It’s rare that a psychological thriller the caliber of BBC America’s “Luther” makes its way to TV rather than play out in a tense, two-hour burst on the big screen. This gripping miniseries, written by novelist Neil Cross, burns intensely over six parts, during which homicide detective John Luther (Idris Elba) hunts dangerous criminals as he becomes dangerously unstable himself. While chasing bad guys, Luther gets involved with Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), a woman who tests him — and who is the key suspect in the grisly crime he works in Episode 1.
Ruth Wilson on playing genius psychopath Alice Morgan:
“When I first read the script, it did resonate with me as a piece a bit similar to Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling [in ‘Silence of the Lambs’], except [the roles are reversed]. It starts off as Alice having committed a crime and Luther trying to pin it down. It becomes a game of cat and mouse between the two of them, and, actually, they realize they have an intellectual interest in each other, as well as a sexual chemistry. They are just fascinated by each other. And she ends up helping, or they end up sort of becoming partners in crime.”
Idris Elba on playing self-destructive detective John Luther:
“Luther’s fascination of Alice gives him an opportunity to understand himself a little bit. He’s fascinated by how well she constructed her crime, but obviously not well enough to elude him, to elude the law — which, for all intents and purposes, Luther has to do to break down the procedural act of catching criminals. Luther has to break the law as well. And then there’s sort of a — a sort of meeting of the minds [between Luther and Alice]. Perhaps it’s therapy for Luther because he doesn’t get to release much, and he can with Alice.”
“Luther” premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on BBC America.