TV Picks: BBC America’s critically-acclaimed and BAFTA nominated original British drama Ripper Street returns in April. Picking up in 1894, four years after the culmination of season two, the new season reveals a vivid and sensual descent into the lives of the men and women who must live on the violent streets of Whitechapel in late Victorian London.
Ripper Street premieres Wednesday, April 29, 10:00pm ET on BBC America.
Matthew Macfadyen returns as Detective Inspector Reid, Jerome Flynn as the newly promoted Detective Inspector Bennet Drake, and Adam Rothenberg as Captain Homer Jackson. MyAnna Buring also returns as Long Susan in the eight-part season.
Four years have passed since Reid bayed for Drake to end the life of Jedediah Shine. Four years that have seen the crime-fighting axis of Reid, Drake and Jackson split and isolated from one another.
Drake has left London for Manchester to become the policeman – and man – he felt he could no longer be in Whitechapel. He is an Inspector himself now. Jackson has reverted to the man Reid plucked out of the Tenter Street brothel, a two-penny, sawbones, clap-doctor. And Reid has succumbed to his own shame and isolation, policing Whitechapel with a level of forensic detail and dedication that leads Chief Inspector Fred Abberline to fear for his old friend’s mental well-being.
Meanwhile, Long Susan has made good on her threats to both Captain Jackson and the dying Silas Dugan – she has separated from her husband, taken command of Duggan’s criminal empire and turned it into a legitimate property empire of huge philanthropic ambition. But such aspirations are costly, as her loyal but scheming solicitor Ronald Capshaw knows only too well.
All these resentments, fears and ambitions are soon forgotten, however, when two trains collide on the newly constructed bridge above Leman Street. It is a catastrophe which falls into Reid’s world and demands explanation. His pursuit reunites him with Drake and Jackson and sets him on his own collision course with his past and with the secret crimes of Long Susan and Ronald Capshaw.
The third season of Ripper Street was filmed in Manchester, Loughborough and Dublin and is produced by Tiger Aspect Productions and Lookout Point. It is co-produced by BBC AMERICA and Amazon Prime Instant Video, and distributed by BBC Worldwide.
Character profiles courtesy of BBC America:
Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen)
Reid is very much alone in the world.
His home is filthy and untended and he sleeps most nights on the day-bed in his office at Leman Street. The hole where his personal life should be has made him even more committed to his daily battles on the streets of Whitechapel.
Fallout from his failure to catch Jack the Ripper – the loss of both his daughter and wife – will forever haunt him, but with Whitechapel falling apart at the seams, Reid has enough on the table to keep his mind off the past.
Even his relationship with his closest allies is shifting. Not that Sergeant Drake’s loyalty to Reid is ever in question, but changes in his own life mean that Reid may no longer count on the violent enforcement that Drake provides.
As for Captain Jackson – loyalty is not something Reid has ever expected, but he has become used to relying on his expertise – skills, that may no longer be available to Reid if Jackson’s own ambitions are to be met.
Despite all this, Reid’s determination to fight evil remains undimmed. Just how far will Reid go to ensure that good prevails? And what will be the cost to his own soul?
Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg)
At first glance, Captain Jackson might seem tamed.
He is a fixture at the Leman Street station house these days, and his womanizing ways have been replaced by a re-commitment to his wife Long Susan Hart.
Were it not for the fact that they live in a brothel, his life might seem normal. Yet beyond this, he yearns for a new freedom.
As far as he is concerned, he and Susan have laid their past to rest and have no need to hide in the lawless chaos of Whitechapel. But harsh realities are soon to intrude on his life. Not only are those fantasy ambitions under threat, but so is the security of his home.
His free-spirited and reckless past meant that he had no idea of, or no interest in, just how his wife was able to finance the birth and growth of the Tenter Street bordello. He is soon to find out, though. And when he does, his and Susan’s life will be changed forever.
Detective Inspector Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn)
Much has changed in Drake’s life. He has married Bella, the young woman he saved from the grip of the trafficker Victor Silver, and seems to have found the domestic security he’s always craved.
Whether this has affected his ability to act as Reid’s brute enforcer is hard to tell.
For unrelated reasons, Leman Street’s methods of interrogation find themselves under the harsh glare of scandal. Just what price will he – and, by extension, Reid – have to pay for the violence they have dished out in the Leman Street cells?
Drake’s fundamental decency will be no match for the payback he finds fate to have in store for him.
**Jerome Flynn is best known to international audiences as Bronn in HBO’s hit series ‘Game of Thrones.’
Long Susan (MyAnna Buring)
As with Captain Jackson, Long Susan Hart finds herself freed from her original need to hide out in Whitechapel.
Unlike him, she has come to feel at home in the Tenter Street brothel.
But happiness is transitory as a new secret is soon to be revealed; one that even Captain Jackson had no idea. Susan is knee deep in debt she took on from her leasing of the Tenter Street site, financed by a far from legitimate source – the vile and ruthless moneylender, Silas Duggan.
At the time, wanted by the law and living anonymously – she had no choice but to accept the terms of this loan. Now, Silas wants his share of the successful business she has built, whether in coin or in Susan’s flesh, forcing her to examine the morality of what she has done for profit.
Rose Erskine (Charlene McKenna)
Rose has left Long Susan’s employment to seek fame and fortune on the stage. She now works as a serving girl in the local playhouse. She comes to Drake’s aid when she fears he’s in danger, and old feelings drudge up between them.