With Oliver Twist and King Arthur both up for reboots as police procedurals, you’re probably thinking that there’s very little else to do in the overpopulated field of detective dramas. Well, what if we were to throw in the literal Devil? Has that made you sit you up and take notice?
Based on a character from Neil Gaiman’s critically lauded Sandman comic series, Tom Ellis plays Lucifer Morningstar, who you may have read about in the popular book, The Bible. Having grown tired of ruling over Hell, Lucifer has decided to take a holiday. Now living in LA, where he runs his own nightclub, the crimson one is a champion of freewill and punishing people who choose to do the wrong thing. Think of it as a theological Dexter, with heavy dollops of Elementary thrown in, as Lucifer’s eccentric way of crime fighting clashes with the stony faced Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German). Elsewhere, Lucifer’s brother, Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) pops up regularly to forcibly encourage his sibling to return to his rightful place.
Despite the potential for brooding Gothicism, Lucifer is a surprisingly light affair. As the main man himself, Ellis appears to be having a whale of time as the dark lord detective. Equal parts smarmy and charming, Lucifer finds great delight in the constant danger that he puts himself in. Even whilst being away from Hell means that he has the potential to become mortal, he takes it all in good stead realising that he’s now becoming open to new sensations such as bleeding and broken bones.
Admittedly the incessant puns about Hell do begin to grate, and the soundtrack is often too on the nose (Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut”, really?). And yes, aside from the protagonist being The Devil, there’s very little to distinguish it from other police procedurals. However, it’s quite easy to be charmed over by it all.