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Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns

4.6 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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(Nov 15, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns

The streets of Whitechapel are awash with blood. A murderer stalks the night, picking off vulnerable women and leaving them brutally butchered. The locals live in fear and the police remain clueless - with no motive, no evidence and no hope of catching this barbaric killer. Assigned to the case is fast-tracked DI Chandler - a novice in the business of murder, an expert in the politics of policing and three day courses. His fellow officers, however, are anything but. Chief among them is DS Miles, the archetypal cynical, seen-it-all detective. Tipped-off by "Ripperologist" Edward Buchan, Chandler realizes that this modern day killer is copying the infamous Whitechapel murders, down to the very last detail. Can Chandler do what his fellow officers failed to do over 100 years before, and catch the person responsible?



MI-5's dashing Rupert Penry-Jones heads up this noirish ITV miniseries, which aired in the United States on BBC America. In the opener, his fastidious Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler arrives in London's working-class Whitechapel, site of Jack the Ripper's 19th-century rampage, to head up a murder inquiry. Detective Ray Miles (Philip Davis), a hard-bitten veteran, is none too happy to report to such a posh fellow, but Chandler gives the case his all, making the rest of the team look like slackers. After the first brutal killing, Edward Buchan (Steve Pemberton), a local Ripperologist, suggests that the culprit may be a copycat. Chandler's colleagues scoff at the suggestion until the second murder, at which point they get on board, reading up on the Ripper, questioning suspects, and doing their utmost to prevent three more potential deaths. They also clean up their act and start wearing suits, but a leak threatens the investigation. As the case continues, they narrow their focus to immediate associates, especially after the murderer takes out a comrade and sends Miles a bloody memento. And though the men, including McCormack (George Rossi) and Kent (Sam Stockman), now resemble real detectives, Chandler appears to be on the verge of collapse, but looks can be deceiving. The conclusion blends the actual past with the fictional present, offering some of the same grim fascination as James Ellroy's Black Dahlia, which also took inspiration from an unsolved murder. History buffs are likely to appreciate the attention to detail, though the crime-scene sequences are gorier than anything in the BBC's thematically similar Sherlock, in which Davis previously appeared. An exhaustive featurette allows the cast and crew, including director S.J. Clarkson (Life on Mars), to discuss the origins of the project. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2011
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005G172Q8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,974 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on October 21, 2011
Format: DVD
I have been a fan of Rupert Penry-Jones since watching his performance in Persuasion where he played the dashing Captain Frederick Wentworth. In Whitechapel though, Penry-Jones finds himself playing a very different role indeed. He is still dashing, and smartly-dressed in Savile Row suits, but his rank as a newly-minted DI on the fast track inadvertently places him on a case that turns out to be a serial murder mimicking the gruesome crimes of Jack the Ripper.

DI Joseph Chandler is being groomed for the HQ and as part of this training, is expected to pay his dues with a brief stint as a DI on a case that initially appears to be open and shut. The DI finds himself in unfamiliar territory and is looked upon with derision by the cynical DS Ray Miles (Phil Davis) and the other members of the team. The series is broken up into three episodes and each episode sees the team puzzling out the case which gets even more complicated when the team realizes that this is indeed a copycat killing of the Jack the Ripper murders, which means more victims will be targeted soon enough.

Over the course of the three episodes, DS Miles and the other team members come to a grudging acceptance of DI Chandler and even accord him some measure of respect especially when his hunches prove true. Chandler is also assisted during the course of the investigation by a self-avowed Ripperologist Edward Buchan (Steve Pemberton) who prides himself on his vast knowledge about the Ripper murders and delights in the macabre Ripper tours he conducts in London's Whitechapel district.

The show's appeal partly lies in the plausible interweaving of the past events and the parallels with the present-day crimes.
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Format: DVD
I have a great fondness for English film/television, and now the BBC America series 'Whitechapel,' which opens with a three-part mini-series about a Jack the Ripper copycat comes our way. It is a fascinating study of modern police work versus the real Jack the Ripper era.

We are introduced to straight-laced DI Joseph Chandler, played by Rupert Penry-Jones, a avorite from MI-5 days. He is an up and comer and hopes to move to the administrative end of the police world. He enters the 'old way of policing and detective work', and almost immediately he runs up against DS Ray Miles, played by Phil Davis. The slovely, disrespectful group of detectives are in the beginning phase of a case that resembles Jack the Ripper of old. They discount any and all information from a 'Ripperologist' played by Steve Pemberton. He is a fascinating character and plays a large part in these series. After some conflict between Chandler, and the other detectives, they check unsolved crimes and discover that, much like the Ripper, this copycat may have killed before.

The three shows seem very fast paced, and many of the clues and thought processes are forced on us, to digest and assimilate. The Ripperologist, fills in many gaps, and I felt on top of the facts of Jack the Ripper and his crimes. This was an historical lesson as well as a good police procedural. The series tells us of the six women who were killed, how, when and where. The continuity of Jack the Ripper gives this show a great base, and the mystery is filled with suspense. We come to know the detectives and some of their quirks. Their tendencies to disorganization does not stand them in good stead with their new DI, and as they get to know him, they show change. This is a male 'Prime Suspect' and is well worth your viewing.
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Format: DVD
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.
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