Review: Re-watching Luther Season 2

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Neil Cross does it again, with season 2 of Luther. This season is even darker then the first and explores the underworld of London.

With the finale leaving us in ah and wondering “now what?” We find Luther( Idris Elba) is still in his position as a detective. Ripley(Warren Brown) has been demoted for his actions in season 1. Martin Schenk(Dermot Crowley)has taken over the department. The big question was where was Alice Morgan(Ruth Wilson) going to end up after season 1? Well we find Alice in an mental hospital after a short prison stint and a suicide attempt.

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For season 2  Benny Silver( Michael Smiley) has joined Luther’s team on a permanent basis. By the book Detective Erin Grey( Nikki Amuka-Bird) has also joined the team, but does not trust Luther, due to the rumors surrounding him as a dirty cop.

Caroline Jones played by Kierston Wareing shows up looking for Luther’s help. Luther captured her husband years ago, when her husband accidentally killed a prostitute and she has been leaning on Luther ever since. The husband committed suicide in prison and Caroline still blames Luther. Caroline wants help finding her daughter, how is going to shot a disturbing pornographic film soon. Luther knows he shouldn’t get involved, but eventually does. He brings Caroline’s daughter Jenny, played by Aimee-Ffion Edwards, to a safe house. This sets off a chain of events that drags Luther deeper into trouble.

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Season 2 is only 4 episodes long with the first two episodes covering a case of a man fascinated with the Spring Heel Jack from English Folklore and the last 2 episodes cover a psychotic who is inspired by role playing games to cause panic and destruction on the city.

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Luther has had enough of being a detective and wants out, he just needs to finish up a few things before he leaves. This of course doesn’t work out for him as he cleans one thing off the books, something else comes up he must take care of.

The shooting of season 2 is even more in the neo noir spirit then the first season. We still get mostly shades of grey with splashes of red and a few other colors now and then. The shooting of reflections on glass or through glass are prevalent once again.

If you liked season 1, you are going to love season 2! Look for a review of Season 3 tomorrow.

Here is yesterday’s look at season 1:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/12/27/review-re-watching-luther-season-1/

 

Review: Re-watching Luther Season 1

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Luther is a television series from BBC about a brilliant, but very troubled police detective. This series is written by novelist Neil Cross. Cross wanted to write an original character that was different from what we normally see. He says most crime/mystery characters fall into one of two types of characters. There is the who done it detective that is out to show how smart they are by solving the puzzle, best exemplified by Sherlock Homes. The second type is the gritty, strong characters best exemplified by Phillip Marlowe(the side of the crime drama we love here at Everything Noir). Cross made Luther a cross of the best of these two types of crime fiction and told the stories of Luther in the fashion of Columbo. So to make something totally original Cross made Luther a stew of some of the best detectives in literature, film and television.

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Neil Cross’ writing is half of the successful formula for Luther. The other half is the acting of Idris Elba as Luther. Luther as a character is very complex. He is willing to bend the rules to stop the evil in his city. He has mental issues caused by the stresses of his job and the evil he has seen. He is a genius detective with a mind that thinks outside the box compared to other detectives. This genius doesn’t alienate him from others, like it does with characters like Sherlock Homes, he can use this to get information out of witnesses and suspects.

Season 1 starts out with Luther chasing a man through a factory. When he finds the man hanging by his finger tips from a cat walk. Luther lets this man fall, to what seems to be the man’s death. This also lands Luther in a mental hospital and the man that fell in a coma in the hospital.

Months later Luther is out of the hospital and back on the job, cleared of any wrong doing. We find Luther has been separated from his wife, Zoe, played by Indira Varma, during this time. Luther finds he now has a new partner, Ripley, played by Warren Brown and is sent on a new case. The case looks like a break-in where two people and a dog are shot dead. The daughter of the dead couple found them and called the police. Luther suspects the daughter Alice Morgan, played by  Ruth Wilson as the murderer.

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Alice Morgan is a genius as well, who has gone to college at 13. Luther knows she has committed the murders, but also knows she is to smart to ever be caught. Alice is a bit of a Hannibal Lecter character and is a friend and a foe to Luther through out season 1.

Season 1 is 6 episodes long, but has more story then most series twice or four times as long. Luther tackles a handful of cases, some come to a conclusion in one episode, some take longer or linger through out the season. Luther also has to face his personal issues with his wife and with others on the police force through out the series as well.

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Luther is also filmed in a very interesting way. The show is mostly filmed in shades of grey with some small splashes of reds and other colors. The show also uses interesting locations that give it a certain feel.

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Luther is some of the best television in the last five years and well worth watching. Noir fans will thoroughly enjoy this series. Look tomorrow for my look at Season 2.

Review: The Bridge or Bron/Broen Season 2

I recently reviewed The Bridge Season 1 here:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/10/08/review-the-bridge-or-bronbroen-season-1/

As I said in that review, I could not wait to watch the next season. I was leery that this show could keep up the quality of the first season, but my concerns where unnecessary.

This season starts out with a tanker running into the bridge. The tanker has no crew and 5 teenagers drugged and chained in the boat. Saga, played by Sofia Helin, is soon on the case. As the investigation goes on Saga soon goes to Denmark for their support on the case and of course she wants to work with Martin again. Without giving any spoilers of season 1, we find Martin, played by Kim Bodnia, with totally white hair from the stresses still haunting him from the conclusion of season 1. The season continues as an investigation about a group of environmental terrorist takes our duo on a rollercoaster ride of an investigation.

