Perpetually suicidal, and with a sprinkling of intuitive genius, he's almost off the bleak end of the maverick-cop spectrum.
The character was conceived by Booker Prize-nominated author Neil Cross, who describes his creation as "a feral Columbo and a bookish Dirty Harry fighting in a sack". We talked a lot about how perfect he'd be, but as far as I was concerned this was an entirely hypothetical conversation – the world's full of writers and producers talking about how perfect Idris Elba would be for their project. Perhaps because the BBC didn't want to freak me out, I didn't actually know the script had been sent to him until he'd read and liked it.
So I thought it was a step forward – and it has been.
For one thing, it's the only performance of mine that ever got me a Golden Globe nomination." The Met's DCI John Luther returns for a second series next month, having witnessed the deaths of his wife and his best friend – who, by the way, killed his wife – at the close of the first.
In the meantime, he has built a respectable career as a film actor.