Idris Elba Returns as ‘Luther’

British-born actor Idris Elba, a standout on “The Wire” as Stringer Bell, returns to cable tonight, starring in the BBC America series about a detective on the edge.

Part of his role as Det. John Luther, title character of “Luther,” is exploding into anger.
“John doesn’t have a mechanism for containing his anger. So he smashes things,” Elba says. “Is he violent? I don’t know if he’s a violent person. I just think that it’s his only way he can really sort of let himself express himself is by smashing something.”

Life for John Luther is stressful. When the series starts, he’s been tracking a man who has been kidnapping children, and his single-mindedness to the case has cost him his marriage.

“His rage is tied to his emotion and his compassion for the victims. His rage is tied to a sort of frustration within himself, which we haven’t really unearthed yet,” he told reporters at the TV Critics Press Tour in August.

“Luther” is a big opportunity for its other cast members as well, including Ruth Wilson, who plays the dangerous psychopath named Alice Morgan, who toys with Luther throughout the series.

“When I first read it, it did resonate with me as a piece a bit similar to Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling, except it’s the other way around,” Wilson says. “So that really appealed to me, and certainly for a female role, you don’t get many of those around.”

But the relationship develops, and obviously, it starts off as her being — having committed a crime and Luther sort of trying to pin it down for it. And as the series goes on, it becomes a game of cat and mouse between the two of them. And, actually, they realize they have

In addition to Luther seeking her for crimes, Wilson says, they have “an intellectual interest in each other as well as there’s a sexual chemistry. And they are just fascinated by each other. So it’s a really interesting dynamic.”

And it’s also something that “hasn’t really been explored that much on TV before,” she says.

There are hopes for a second season of six episodes of “Luther,” in the British manner of short TV seasons.

But, Elba says, “we will probably change the format perhaps.”

Elba has popped up on TV in a couple of roles in between “The Wire” and “Luther,” in “The Office” and “The Big C.”

And there is a possibility he’ll be back in his character on “The Office” at least once more. “There is an opportunity for me to sort of intertwine with their storyline towards the season finale. So that may happen,” Elba says.

As for “The Big C,” “there’s no plans to go back into it long-term.”

The role, shot in Stamford, “was actually a request from Laura for me to come and kiss on her for four episodes,” Elba says. “To which I said yes, but I’m not sure if I’ll be going back.”

“Luther” runs Sundays at 9 p.m. on BBC America.

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