-troubled-detective trope a la Vincent D'Onofrio's Robert Goren on L&O: CI, and critics panned Luther's early "lumbering" episodes.

But Elba is brilliant as a brooding, volatile, myopic perfectionist as he proved in The Wire--he's just on the other side of the law this time. By season's end, fans and critics alike had come around and were hoping for a second season. And for now, at least a couple of episodes of Luther have been ordered, so hopefully we'll see Elba chasing the bad guys across London's streets again soon. If that doesn't work out, he can probably score a few more appearances on The Office.