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Considering An American Version Of ‘Luther’… Who Would Star?

Considering An American Version Of 'Luther'... Who Would Star?

Has American television ever seen a character like John Luther – as played by Idris Elba in the hit BBC One series, Luther? The genius, emotionally-impulsive detective tormented by humanity’s darker side, complicatedly-drawn and incisively brought to life on screen by Mr Elba.

I can’t think of anything close to what Luther brings – what those of us who are fans of the series (especially here in the USA), really appreciate about it, since that kind of a complex character in a detective series like Luther, is painfully lacking on American television, and has been for a long time. And we have to look across the pond for him.

Granted, Luther wasn’t originally scripted as a black man. Luther could’ve been any race, color, ethnicity, etc. Idris just happens to be black, and his *blackness* doesn’t really have any influence on the individual story strands of the series, and each of its episodes – something that I think also adds to its appeal.

At least, that hasn’t happened thus far – where skin color becomes a character, or a deliberate focus in an episode of the series; and I don’t think that’ll change in the upcoming third season. You’ll recall that Idris Elba has long stressed that he isn’t necessarily interested in being “the black actor,” or in playing “black characters,” or starring in “black films” that tell “black stories.”

But I digress… a bit.

With Luther going into its 3rd and final season this fall, I’ve heard rumors that an American TV network might be looking to pick it up and continue the series, likely with Luther as a black American character.

Now before I go one, let me emphasize that these are just RUMORS! I don’t have any confirmation of this whatsoever. None! So if any other sites pick up on this story, please don’t quote this as fact, with S&A as your source.

Again, nothing but rumors.

But that’s really not the main focus of this post.

One might automatically assume that IF an American TV network (whether cable TV or broadcast) were interested in adapting the show for American audiences, that Idris would star. Unfortunately, Idris has already pretty much said that he won’t be returning for another season of the BBC series, because, first, he really wants to take the character from the small screen to the big screen next, producing and starring in a Luther feature film. And secondly, he wants to do other things.

It’s actually a perfect set-up if you ponder it. Luther season 3 (its final season on the BBC) ends later this year; the Luther feature is packaged and financed for a 2014 shoot; it debuts in 2015; and right around that time, some TV network (hopefully a cable TV network like HBO, Showtime, AMC, FX, etc) announce that they’ve ordered an American version of the series, taking advantage of all the ongoing publicity, and feeding into fan frenzy, as the feature film opens in theaters. Or maybe the announcement is made at around the same time that the feature project is.

Of course, again, all of this is completely hypothetical, so just humor me and play along!

The question I have for you all is this: if an American adaptation of Luther were to happen, what black American actor would you like to see play Luther?

I recall when the first trailer for Blair Underwood’s Ironside reboot surfaced, some suggested that Ironside as a black man may have been in reaction to the success of Luther in the USA. I don’t really know about that actually. But maybe. Underwood has had a first-look deal with NBCUniversal since The Event, which included an item stating that they would create at least one series around him. So this Ironside reboot is an attempt. I just can’t say that it’s reason for being is indeed influenced by Luther’s success.

Keep in mind that, even though many of us are fans of Luther, and have been following the series since its first season a couple of years ago, it’s still not as popular a show as you’d think. A lot of us haven’t even heard of it. And I mean black people specifically. So there’s still room for it to grow as more folks discover it. But my point is that I’m not sure if it’s been a popular enough show, with impressive ratings, that it would inspire a TV studio exec to want to mimic its success, since they seem to love to do that – copy something that’s already been successful.

But again, if you were to make a short list of actors you’d love to see star in an Americanized Luther series, what black American actors would be on it?

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Sorry for all typos, folks. I'm still trying to get used to these touch screen keypads. Iwas in an accident and dont have ful use of my hands either. So, it makes it a bit more challenging. I hope it doesnt put you guys off.


Or another good choice for alice, depending on how well she could do an american accent, the actress who plays hg wells on warehouse 13. She was also in dexter for a season. She has the perfevt blend of beauty, sexy and can look sinister as seen on dexter. Her name is jaime murray. Or it may be murry…not sure on spelling, but she has the perfect look for alice. Check her out and tell me i'm wrong. :) this is fyn…specularing like this. I loved luther and am bummed it's over. So i want an american adaptaruon sorely! Please! Lol!


I would love to see jaime hector get a shot at playing luther. His experience as marlo shiwed he can go to the dark places luther goes to mentally. But if i were in charge of adapting to american tv, don cheadle would be my 1st choice hehas the acting chops and the name recognition. If i was forced to pick a white actor for luther, i'd go with another wire alum, i know he's not american, but it didnt affect him as tommy carcetti so i dont see why it would hinder him as an american version of luther. Aidan gillen would be my 1stcgoice


Viola Davis


Why does everything have to be remade in an American version? Please don't do it. It's just fine with Edris with Americans watching him. I don't think anyone could do it just, I love the entire cast just the way it is!

Christa Evans

I hate to burst everyone's bubble, but according to insiders, Wentworth Miller pretty much is having this upcoming US adaptation written for him. I think he's a great fit for it. And from what I hear, the "Alice" character will be re-imagined as "a prodigious youth with criminal tendencies".


Luther (USA) staring …… Idris Elba. :)

Dankwa Brooks

Yeah Tambay you ever publish anything about Luther's ratings on BET? I was wondering if their audiences "got it".

Miles Ellison

Luther is a great show, but there wouldn't be much of an audience for this. When it aired on BET, I'm sure there were a lot of people wondering why Stringer Bell was a cop with a funny accent.

