DVD Reviews

Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns – DVD Review

By Jeff Swindoll Dec 7, 2011, 21:56 GMT

Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns – DVD Review

Ambitious Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones), a novice in the business of murder but an expert in the politics of policing and three day training, is assigned an open-and-shut case:  the killing of a woman in the East End of London. Get a quick result, he is told, and you will get the promotion you have been waiting for. ...more

Jack the Ripper haunts our imaginations as one of the most famous unsolved serial murderers of all time.  This new take places a copycat in London recreating those famous crimes and some fabulous actors and acting are dragged along as well.

Connected Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler (Rupret Penry-Jones) has been posted to Whitechapel by Commander Anderson (Alex Jennings) as a ceremonial move before Chandler gets promoted upstairs.  Chandler is supposed to halfheartedly investigate a murder case and hardboiled Detective Sgt. Ray Miles (Phil Davis) knows it and isn’t afraid to show it. 

The case turns out to be more complicated and even worse to Anderson; Chandler starts to take it seriously instead of just a rung on the ladder to promotion.  It would appear that someone is recreating the killings of Jack the Ripper and pompous Ripper researcher Edward Buchan (Steve Pemberton) shows up to tell the authorities that there are more killings to come. 

Somebody copying Jack the Ripper isn’t exactly a new idea.  I’d imagine any of these police procedure type shows usually get around to wicked Jack since he is the golden oldie.  Where this one excels is in the casting and flavor that we get around our main characters – even if some of their arcs seem familiar as well.  Chandler appears to be an upper-class twit who is just supposed to bide his time in the dingy Whitechapel until his promotion comes through. 

Just ride the desk until it comes through.  Miles is the hard-nosed veteran who has seen it all and been steeled by it.  Of course, the two at first don’t see eye to eye but eventually come to the same page. 
Interestingly, we through in the pompous, blustery Buchan as an self-promoted Ripper expert who finds himself the “all knowing” in this case, but yet will come to realize that his writings might be taken as inspiration and not liking that.

I most enjoyed Buchan’s journey and thought Pemberton played him well.  I also much liked Davis’ portrayal of the hard-as-nails, yet tends to fish in his fish pond, detective.  Penry-Jones also shows real skill in showing that yes Chandler is ambitious but he also wants to do his job to his best ability not just ride that desk.  The acting is excellent and the storyline exciting and intriguing.

I found myself drawn into this great series (although it’s more like a miniseries, in American speak).  Anglophiles and Ripperologists will certainly too. 

Whitechapel is presented in widescreen (1.78:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions.  The only special feature is a 30 minute “Peeling Back the Layers” making of. 

Whitechapel is an exciting series that hits on our still ongoing fascination with saucy Jack.  What is also found is some great acting and characters that have that throwback to ancient, fog shrouded London. 

Visit the DVD database for more information.

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