As is the cast with its lead character, 'Luther' (BBC America, 10PM ET Wednesday) spends a lot of its time trying to resist its lesser impulses.
Watching the show walk a fine line between finely observed character drama and pulpy, overwrought cop thriller creates its own kind of tension, and sometimes 'Luther' just gives in and steps over the edge into grandiosity or cliche.
Yet this four-part British import has a lived-in, evocative atmosphere, good supporting performances and provides an excellent star turn from Idris Elba. All of that makes up for a lot, even as you get the sense that with a lesser actor than this masterful 'The Wire' veteran, the entire enterprise would have probably fallen apart.
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