Luther, a BBC crime drama, is the kind of show I have to watch between my fingers. I found it by accident and, after seeing the first episode, thought that I wouldn’t watch anymore episodes because the one I saw was terrifying. Then I watched another one and after that another one and have seen all of them now.
This is what I have been telling myself to make it through: not real severed fingers and ears, not a real tongue in a white handkerchief, not a real airtight plastic bag over the Detective Seargent’s head, not a real spike driven through the hand of the Detective Chief Inspector, not a real woman stuffed in a rectangular metal box, not real children about to be gassed in a sealed van.
This, too, is what I have been telling myself to make it through: It’s so formulaic. There’s the brilliant, unhinged rogue cop who has broken more laws than there are laws; the beautiful, long-suffering ex-wife who knows she should stay away from the brilliant, unhinged rogue cop but can’t help herself; the sad-eyed, kind-hearted boyfriend of the beautiful, long-suffering ex-wife who asks her to choose which one it’s going to be; the indulgent, middle-aged boss who keeps taking the brilliant, unhinged rogue cop back even though she knows she’s in for it; the scowling, tightly wound Detective Superintendent who’s just waiting for the brilliant, unhinged rogue cop to trip up so big time that he’ll be able to nail his butt once and for all; and the fawning, do-gooder partner of the brilliant, unhinged rogue cop who makes up for in loyalty what he lacks in experience.
Then there’s Alice, the loveable genius-psychopath who murders her parents; falls in love with the brilliant, unhinged rogue cop; kills for him just to help him out; and episode after episode manages to stay out of jail.
It shouldn’t work, but it does.
If my mind were an amplifier, this is what it would be shouting at the TV: Don’t go down that hall! Don’t go up those stairs! Don’t go down those stairs! Don’t go back inside! Answer the damned phone! Don’t answer the damned phone! Don’t wander down that dark alley in that skirt!
It works for reasons I don’t understand. Once someone told me that if you look at Sophia Loren’s face feature by feature she isn’t beautiful, but put them all together and she’s a knockout. Maybe it’s like that.