TV Review: Luther, Season Two

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Something happened between the first and second seasons (or series, as the British would have it) of Brit cop showLuther. Maybe it's the relative lack of Ruth Wilson's sociopath Alice, or the weaker premise that finds Luther now more resolutely straightforward, where once it felt ambiguous and terrifying.

Still recovering from the death of his wife, explosive detective Luther (Emmy-nominated Idris Elba) has a tighter grip on his temper. He's navigating the murky waters of being a cop who is more focused on moral rightness than lawfulness, but this time there's a weariness to him that says he doesn't much care if his brand of justice gets him arrested. So he visits Alice in a psychiatric hospital; he lives to regret helping a woman from his past and her prostitute daughter; and he has to crack two terrifying, violent crime sprees over the four-episode season.

The cases feel less superfluous this season, but the absence of Luther's personal life leaves the series focused on his job. Series creator Neil Cross is still a master at teasing out the ramifications of good deeds (the rabbit hole that Luther's reluctant white-knight missions leads him into is utterly believable); the problem withLutherlies in watching the second season of a show turn more predictable than its unsettling debut.

The second season ofLutherpremieres 10/9c on BBC America.

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