Bored with being the Lord of Hell, the devil relocates to Los Angeles, where he opens a nightclub and forms a connection with a homicide detective.
The show’s expository title card calls it a vacation, but it’s more accurate to say that the devil has been taking a leave of absence from reigning over hell, since a 5-year-and-counting vacay was definitely not in the job description. (No one’s work benefits are that good, not even the devil’s!) Anyway, Lucifer’s trade one den of sin for another, in the form of an L.A. nightclub. And he starts solving murders, because why not? (Obvi there’s an in-show reason, but as far as throw-against-the-wall premises go, why not?)
Tom Ellis as Lucifer
The rest of the cast is solid, but his performance pretty much is the main attraction. I’m not familiar with the comic series that the show is based on, but I do love this interpretation of the devil as someone who isn’t evil but merely punishes evil. (Reminds me of quotes like “Hell is empty and all the devils are here” and “Hell is other people”. And it also emphasizes that people are accountable for their own shitty actions.)
One thing that takes me out of the show the further along I watched is the mojo stare when Lucifer compels humans to divulge their deepest desire. It’s unnerving how it’s always so consistent, which then makes me think OF COURSE IT IS; he’s an actor, and their whole thing is being able to do things like this on command. And then I think about all the raw footage of him just mischeviously staring into the camera without any sound effects.
Lauren German as Chloe
Chloe’s a former C-list actor (think American Pie-like credentials) turned homicide detective who begrudingly works with Lucifer. Contrary to all the secret identity superpower shows, it’s refreshing that Lucifer is incredibly upfront about being the literal devil. Of course, Chloe doesn’t actually believe him, but refreshing nonetheless.
Despite having now watched her in this role for however many hours have aired, Lauren will somehow always be the mean girl in A Walk to Remember for me. (Long-winded side note: the ‘devastating’ prank in it never made any sense to me, since it was obviously very bad photoshop of Mandy Moore’s head on someone else’s body. (I guess the humiliation is because the character’s so modest? Still terrible graphics.) Whereas the movie starts with an actual horrific prank that was probably under-reacted to, based on the hubbub over the Microsoft Paint masterpiece. (I misremembered that someone had died, but Wiki just says seriously injured.))
D.B. Woodside as Amenadiel
Principal Wood/Wayne Palmer really has that arrogant, condescending older brother attitude down as the angel tasked with badgering Lucifer about going back to hell. Although one of the most unrealistic parts of this show about angels and demons is that a dark-skinned Black man in the U.S. has only had one racist encounter in four years. (The police brutality episode did only occur in the Netflix era, so it’s possible that Fox just wouldn’t let them go there before. (Wouldn’t be the first time for a broadcast network.))
Lesley-Ann Brandt as Maze
Hell’s best torturer who followed her boss to Earth in order to protect him; a demon with zero interest in adapting to human customs and behaviour. (Kind of like Anya’s cluelessness about how to human, but with Buffy’s fighting skills.) I remember Lesley-Ann positively from my much-beloved Spartacus, but it’s also been an entire presidential term since I watched it and she was the first of two actors to have played that role, so my memory of her performance is very muddled.
Rachael Harris as Linda
While I’m all for ladies with sexual agency (esp. ones played an actor in her 40’s), I’m glad that Lucifer’s unconvential therapy payments to Linda were eventually phased out. (Let Linda be professional! It’s what she deserves!)
Kevin Alejandro as Dan
Chloe’s ex-husband and also apparently the only other homicide detective in L.A. I vaguely remember finding Kevin charming on Ugly Betty, but this is a more of a thankless wet blanket role. (Sometimes understandably being a wet blanket, but that doesn’t make it entertaining to watch.)
Aimee Garcia as Ella
Honestly, I generally find Ella a little grating, esp. when the show lays it on thick as her being the Resident Young/Hip Person (despite Aimee Garcia being the same age as Lauren German). But every police show needs a science nerd, with the added dimension of Ella being religious as well.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Medium
Procedurals aren’t for everyone, but they’re also the quintessential background show for anyone who’s popping in and out. (Or, more likely, in a household where TV time needs to be shared.)
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Whatever Floats Your Boat
I mean, rules no longer apply in a pandemic, but especially not for a show like this, since Lucifer would of course encourage any and all substances to enhance your viewing experience. (FYA, of course, only encourages legal and responsible consumption.)
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Good-ish
My reservations really have more to do with this being the first procedural I had watched since the recent Black Lives Matter protests began. I’ll admit; police shows are so prevalent that it never occurred to me to think critically about these depictions and the influence they have on shaping our personal perspectives. Watching a cop show with this awareness was definitely a different experience. (This is also why I haven’t rewatched Brooklyn Nine-Nine lately, since the actual policing probably wouldn’t fare well under scrutiny.)
Honestly, Lucifer could get rid of the police storylines entirely and I would not miss them at all. The show’s really good at switching up combinations among the core cast and exploring all the different relationships; if it just wanted to be a hangout show with Lucifer granting the occasional favour, I would not hate it! I also appreciate how it takes consequences seriously; there’s one subplot that would be offscreen collateral damage in most supernatural shows, but this one digs in to show what can happen when a human gets caught up in divine matters. Plus, y’know, I like all the angel stuff.