The personal lives of our heroes has changed too. Saga has a new boyfriend, who has moved in with her. She tries to adapt to somebody always being at her home as she turns most of her attention to the case. Martin also digs into Saga’s past and he uncovers some troubling facts about her childhood and family. Martin on the other hand is seeing a psychiatrist to deal with his new problems stemming from season 1. Martin’s wife has also left him and he is trying to win his family back through out this season.

This season also introduces us to a vast new collection of supporting characters, all great in their own right. There are too many to name here, but trust me they are all intertwined into a twisted plot that will leave you wanting more. This season also ends with a very unpredictable outcome for our two detectives that I don’t think anybody could see coming.

I highly recommend this television series for any fans of neo noir and especially those of Nordic noir. If you haven’t seen season 1 yet, go do it now! Then run out and watch season 2 as soon as you’re done.

Since season three is airing in Europe right now, we may have to wait awhile to see it over here in America. I will be waiting patiently for the day I can watch it.

Review: Public Morals Season 1

Public Morals is a new television series on TNT created and starring Edward Burns. Burns plays Terry Muldoon, a plain clothes cop who is in the Public Morals department. This department takes care of vice in 1960’s New York City, mainly in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. The Muldoon family is on both sides of the law,Terry’s father played by Peter Gerety, is a retired cop while his uncle, Mr. O played by Timothy Hutton is a small time gangster. When Mr. O is shot dead at the end of the first episode, Terry does his best to find the killer and keep the peace between the police and the gangsters battling each other for control of the vice trade.

Some of my favorite characters in the series are:

Charlie Bullman: Played by Michael Rapaport, Charlie has a soft spot for beautiful prostitutes and is a single father living with his mother. Charlie has more than a passing resemblance to a young Popeye Doyle.

Christine Muldoon: Played by Elizabeth Masucci is Terry’s wife. She wants to get out of the old neighborhood and move to the suburbs to live her middle-class dreams. Terry is loyal to the old neighborhood, but wants to keep his wife happy.

Fortune: Played by Katrina Bowden, is a high-class prostitute with a heart of gold or is she the femme fatale that has not shown all her true colors yet?

Joe Patton: Played by Brian Dennehy. Patton is the Irish Mafia Godfather for New York.

Rusty Patton: Played by Neal McDonough is Joe’s son, who is ready to take over for his father and doesn’t mind using violence to get there.

This series has many other great characters and though the series is only 10 episodes long so far, it is very complex and has some great options for story-lines for upcoming seasons.  The fine line of corrupt cops doing what they do to keep things under control and not be to corrupt is an interesting plot device. Are they really on the take to keep vice inline in the city or are they just money hungry men, not any better than the crooks they try to bust?

I really enjoyed this first season and think fans of neo-noir will enjoy it too. This one seems to have flown under the radar, but here is hoping that it gets picked up for a second season.

Review: The Bridge or “Bron/Broen” Season 1

To some people this television series may sound very familiar. This series has been remade for an American audience starring Diane Kruger. That is how I found out about this series, I was watching the first few episodes of the American version and looking at information about it, when I seen it was a remake.  I honestly liked this concept, but could not get into the series and gave up on it. The story was interesting but not well executed, so I decide to go to the original, and I’m glad I did!

This series, along with The Killing, also remade in America, are the beginnings of a movement of Nordic Noir on television. This season one story starts out with a dead body found on a bridge that crosses the border between Sweden and Denmark. The body is placed perfectly on the borderline of the two countries. When Saga played by Sofia Helin responds to the crime scene, she clashes with Denmark detective Martin played by Kim Bodnia. When the victim is identified as a Swedish citizen, Saga takes over the case with Martin’s blessing. The body is soon discovered to actually be two bodies an upper half from Sweden and a lower half belonging to a prostitute from Denmark, Martin is brought back onto the case. As the murderer soon evolves into more of a terrorist trying to get a message across, Saga and Martin work together to solve the case.

Though this series has some great supporting characters and all of them are important to the overall story, this series concentrates on these main two characters, both on the job and off.

Saga is a very original character. She is honest to a fault and plays by the rules and those rules do not bend at all. She may even overshare too much at times. She is strange and brilliant at the same time. She is socially awkward and this makes her unliked at work. She lives by herself and has no family left. She is also beautiful, drives a Porsche, and wears leather pants, this gives her a superhero feel to a certain extent.

Martin is a likable guy and lives for his family. He has a strong, professional wife and lives in a great looking house. They have a couple young kids as well as Martin’s young adult son from another marriage living with them. Martin has been married 3 times now and really wants this marriage to work. He is a bit jaded from being on the police force for so long and comes across as our hardboiled detective for this story. He drives an old Chrysler Minivan and is a blue-collar hard-working cop, who tends to bend the rules if he feels it is for the greater good.

You maybe saying this is just another buddy cop thing with two opposites forced to work together and becoming best friends in the process. Yes there is that element to this show, but that is a minor piece in a much bigger puzzle. Yes, we also have the trope of a genius serial killer playing a cat and mouse game with the police, but there is something special here and I highly recommend the first season of this series. I will be continuing on to Season 2 as soon as the DVD’s arrive and look forward to following these characters for another 10 episodes.

Article: Rolling Stone: ‘Fargo’: How the Midwestern Noir Just Got Even Better

Rob Sheffield over at Rolling Stone has an article on the upcoming season of Fargo. From the sound of it we are in for a great season and will not have the sophomore jinx many say we got with True Detective. Yet another television series I am looking forward to and we only have to wait until Monday, October 12th for this one to start.

http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/features/fargo-how-the-midwestern-noir-just-got-even-better-20151005Rolling Stones: ‘Fargo’: How the Midwestern Noir Just Got Even Better