Set in Whitechapel during the late 19th Century, only months after the last of the Jack the Ripper killings, Ripper Street stars Matthew Mcfayden as Detective Inspector Edmund Reid of Whitechapel H Division. After failing to catch Jack, and fearing his eventual return, H Division is responsible for 1.25 square miles of East London filled mostly the poor and homeless.
Assisting Reid in his work are the tough as nails Detective Sergeant Bennett Drake (Jerome Flynn) and surgeon and former Pinkerton Agent Captain Horner Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) who makes his home in a local brothel and whose past is shrouded in dark secrets.
Subplots of the first season include Jackson and house madam Long Susan (MyAnna Buring) fearing their past will catch up with them, Reid’s estranged relationship with his wife (Amanda Hale), various trouble inside the brothel, and Drake falling in love with one of Long Susan’s whores (Charlene McKenna).
The weekly mysteries of Ripper Street are far less of interest than relationships between the show’s main characters and the show’s period look and style. Aside from the looming threat of Jack and a cholera outbreak, the show gives us late 19th Century police techniques while teasing us with new inventions such as an underground subway and the wireless telegraph.
Available on both three-disc DVD and two-disc Blu-ray the Series One set includes all eight episodes of show’s first season. Each contains short 30-second character profiles of Reid, Jackson, and Drake, a short featurette on Whitechapel, and a previously released BBC documentary on the Ripper murders which isn’t tied to the series.
[BBC Warner, DVD $29.98 / Blu-ray $34.98]