British crime shows have performed well at the Emmys when they contend in the Movie/Mini races. Three of the “Prime Suspect” franchise won Best Mini-Series while star Helen Mirren picked up Best Movie/Mini Actress twice. In 2009, Kenneth Branaugh got a Movie/Mini Actor nod for “Wallander” and could contend again this year. That trend bodes well for BBC America’s “Luther” staring Idris Elba. The series was a smash with critics scoring an 82 at Metacritic and TV Guide critic Matt Roush declared it to be, “among the best TV I’ve seen… fast-paced, surprising and darkly entertaining”.
“Luther” revolves around the life of a brilliant but troubled British police detective, John Luther. He struggles to balance solving cases with saving his marriage. He finds himself up against a murderer (Ruth Wilson) who proves to be just as complex as he is. Idris Elba told GoldDerby that John Luther is, “a well written character who doesn’t know how to shut it off.” While he thinks the procedural element of the series “is done really well” he is delighted, “I get to play all this weird stuff that lives outside the policeman.”
Despite receiving rave reviews for both the first three seasons of “The Wire” and a memorable 2009 arc on “The Office,” Elba has failed to earn any Emmy recognition. “Luther” could correct these past Emmy crimes. He got a Golden Globe nod earlier this year, losing that race to “I Don’t Know Jack” star Al Pacino, who had already won the Emmy as well. For Elba, “the Golden Globes were a complete surprise and the Emmys would be another huge surprise if we got nodded … but it’s all very exciting”.
He could also contend for his arc on“The Big C” opposite likely nominee Laura Linney. He revealed he took this job despite doctor’s orders to rest his torn Achiles tendon: “I was on that plane to Connecticut … and we knocked out these four episodes, such a laugh man”. He’s rooting for “The Big C” to get some Emmy love because, “it’s a great show about something that no-one wants to talk about.”