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Set in the 1960s, the show follows Endeavour Morse in his early years as a police constable. Working alongside his senior partner DI Fred Thursday, Morse engages in a number of investigations around Oxford.
Set in 2008 and against the hugely atmospheric background of Whitechapel, London, a modern police force are fighting an old adversary. A series of bloody, tragic and impossible crimes would suggest someone is carrying out copycat Jack the Ripper murders. The murders are investigated by our three unlikely heroes: Chandler, a fast-tracked, media savvy DI on his first big murder case; Miles, nearing retirement, a front-line, hard-bitten DS, and Buchan, the eccentrically brilliant Jack the Ripper tour guide.Written by
Rupert Penry-Jones, Phil Davis, and Alex Jennings also co-star together on Silk. See more »
The Met don't use interview rooms with two way mirrors. That's an Americanism. See more »
The BBC U.S. DVD release under the box title of "Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns" features the first three episodes with a running time of 136 minutes. The program on the disc gives the title as simply "Whitechapel." See more »
"Whitechapel" is rather like a Dan Brown novella. What it lacks in actual writing talent, it more than makes up in storyline.
The previous commenter skewered this 3-part ITV crime drama, a modernist re-do of the Jack the Ripper murders, but the high scores (9.0 out of 10 at time of writing) tell a different tale. Those who are watching are clearly enjoying this fast-paced, oddly dark series. I suspect this is a reflection on other lacklustre series offered today, as much as its own qualities, but equally it could be because of its ambitious narrative. It's one of those programmes which charms the viewer despite its flaws.
Rupert Penry-Jones, he of Spooks/Cambridge Spies and son of television grande dame Angela Thorne, leads a cast of unevenly talented actors who have been given the impossible task of updating the Jack the Ripper murders. But it's not just the crime which has been updated, but for once, so has the copper.
Like many "paper cops", who have more education than experience, DI Joseph Chandler (Penry-Jones) seems a bit wet to his hard-bitten colleagues in the force. His Savile Row suits, David Beckham haircuts, fashionably large Tag Heuer Grand Carrera Chronograph Calibre 17 watch (Penry-Jones is a big Tag fan), as well as homeopathic remedies for tension -- a mint pomade for the temples -- scream out metrosexual for these 'lager and crisps' men. It's all too much when he asks them to shower and look more respectable in a suit, not to mention actually read whole books on the Ripper murders, which they reluctantly do.
East Londoner extraordinaire, DI Miles (Philip Davis), especially doesn't like this new state of affairs. It's possible that he sees a future when policemen will be more like Penry-Jones than the rogue-copper-with-a-heart-of-gold version he represents; he constantly refuses to acknowledge the lad may have some good ideas. His colleagues agree, save for one DI Chandler wannabe, played by Sam Stockman. With his off-the-peg suits, and "crapuccinos" (as they are teasingly referred to by others), it seems even the lower orders may desire a more polished style.
The series is never bogged down by details of the old Ripper saga, perhaps due to the eccentric Ripperologist who hovers around the story, played to the hilt by the excellent Steve Pemberton. Could the mastermind of the modern Ripper murders, replicated to the exact detail, be none other than a man whose entire life is dedicated to Jack the Ripper? Or perhaps like an Agatha Christie murder, the obvious is too, well, obvious?
Whitechapel may have any number of flaws, not the least of which are hackneyed character development, seeming like a cross between Prime Suspect, Morse and cult-classic Edge of Darkness, but it packs a very intriguing punch all the same.
73 of 86 people found this review helpful.
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