Netflix Nosedive: Lucifer

I knew just from watching the trailers that I was going to like Lucifer, but I had no idea how much I would love it. The premise is summed up in the introduction text nicely, that the devil used to rule over Hell, until he decided to take a vacation in Los Angeles. Lucifer Morningstar is a narcissistic, self-centered, permanently horny immortal teenager, forever pissed off at his parents about being kicked out and branded “the great evil” when he’s clearly more sociopath than psycho.

And if I made him sound dreadful, he is. BUT, those are also his good points. Yeah, really.

Bascially, Lucifer is sort of like The Mentalist’s Patrick Jane, if Patrick had never given up the family business. Lucifer gets into detective work due to the murder of a pop singer he helped with a favor, bringing him into contact with Detective Chloe Decker, a woman he cannot use his powers of persuasion on. This intrigues him, and he begins inviting himself along to all her cases until she finally relents and calls him her partner.

Chloe, by the way, was not always a cop. She started out an actress and made exactly one film, Hot Tub High School, one of those titties out teen comedies that everyone has seen at some point, even her own daughter, who’s maybe nine. Her complaint about the film is priceless: “It’s not even in HD!”

Speaking of Trixie, Chloe’s daughter, I have never seen a child actress more perfectly capture the delicate balance of sugar sweetness and capricious delight. Most writers try to make TV children either perfectly good or “problem kids,” but Trixie is something in the middle, and it works so well. Even her intro in the first episode, in how she deals with a bully, shows that this is a girl who will drop the sugar and spice when the situation calls for it, and I love her for this.

On Lucifer’s side of the “family,” there’s his brother Amenadiel, who initially comes in as a straight man to Lucifer’s sneering jokes. His job, as he sees it, is to get “Luci” to return to Hell and his career of full-time tormentor. His role in the show changes over time, due in large part to the influence of Mazikeen, Lucifer’s right hand demon and part-time bartender. Mazikeen actually longs to return to Hell and resume her duties as lead torturer of the damned. But so long as her boss wants to stay on Earth, she sticks with him. Or she does at first. Like Amenadiel, her role evolves over time.

I also can’t forget to mention Lucifer’s shrink, Dr. Linda Martin. She’s delightful, both in her random nervous tic facial expressions, and her reaction to Lucifer always, ALWAYS taking her advice the wrong way and doing the exact opposite of whatever she says. She spends a long time believing that Lucifer isn’t really the devil, and that his whole act is metaphors to cover his insecurities. But eventually she is let in on the truth, and the fact that she still goes on being the therapist to the devil is just one more part of what makes this show so damned good.

Everyone in this show evolves in some way. There’s even a comatose cop who goes through a process of change throughout the first season. He’s a suspect, then he’s not, then he is again. It’s crazy, but it works. There’s also a character who seems like a throwaway joke who later resurfaces to become a threat to Lucifer’s role as a civilian consultant for the LAPD. I did not see it coming, and that’s a hallmark of great writing, making a twist that’s foreshadowed, and yet I still get blindsided by its return.

The second season cranks the family angles up even more for both Chloe and Lucifer. On Chloe’s side, her estranged ex-husband and co-worker Dan Espinoza (who I regret not mentioning for his role, but figure it’s best to leave that part be so you can discover his story on your own) suggests finally getting a divorce, and Chloe chooses to leave her mother’s old home, taking on Mazikeen as a roommate. This change ends up doing wonders for Mazikeen, including an episode where she handles babysitting Trixie on a special holiday. (Trying not to spoil it, because it’s so, so touching.)

For Lucifer, (I’m sorry, there’s no way to avoid this spoiler) the new addition to his family is…his mom. Her plots and schemes make it clear who Lucifer got his narcissism from, and her attempts to integrate into human life, including exploring sexuality, bring moments of comedy gold as both Lucifer and Amenadiel react to her like little kids discovering their parents doing something naughty. Her story is the center around the regular mysteries of season two, and at its conclusion she makes a rather grand exit, leaving season three with a notable void.

Sadly, Netflix only has the first two seasons, so I have to wait to see more. But I am definitely on board to see more of this. I love how even the most tense moments can suddenly be lightened by a one-liner, and the evolving families, both human and celestial, are brilliant. I’d give Lucifer 5 stars and recommend it to just about everyone except perhaps the devoutly religious.