31 March 2013

Ripper Street (season 1) short review

How I found out about this series is a bit weird. West Wind's Andy Cooper had sculpted 3 miniatures for Empire of the Dead: Requiem and called them "The Hell division". I had no clue about that until another participant of the Kickstarter campaign asked who they were and got the answer they were the main characters in a show called Ripper Street.

Sounded interesting enough, so I watched the entire first season (which was just 8 episodes long) and have to say that it's a pretty good show. Ripper Street is set in the late 19th century, a few months after the Jack the Ripper murders have ceased. It centers around 2 Policemen and 1 former Pinkerton agent that work with solving crimes and mysteries in Whitechapel Police precinct  also known as the H division.

In terms of grit, dirty locations, brutality and even intro theme it feels like a distant cousin of the show Deadwood - though without all the colorful cursing. It does include some gruesome murders and the occasional on screen naked breast (although nudity isn't as frequent and pointless as in Boardwalk Empire).

The cast is great, one of them - Jerome Flynn - you may recognize from Game of Thrones where he plays "Bronn" (and we also get a guest appearance by Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont) in one episode. It does center upon the trio of lawmen who have a good personal chemistry with each other on the screen. There are a couple of side characters that are also worth mentioning, like the smug reporter always trying to get a "Ripper angle" on murder cases, the occasional appearance by chief inspector Frank Abberline who is quite obsessed by the Ripper and a the cathouse madam.

Each 60 minute episode is a "case of the week", a format which I prefer when it comes to shows like these. So the main characters have to solve a murder mystery or something else in a self contained storyline, although the shadow of Jack the Ripper seems to loom over London  and often enough people believe that the Ripper has returned which makes it interesting when the main characters have to work against those presumptions and finding out the truth about their cases.

In any case, the show is a great looking and well acted crime drama which I can recommend to anyone liking crime drama series or just a pretty and well acted period piece. The score would be higher if all of the episodes were as good as the first and last one, but the short season included a few weak episodes which dragged and occasionaly the part of solving the mystery feels rushed.

If you are painting miniatures for a game set during this period, then the show offers a great deal of inspiration so it may be worth checking out just because of that.



  1. I was a fan of Ripper Street from episode 1. Great review, very balanced and informative. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I hope season 2 will be as good. (And Happy Easter Clint)

  2. Fantastic series I'm looking forward to season 2 which is rumored to being filmed. Nice Review

  3. I have heard of this but never watched it. I shall have to give it a go.

  4. An excellent review of a fine series. I really enjoyed it. The episode with Iain Glen was particularly fun. The producers had obviously spent a lot of time thinking about the setting and the late Victorian dialogue, which rang true for me. Jerome Flynn was excellent, as was Matthew Macfadyean (streets away from dreadful Marks & Spencer food adverts). A second series is being made, which is really good news. Thanks again for the great review, Anatoli !

  5. I may have to check out the series.

  6. It's a good show and I look forward to the second season, as I wrote, the score would have been higher if not for a couple of episodes that weren't that exciting. That is pretty much the only "bad" thing about season 1.

  7. A Fan's Cut


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