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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
History's enduring fascination with the gruesome crimes of Jack The Ripper continues unabated with yet another example of popular fiction being inspired by the legendary murderer. Truthfully, I have read enough books, seen enough television, and watched enough movies that cast Jack The Ripper into a central role that I feel like he's an old friend--albeit one I wouldn't want to invite home to dinner. So wearily and warily, I sat down to ITV's three part suspenser "Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns." Within minutes, however, I was hooked! Moody and stylish, "Whitechapel" is an expertly assembled crime drama that posits a familiar scenario where a modern day maniac is duplicating the crimes of the notorious Ripper. And while we've seen this exact set-up countless times before, it works grandly yet again. By concentrating on the police procedural aspects of the investigation as opposed to the crimes, this becomes a tense race against time to try to outwit and outmaneuver a killer by using clues from historical records. It's both well paced and well acted--and, in only three parts, it is a concise and scary little story.

Beginning with a vicious murder, the case is afoot. Rupert Penry-Jones plays an ambitious detective inspector who gets his first big murder case without initially realizing the magnitude of what will unfold. He is clued into the similarities to Jack the Ripper by a Ripper expert/enthusiast played perfectly by Steve Pemberton. Bringing the theory back to his new squad, they treat it with skepticism. In fact, the officers (led by the terrific Phillip Davis) are generally dismissive of the younger inexperienced man. However, as the pattern continues to prove correct, a grudging form of respect starts to develop and everyone is intent of catching the copycat before time elapses on the last murder. Again, the first two episodes are near perfection establishing colorful characters and genuine tension. "Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns" does, however, feel a bit rushed for its final act. It's not necessarily a fatal flaw, but so much is stuffed into the last thirty minutes--it doesn't build to the excruciating confrontation that I had been hoping for and expecting.

Still, if you are a fan of these British mysteries or crime procedurals, there is a lot to recommend "The Ripper Returns." I really liked Penry-Jones (but I usually do), but it is Pemberton that brings an unexpected pathos to the piece. Quite literally, he steals every scene that he's in. There are a lot of elements that you've seen before--The Ripper, office politics, copycat crimes--but they are assembled into a tight and cohesive plot. Fabulously entertaining and appropriately dark, I'm certainly glad I checked this out. The same team has already put together another three episode arc for season two and have a promised return in 2012 for season three. (Gotta love British TV--three episodes constitutes a season!) I will be front and center for these new crimes! KGHarris, 11/11.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2011
I loved this series. I would call it "well-crafted". The three episode length was a perfect fit for the drama/suspense. If you're a fan of Spooks, you will enjoy seeing Rupert PJ in a much more vulnerable role, and of course when he's with Phil Davis (who must be 2 feet shorter than RPJ) there is that true partner tension. Some of these hallmarks are cliche in TV, but here they work together really well.If you like good old fashioned suspense thrillers, you'll probably enjoy curling up with the lights out for this one. I couldn't wait to watch the next episode.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2011
I am a HUGE HUGE fan of BBC programming and this show did not let me down. As an American who appreciates quality, intelligent shows/programs, I am really partial to the programming on BBC. Not everything -but 80 percent of it (I have seen A TON of shows) is down right brillant. This show is really well done and well acted. I am a great lover of mystery and suspense with the sprinklings of the criminal element. The acting, the writing and the story development is well executed. If you are a fan of the mystery of Jack the Ripper coupled with the solid acting then this is your show. BBC once again proves its mastery!!!!!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2010
I am a fan of all things BBC and this series has me standing up and cheering! If only American TV was this polished, entertaining, and slick. The characters are good, the acting is great, the program is one you just cannot miss! Do yourself a favor and see this series!!! If you love Inspector Morse, Inspector Frost, Inspector Lewis, then this is for you!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2011
I agree with the other reviewers of this series - excellent storyline, character interaction and development and acting. Of course, it features several of my favorite Brit actors, so that was no surprise. It definitely lived up to the high standards BBC has set for TV series. I can't wait for the next series (out Oct of last year), as I am a real murder mystery aficionado.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2010
well paced, well written, well dressed... interesting characters. My only complaint is that there are only these three episodes available right now. Hopefully we will get season 2 on Amazon
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2011
The entire first season is excellent. Exactly what I had hoped. This is to American detective dramas what All Creatures Great and Small was to American Medical dramas. It feels like a real investigation by people who live in real life instead of an over-acted, over technical mess like CSI. CSI is not how crimes get solved. This show shows how difficult crimes are solved. Granted, most crimes are not this complex, but it is how they would be solved!

I have high hopes that this will turn into another great series of interesting crimes battled by this team of detectives. Great stuff!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2010
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2014
The protagonist's relationship with his police colleagues is so bad that it is simply unbelievable and far too predictable.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2013
Watched the first two episodes, and decided I didn't like it because of the graphic violence. I know the series starts out with a case involving a Jack-the-Ripper copy cat murderer, by it's very nature a very violent scenario, but that doesn't mean you have to actually show mutilated bodies. Whatever happened to creative suggestive writing, using one's imagination? Today's entertainment doesn't seem to leave much room for that anymore.
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