On the Idiot Box: "Luther," "Cracked" and "Cold Justice"

By Craig D. Lindsey
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Aug. 28, 2013

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Idris Elba in "Luther."

Tuesdays, 10pm, BBC America
Captive audience: Anglophiles; U.K. police-procedural watchers; people who still can’t get over the fact that Stringer Bell has a British accent.
Moment of truth: Even though he’s had several movie projects on his plate (Pacific Rim; the upcoming Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Idris Elba took some time to return as troubled DCI John Luther for this third run of the psychological crime drama. As always, Elba’s fierce charisma keeps you tuned in, even when things get repetitive and far-fetched—especially in the finale, where Luther and old psychotic pal Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) team up and practically redo the first-season finale. While Luther remains the most get-the-fuck-outta-here show on television, Elba shows why his star’s rising so rapidly.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phl-emmy.

Fridays, 10pm, Reelz
Captive audience: Canadian police-procedural watchers; people who like their tormented-cop protagonists not really all that tormented.
Moment of truth: Why, here’s another show about a cop on the edge. The troubled cop in question, pitifully named Aidan Black (David Sutcliffe), gets re-assigned to a newly formed division after having a very ridiculous public meltdown. (I won’t spoil it for you.) He gets paired up with an implausibly gorgeous psychiatrist (Stefanie von Pfetten) as they investigate psychologically-related crimes. While this made-in-Canada production may hook the police-procedural junkies, the subpar writing makes this the least edgy, cop-on-the-edge show out there. It’s not even USA Network-caliber mediocre.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy.

Cold Justice
Tuesdays, 10pm, TNT
Captive audience: Police-procedural watchers, period.
Moment of truth: If you’ve gotten fed up with fictional police- procedurals, Law & Order ruler Dick Wolf is serving up some real-life crime drama with this docu-series. It follows two ladies, former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and former CSI Yolanda McClary, as they travel the country solving cold cases. It’s simplistic almost to the point of being pedestrian—the first two eps have them going to small towns, easily getting to the bottom of murders left unsolved thanks to antiquated police work. While it doesn’t beat The First 48 for sheer, race-against-time tension, it works if you like seeing the bad guys get theirs.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phl-emmy.

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