Tonight at 9:05 p.m., TF1 is launching its new detective series adapted from the BBC fiction of the same name. A formidable head of the Paris criminal brigade, Luther is a cop as seasoned as he is tortured. Dark and nervous, is the series worth the detour?
What is it about ?
Théo Luther is the most formidable group leader of the Paris Criminal Brigade. After tracking down a child killer for months, he goes into depression and puts his marriage in jeopardy. Today, reinstated in his unit, Theo is under surveillance. To be fully rehabilitated, he will have to overcome both his intimate demons and the criminals.
Luther, created by Christian Roux and Laurent Herbiet
Every Thursday from May 27 at 9:05 p.m. on TF1 and a preview on SALTO
Who is it with?
Christopher Bayemi slips into the mantle of John Luther (renamed Theo for the occasion), thus reprising the role played by Idris Elba in the original series. Preview in HPI, which has just ended on TF1 and in Cassandre on France 3, the actor plays his first main role here.
In front of him, Chloé Jouannet, revealed in Jamais sans toi Louna et Infidèle, plays Alice Morgan, a young woman who will give him a hard time in her investigations as much as in her private life. She thus takes up the role played by Ruth Wilson in the English version.
Finally, Nadia Fares (Marseille), Sagamore Stévenin (Falco), Barbara Cabrita (The Innocents), Léo Dussollier (Double Je), Adèle Choubard (Murders in Lille) and Thierry fremont (The Light-Eyed Revenge) complete the cast of this six-episode first season.
Well worth a look ?
Adaptation of the British series created by Neil Cross for the BBC One channel from 2010 to 2019, Luther plunges us into the investigations of a cop coming out of a depression, after a long-term investigation that pushed him into his last entrenchments and left her marriage in shambles.
His first investigation will lead him to face Alice Morgan, a brilliant young woman whom he suspects of the murder of his parents. Unable to prove his guilt, Luther will find himself openly taunted by Alice, who will take pleasure in putting sticks in his wheels and meddling in his private life. But as Luther hunts down the capital’s worst criminals, one of them may well be the only one capable of understanding his psychology and methods …
It was a big challenge for TF1 to adapt a BBC series of such an invoice. Dark, sometimes close to sordid and far from being an all-public series, Luther has been hailed by critics and its lead performer awarded at the Golden Globes for his role as an explosive cop, as brilliant as he is tortured.
Never mind, TF1 puts the cover back with this new drama adapted from a foreign format, after Un Homme d’honneur (Your Honor) and Je te Promets (This Is Us). Directed by David Morlet (Les Rivières Pourpres), this local version has an undeniable visual cachet: Greater Paris is filmed as a cold and threatening metropolis, where evil can arise at any moment, at the bend of a street during a patrol police, gas station or office tower filled with white collar workers.
Spread over two episodes, the dense and rhythmic investigations are the great success of the series. The killers tracked down by Luther are as fearsome as they are unpredictable, and the series doesn’t skimp on violence and the sacrifice of innocent lives to grab the viewer.
We are captivated by the intrigue in the form of role-playing game of the mysterious killer of episodes 3 and 4, entitled Battery and Face; as for the first two episodes, which both introduce the investigation of Alice Morgan and follow in the footsteps of a man coldly murdering police officers, they have the merit of taking a risk in the face of a subject touching the news. A welcome refreshment in the landscape of procedural series, purring investigations and sometimes too predictable reversals.
But usually, it is the alchemy and the complementarity between the main characters that make the salt of the detective series of the big chains, like HPI and his priceless duo formed by Audrey Fleurot and Mehdi Nebbou, or the touching bonds of friendship between the heroines of Astrid and Raphaëlle on France 2. Here, on the other hand, it is the surveys that work best, while the it is difficult to adhere to the protagonists, and in particular to the hero played by Christopher Bayemi.
For the 34-year-old actor, playing the role of this tormented cop still on the go was an ambitious gamble. Too much maybe? The shadow of the original interpreter hovers ceaselessly over his French alter-ego, to such an extent that it seems difficult to get rid of it, like his serious and serious diction which seems deliberately accentuated to stick to the image of the dark English cop.
As for Chloé Jouannet, who stood out in a role of revengeful plague in Lolita Despite me in the series Derby Girl, this one risks a score of cold and calculating killer with a little offbeat note, which is not without reminding the character played by Jodie Comer in the Killing Eve series. The intention is laudable, but Villanelle does not want it, and it is difficult to define the true intentions of her character.
The fault, perhaps, with dialogues sometimes too written and first degree, which do not leave the possibility to the interpreters to gain in spontaneity. For example, grandiloquent tirades like “the evil is running at full speed right now” or “absence of evidence does not mean proof of absence“infringe on the naturalness and the credibility of the high tension exchanges between Luther and Morgan.
Among the second knives, some are doing well, such as the all too rare Nadia Farès, impeccable as a chief sergeant overwhelmed by her subordinate, or Barbara Cabrita, touching as a wife torn by her contradictory feelings.
Solid and efficient in its construction, this French Luther, on the other hand, lacks an identity to itself, and that little extra thing that could make us addicted. And may well anger fans of the original series, as it is unrivaled in the genre of thriller. For those who will arrive with a new eye on this adaptation, the series will still be worth the detour, and deserves that we leave a chance over time for its performers, so that they reclaim a costume that is sometimes too big for them. .