Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ripper Street (TV)

Ripper Street reminds me a lot of Copper but for a British audience.  It is set around the same time frame (mid to late 1800s) and deals with cops investigating crimes in the roughest parts of their country's biggest city.  In this case, the police unit of focus patrols the East End of London (which includes White Chapel) and the show begins just after the last of the Ripper's murders.  It follows them as they deal with the aftermath of those brutal crimes as well as delving into the copper's private misadventures.

I was attracted to it not just for the interesting premise, but also because Mathew MacFadyen heads up the cast as Detective Inspector Edmund Reid.  I'm a fan of his but not of the truly appalling suits he must wear during this show.  He does a decent job leading the cast but the part doesn't really allow his charisma to come through - he's a hard man here and they don't show much humanity.  Like the main character on Copper, he also has a troubled marriage, has lost a child and is smarter than most everybody else. They both have maverick forensic scientists helping them on the sly.  Really the only real difference between the shows is the setting (London vs. New York) and Copper is a bit more violent, tawdry and crass because, well, you know what we yanks are like:)  The two shows have different creators however so I guess any similarities are coincidental.

The most interesting character for me is the enigmatic American Doctor/Former Pinkerton Homer Jackson who serves as forensic scientist.  His storyline along with a tough bawdy house madam he seems to be connected with in a hate/love relationship is one of the more interesting through lines of the series.  He was also the most likeable of the characters for me. 

Overall, I liked the show but didn't love it.  It was engaging but not addictive.  I think the first series has a slow start but picks up in the last 4-5 episodes.  The last episode was probably my favorite because the main storyline is dire and dramatic and the B storyline is seriously creepy.  Hopefully the quality of these latter episodes carries into the second series which should be airing as I write this or pretty soon. 

Anybody else caught Ripper Street?  What do you think?

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