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Idris Elba doesn’t need James Bond, he has Luther

Being a suave spy is easy, being Luther is... not

Joshua Rivera (he/him) is an entertainment and culture journalist specializing in film, TV, and video game criticism, the latest stop in a decade-plus career as a critic.

In the 2010s, Idris Elba — the suave British actor best known as the business-minded criminal Stringer Bell in HBO’s The Wire — had a small army of passionate fans that wanted one thing for him: James Bond. Online discussion was so persistent for so long that Elba’s odds of playing 007 regularly became national news, even as the actor lined up all sorts of roles ranging from mech master Stacker Pentecost in Pacific Rim to the anti-hero Bloodsport in The Suicide Squad. Elba never really needed Bond; his career has borne that out. But he also always had something better, a role that was uniquely his: Detective John Luther, protagonist of the British thriller Luther — a character Elba will return to in a new Netflix movie.

Arriving four years after Luther’s fifth season, Luther: The Fallen Sun is the latest installment of the sporadic crime series. In the first trailer, the film looks to be a standalone thriller in which Luther, doing time in prison after the events of prior seasons (Luther was never really a Good Person) is compelled to break out and go rogue in order to stop a twisted serial killer played by Andy Serkis.

It all looks very intense, and like something that can be enjoyed by newcomers and old fans alike. And for those who’d rather catch up, there’s good news too — even though The Fallen Sun is a month away, that is plenty of time to watch all of Luther, a show where one season is two episodes long and most others are only four. British television, baby.

Luther: The Fallen Sun arrives on Netflix March 10.

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