is the precinct with the worst cold case ever.
While they never did crack the Jack the Ripper case, the new guard
carries forth. Six months later, every new
murder raises the same question: is he back?
Despite the baggage of the recent past, Detective Inspector Edmund Reid
will pursue his investigations as best he can in Ripper Street (promo here), which premieres on BBC America this
assigned to the case, Reid did not lead the original Ripper inquiry. That is why he is still on the job. His former superior, Chief Inspector
Frederick Abberline, “retired” for obvious reasons, but he still follows events
in Whitechapel closely. In the series
opening I Need Light, a woman is discovered
in the murdered in a similarly gruesome fashion. Not surprisingly, Abberline and the tabloid press
jump to the same conclusion. Reid will
keep a lid on them temporarily, but he will need the extracurricular help of
disgraced former Pinkerton and U.S. Army doctor Captain Homer Jackson. Of Course, Jackson is more interested in his
own dissolute pursuits and mysterious schemes, both of which involve Tenter
Street “proprietress” Susan Long. Nonetheless,
the expat has reasons to stay on the copper’s good side.
Ripper Street is more about the long
shadow cast by the notorious serial killer than the Ripper himself. In fact, Ripper lore never really factors
into the second episode, Under My
Protection. Cranking up the
Dickensian vibe, Reid protects a street delinquent convicted of murder from a
vigilante mob and the Fagin-on-steroids running his gang of juvenile
Reid’s lack of concern for cautions and solicitors, as well as his enthusiasm
for “modern” pathology, Ripper Street
could clearly be considered the British equivalent of Copper. It is a sturdy
formula, even if regular BBC America viewers will be quite familiar with its obvious
influences. Each episode (so far) also
seems to highlight an unsavory aspect of Victorian society, such as pornography
known for MI-5 (a.k.a. Spooks) Matthew Macfadyen is pretty
solid as Reid. Adam Rothenberg’s Jackson
has the look and bearing of a riverboat gambler, which is more right than
wrong. While we do not see very much of
her until the third act of the second episode, MyAnna Buring is clearly all
kinds of danger in the femme fatale role.
Yet, Jerome Flynn might be the class of the ensemble as Detective
Sergeant Bennet Drake, whom we meet whilst undercover as a bare knuckle
jury is still out on Ripper Street, especially
since it is still in the midst of its
initial British run. Based on the first
two episodes, it clearly promises some historical color, a bit of lurid
scandal, and a fair smattering of beat-downs in each outing. That is certainly a good start, but the crime
stories are rather standard issue thus far.
A safe bet for British mystery fans (but not yet appointment television),
Ripper Street has its U.S. debut this
Saturday (1/19) on BBC America.
(Photo: © Tiger Aspect/Jonathan Hession)
Labels: BBC America, Jack the Ripper, Ripper Street