not really. But, he looks like one, and that’s just as bad. And before you call
me racist, let’s talk about this.
Elba is the star of Luther, a
phenomenally complex and twisted BBC crime drama that follows John Luther
(played by Elba, obviously) as he tries to solve cases, get back together with
his wife, and figure out why this murderer is so obsessed with him. Oh, and
also try to control his overwhelming temper and bad habit of using excessive
force on criminals.
show’s absolutely brilliant. Well acted, well directed, and well written. And
yet, no one on this side of the ocean seems to know it very well. It’s
available on Netflix, and it’s just as good as Sherlock. So why don’t we know it?
furthermore, why isn’t Idris Elba a bigger star?
whose career really got going when he played a philosophical drug dealer on The Wire, is an amazing actor who can
play a huge variety of roles. He’s been mentioned as possibly being the next
Bond, which would be rad, appeared as Heimdall in Thor, and will be lighting up the screen in next week’s Pacific Rim. But for some reason, we
don’t really know his name as well as, say, Benedict Cumberbatch.
I get it. The internet is obsessed with Cumberbatch, because he has a funny
face and does nerdy projects they love. But why can’t we be obsessed with Elba
too? He’s fabulous, a great actor, and much more attractive (to me).
I’m pretty sure it’s because we’re all a little bit racist.
is a fundamental difference between Luther
and Sherlock, and it isn’t the
fact that Sherlock is based on an
existing and immensely popular story, while Luther
is entirely original (and just as good). The real difference is this: John
Luther is threatening. Sherlock Holmes isn’t.
Sherlock of BBC’s Sherlock is a
prissy dandy, who just happens to be smarter than everyone else in the room.
Sure, sometimes he shows admirable fighting abilities, but never in a way that
makes you uncomfortable. He’s always funny or snarky or clever, but never
Luther is unlikable in literally his first scene. You see, when you meet John
Luther, he’s dangling a murderer from a bit of scaffolding and stepping on the
guy’s fingers while he demands to know where the rest of the bodies are. The
other police officers are on their way. And then? The guy falls. And John
Luther gets suspended from the force. That’s how the show starts.
not exactly uphill from there.
confrontational with his wife, who’s leaving him. He’s a bit of a menace at
work. He isn’t emotionally stable, or really entirely sane, but he’s a damn
good detective, and once you realize that he’s doing his serious level best to
hold it all together, you learn to love him. You don’t always like him, and you
definitely don’t always agree with him, but you love him.
he’s still an angry black man, and we, as an audience, don’t seem to dig that.
John Luther is an amazing role, and Idris Elba plays him to absolute
perfection. He’s brilliant. I love this show. I love it so much it hurts a
I know why it isn’t more popular. And it kills me. Because we’re afraid of him.
We’re afraid of John Luther, and that makes us afraid of Idris Elba.
that seriously sucks.
If Luther starred a white guy, it would be more popular over here. I guarantee it. If Pacific Rim fails at the box office next week, they're going to blame it on having a non-white main character. And it still kills that over here Elba is best known for playing a drug dealer.
don’t have a solution here. I wish like hell I did. But I don’t. I don’t know
how to make Americans less afraid of the mythical “angry black man.” It doesn’t
really do anything to know that John Luther isn’t actually dangerous, that
while he was framed for murder, he never did anything to warrant it. That he’s
blustery and scary, but really only to very bad people. That his wife loved
him. That the reason that murderer is so interested in him is because he loves
so deeply and so openly. We don’t see that when we look at him, do we?