Cops vs. cops8/28/2013
London police turn against their own in “Luther”
“Luther” (Tuesday-Friday, 9 p.m., BBC America) features Idris Elba as the hulking London detective John Luther, whose crime-solving intensity sometimes leads to questionable tactics. Season three begins with a scary scene that made me cover my eyes, as Luther plunges into a creepy investigation that tests his ratiocinative genius while his enemies on the force try to expose what they see as his criminal behavior and try to turn his own partner (Warren Brown) against him.
Along with the world-class acting, “Luther” creates a strong sense of place. Rather than a tastefully lit police office that’s common of American cop shows, it’s a realistically dismal one with buzzing fluorescent bulbs. Luther’s investigation takes him to other bleak locations in London’s underbelly as well.
I can’t wait to see how season three turns out — though, admittedly, it will be hard to see anything with my hands over my eyes.
“Young Man with a Horn”
Friday, 7 a.m. (TCM)
I try not to let my personal obsessions intrude on this column. I mean, did you hear me say a word about the “Twilight Zone” marathon on Syfy last month? Nope, not a peep.
But I’m going to make an exception this week. On Friday, TCM features a daylong Kirk Douglas marathon on its “Summer Under the Stars” series. My favorite movie, 1950’s “Young Man With a Horn,” shows at 7 a.m. It’s one you’ve probably never paid much attention to — critics certainly haven’t, and to me that’s inexplicable. Douglas gives one of cinema’s most passionate performances as a troubled jazz trumpeter, with unforgettable supporting turns from Lauren Bacall, Hoagy Carmichael and Doris Day. Director Michael Curtiz (“Casablanca”) brings out the story’s humor and pathos, and Douglas’ majestic trumpet solos are dubbed by swing era master Harry James.
Please take the morning off work to watch this wonderful, overlooked film. For me?
Sunday, 8 p.m. (PBS)
“Masterpiece Mystery!” can try one’s patience with its slow, quaint period pieces. But in “Silk,” the pace picks up. Set in contemporary London’s legal world, smart barristers joust in and out of court juggling multiple characters and subplots, challenging you to keep up.
In this week’s episode, the fierce Martha Costello (Maxine Peake) goes the extra mile in defending a 16-year-old prostitute who’s fallen under the tutelage of an evil pimp. Martha’s cynical rival Clive (Rupert Penry-Jones) sneers at her charitable excesses: “There’s a thin line between altruism and self-indulgence.” Cruel, but he has a point.
I proclaim “Silk” not guilty…of being boring.
“Tamra’s OC Wedding”
Monday, 7 p.m.
Tamra Barney is the self-proclaimed “hottest” member of “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” Her wedding is so important that Bravo requires a whole series to do it justice. Tamra’s fiancé is Eddie Judge, who has presumably never seen “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” otherwise he would have discovered that Barney specializes in toxic marital relationships. If he’s smart, the groom will run out of the church as fast as he can. CV
Dean Robbins is a syndicated TV columnist from Madison, Wis. See more of his work at www.thedailypage.com.