Ripper Street

Ripper Street – I Need Light – S01E01


The spree of Ripper murders has just come to an end and the streets of London reel from the murderer who hasn’t been caught. The H Division is in charge of keeping order in Whitechapel and eye out for Jack the Ripper. Any violent crime makes them cringe as it could be a new calling card.

This is not the story of detective Aberline that many of us are used to, this a whole new group that needs to protect undesirable Whitechapel and continue the investigation into Jack the Ripper. Detective Inspector Edmund Reid leads a new band of agents as they work to keep order in the streets. And what an odd band they make. The opening sequence looks like it’s been shot for Fight Club.

For this opening episode it appears Jack the Ripper is back on the streets. As a tour groups recounts the murders and visits the sites, they discover a body. Soon, there is another. Is this the work of the Ripper or some twisted copycat? With some help from the Ladies of the Night and a doctor who frequents their establishment, the group puts together the clues that leads down some very dark roads. What appears to be a copycat might actually be the work of the media looking to make a story. What looks like more random prostitutes being killed may have roots in another form of entertainment.

This is indeed a dark story and certainly darker than we might except from the BBC. The threat of Jack looms large and they see him and his work in everything they do. Every clue makes them think he’s back at work. Every victim shows his violence. But they get so wrapped in the details they don’t see the forest for the trees. Soon, they have to separate themselves and work smartly. It’s an interesting story with the first episode being rather gritty and rough. It fits the time though. Whitechapel is riddled with squalor. There are no clean streets or satin sheets on this side of town.

I’m curious to see where they head with this idea. Will they offer clues as to who Jack the Ripper might be? Will suspects from the major books make their way onto the screen so a case can be presented for each one? Will Jack be caught? Will there be a new spree that was never revealed in the papers? An interesting an touchy subject to be sure. Will this new team present some new evidence and shed some light on the current day mystery?

Either way, I’m a sucker for a period BBC drama and one that centers on Jack the Ripper has my full attention. We have all the makings of something quite interesting, the head detective with the mysterious past, the second in command who settles disputes with his fists, the doctor who has some interesting night time habits of his own, the ladies of the evening who know all that goes on in the streets and might be willing to let a few details slip if the price is right.

I’ve only seen the one episode with two more in the wings waiting for viewing. I’ll have to jump into those and see where this takes us.

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