The devil and the de­tec­tive

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Mi­randa’s Tom El­lis plays a right dirty devil in this US TV se­ries, now ar­riv­ing on DVD.

re­leased 17 oc­to­ber 2016 | 15 | dvd Cre­ator tom Kapinos Cast tom el­lis, lau­ren Ger­man, db Wood­side, les­ley-ann brandt

Imag­ine if some­body de­cided to make an Amer­i­can cop show in the style of Are You Be­ing Served?, with Bri­tish in­nu­en­dos fly­ing all over the place, and with a lead char­ac­ter who’s none other than Satan him­self. Can you pic­ture the devil mak­ing cracks (pun in­tended) about Mrs Slo­combe’s pussy?

Well, imag­ine no longer: Fox has, in­ex­pli­ca­bly, cast one-time EastEn­ders and Mi­randa star Tom El­lis as the sassi­est, smut­ti­est Lu­cifer you’ll ever see – a naughty lit­tle devil so filthy he’ll make a dou­ble-en­ten­dre out of any­thing, like a cun­ning-lin­guist MacGyver. Thank­fully, the ma­jor­ity of his puns are funny, although oc­ca­sion­ally you do wish Lu­cifer would calm down; he’s like a 12-year-old who’s just dis­cov­ered what sex is and can’t stop smirk­ing about it. Mind you, that also sums up how a fallen an­gel would feel after flee­ing from thou­sands of years in hell to live with randy hu­mans in Cal­i­for­nia, so per­haps we can for­give him.

The show bears lit­tle sim­i­lar­ity to the Ver­tigo comic on which it’s based and is just one of a batch of re­cent se­ries, from Con­stan­tine to Preacher, adapted from comics deal­ing with char­ac­ters with links to hell. Here, though, the ad­di­tion of a po­lice-pro­ce­dural for­mat (as Lu­cifer teams up with an LA de­tec­tive to solve crimes) gives it a fa­mil­iar, com­fort­able spin. It’s a jux­ta­po­si­tion that has ad­mit­tedly been done to death, but which con­trasts de­li­ciously with Lu­cifer’s un­usu­ally Bri­tish bawdi­ness.

And as he wan­ders from crime scene to crime scene driv­ing his homi­cide de­tec­tive part­ner Chloe in­sane with his chit­ter-chat­ter – but al­ways help­ing her solve the crime – you can’t help but en­joy your­self. Sure, if you don’t click with El­lis’s puppy-dog per­for­mance, you’re doomed; and a sub­plot about Lu­cifer’s grumpy brother Ame­nadiel is ir­ri­tat­ing un­til it builds to some­thing in­ter­est­ing later on. Oh, and in one of the most Bechdel-bait­ing roles in re­cent TV, Lu­cifer has a gig­gly ther­a­pist who ei­ther wor­ries about him or bonks him – maybe she’ll ac­tu­ally get to do some­thing that isn’t him in sea­son two…

But even if you aren’t charmed by Lu­cifer’s in­nu­en­dos or are an­noyed by his way with the ladies (and even a few guys...), you might en­joy watch­ing the de­light­fully ex­as­per­ated Chloe roll her eyes and look as though she wants to stran­gle him. In her thank­less role as Satan’s straight-man, Lau­ren Ger­man is quite bril­liant – un­der­play­ing ev­ery­thing El­lis over­plays, giv­ing him “as if” looks when he claims to be an an­gel, and of­ten prov­ing her­self way clev­erer than he is. With an on-screen cou­ple as heav­enly as this, Lu­cifer re­ally does have wings.

Ex­tras Noth­ing thrilling: the show’s 2015 Comic-Con panel (13 min­utes), six short fea­turettes (mostly one-minute “char­ac­ter pro­files”), ten deleted scenes (six min­utes) and a gag reel. Jayne Nel­son

Chris­tian protest group One Mil­lion Moms pe­ti­tioned to stop Lu­cifer be­ing made be­cause it “mis­char­ac­terises Satan”.

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