The pickings are slim as far as black actors are concerned. The Luther character is way beyond the skill set of most popular black American actors. There are less popular black actors who could pull it off, but nobody would watch. There's not a lot of demand for black complexity on American television.


If it were to happen, I would say DB Woodside for Luther and for Alice…..maybe Jennifer Jason Leigh.

I agree with some others….I am still upset over what Nothing But Cancellations network did with Prime Suspect.


Pickings are slim, but how about Chadwick Boseman? He's the hot up-and-comer right now isn't he? And he's got the chops.

On another post somebody said 50 Cent Lol.


I think what this article really stresses, in an indirect way, is that there is NO Black American actor who can properly play Idris' self-effacing, brilliant, flawed Luther. Outside of Denzel Washington (and perhaps Jeffrey Wright), most high-profile black male actors in Hollywood are a bunch of glossy-lipped dandies who spend too much time in the mirror and not enough in the books.

Whether it's Hollywood that breeds this personality type or not I do not know, but one thing's for sure: right now, Black Male American actors are interchangeable and expendable, stuck in a rut of vanity that will always be surpassed by their overseas counterparts.


Sorry. Just read the part where Idris won't do another TV season… So, if I had to pick someone, Omari Hardwick? Could Shemar Moore carry the part? He has a large following from Criminal Minds.

That's a tough one. Idris is Luther.

Mekisha Hale

First of all I have heard of "Luther" from the BBC series. Starring Idris Elba which he does a fantastic job portraying the character in the show "Luther". Then learning from reading this article that British Actor Idris Elba was doing the last season of "Luther". And the thoughts are going towards to motion pictures.
The question is that since actor Idris Elba will be doing the last season of "Luther",it was mentioned that now the show could now be more of an motion picture. While the question is being raised about the possible notion that an American version of the show could be possible for American audiences. And what American actor could portray the character in "Luther" for U.S. Suggestions were of how the show would begin to what network would this interesting story line of "Luther" could take place. Meaning what cable network would show it, But then another notion came to mind. Since there is a possibility of a feature film that will star Idis Elba,to be done by the year 2014. Then if the film of "Luther" is released,why do the show at the same time in America version of the show while the movie starring Idis Elba being released ,if that happens. That will confuse the public who isn't familiar to the franchise. My opinion only I think maybe it would be better to not going along with the idea to make a American Version. If a movie is being released at the same time. It would confuse the public even more. When remaking a show from over seas. American television doesn't do a good job sometimes with the translation of the show from over seas to American audiences. And other times the idea does work,in history of television if you look back many successful shows ideas did come from actual shows that were successful in Europe then where made in the American version over here. But this idea of this show which is the based totally on the character "Luther" would be a great idea if only they would do one thing at a time then just doing an American version of "Luther".


How about keeping Idris with an American cast in an American location? Frankly, I can't imagine anyone else playing Luther.


Just noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Dankwa Brooks

This might seem like ironic casting, but WOOD HARRIS would KILL that role. High hopes would be JEFFREY WRIGHT. Doubt that would ever happen. The only other person I see good for it is BLAIR UNDERWOOD.

Walter Harris Gavin

The idea that black folks want to play characters "that happen to be 'black'," and not people of African descent which will always add layers and nuance to a character seems really strange. If a character is missing and arm, has a limp, is extremely good looking, or vice versa, will impact how both the audience and the other characters in the story may or may not react. And that character for good or for ill will have a history, a past, experiences that because he or she is "black" impacts their worldview and how they are viewed by others. To be otherwise rings false. Othello is a "moor" for a reason. If anyone could play him, the very essence of the play changes. When roles, characters are "specific" that is always additive to our understanding of what makes that character tick, helping us all see the complexity that is the human be-ing.


Nah, not possible. And who's gonna play Alice Morgan? Only Ruth is capable of this, no one else. Luther without Ruth as Alice = Sherlock without Watson.


I can think of no one else to play the role, except Idris. When I read the latest book from Neil Cross…I just could see his face in the words. It will not be the same without him.


Ok, sorry for the snark. It would be cool to see Bokeem Woodbine get more work. I do have a followup question though. If Luther is a show about a troubled detective that just happens to be Black but his Blackness isn't brought up as a device for the show what if they remade here with a white lead? Do you think that would work?


This is messed up because the first actor that came to mind is not American- Chiwitel. Lord, there must be someone. Maybe Chadwick Boseman and Chad Coleman have that dark, brooding edginess in their acting repertoires, and they just haven't had the opportunity to really show that dark side of a character fully?


Sorry Tambay,

But I cannot even entertain the notion at this point. And yes, I have the Prime Suspect re-make still fresh in my mind as I type this. I cannot even muster what risks getting my hopes up at this point.


Common, bokeem woodbine, Omari hard wick, Michael Ealy. US government hierarchy makes a precinct detective unlikely to have the type cases he dealt with.


Ok guys, I'm not asking whether you want it or not, or whether you think it's a good or bad idea. Ultimately, if it happens, it happens, whether you want it or not. It won't be the first time.

The question again is, if it were to happen, and the rumor turns out to be true (which is certainly possible), what black American actors would you like to see star in it? And once again, Idris Elba is not in consideration because he's already said he won't do another TV season.


No, I don't want it.


The American version of Prime Suspect tanked with a good star. The writing would have to rival the current writing, cable tv, for adult content and an admirable star. Give it to Idris as well



That is all.


no please for the love of God i hope this doesn't happen – us brits want this to ourself. sorry but not sorry.


I've never heard of this series, and it sounds pretty interesting, but just the other day is where I fist learned of it…. not sure if on here or another website, but the rumor one person mentioned is that Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is being considered for the role. That is what I heard.

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