Ripper Street Season Three Carves Up More Solid Stories, Stellar Performances

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Ripper Street Season Three BBC Critical Blast

Ripper Street: Season Three is set to hit the streets on DVD and BluRay on June 23rd, and if you’re a fan of the Leman Street good guys you’ll mark this date down on the calendar! I was hooked on Ripper Street half-way through the first episode of season one and I haven’t stopped loving every episode since.

Season Three is 8 episodes in length, and starts out four years after Season 2 ended. It takes the events that ended in season two and progresses them outward to what we see they’ve become four years hence. Things have not been so cozy in the time that has elapsed.

Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn) left Whitechapel and moved to Manchester to start over again and become the police officer/man he always wanted to be, foregoing violence to become a man of peace. Having risen quickly through the ranks, we see him here now as Inspector Drake.

Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) is separated from his wife Long Susan Hart (MyAnna Buring), who has embraced her philanthropic work through Obsidian Estates and forever forsaken the work of owning a brothel. Jackson has crawled back into his bottle and slum life from whence Inspector Reid found him and dragged him out. Jackson and Reid had a huge falling out, and not only do not work together any longer but basically cannot stand each other.

Edmund Reid (Mathew Macfadyen), after the departure of his friend and colleague Bennet Drake and his falling out with Captain Jackson, became this sort of analytical, unfeeling person who seems more intent on building his police file data bank to find criminals easier than caring about the people he is supposed to protect.

Episode one sees these 4 separated lives come crashing together again, and through turns of events find that they not only need each other’s help to resolve the crimes being committed, but through various deeds and events some of them cause the events and crimes to happen that will change their lives forever.

The stories are very intertwined, and so well crafted that if I told you about one thing that happened, I’d have to tell you another that would make what I just told you make sense, and so on, and so on, until I’ve told you everything that goes on. Suffice to say there is murder, intrigue, love, hate, envy, greed, humor and despair…in every episode!

There are abortionists, cross-genders, arms dealers, extortionists, female doctors, sleazy low-life solicitors…and a daughter! Sound like a lot? There's more! Season Three, like the previous two, has an underlying story that weaves through each episode, and each episode also has its own crime that needs to be solved. At the end of each episode we seem to find out a little more of what is happening to our crew as they grow closer together, which makes what is going on and what is going to happen all the more engrossing.

At the heart of this all is Whitechapel itself. It seems the more they have tried to change it for the better, the more it is they who are changed by it. Four years later and it is still this seedy underbelly of London that shows little if no signs of being changed for the better.

The supporting cast is back as well: The reporter Fred Best (David Dawson), Bennet's true love Rose Erskine (Charlene McKenna) and Chief Inspector Fred Abberline (Clive Russell) are each an integral part of this season’s story line.

The new Inspector Bennet is a kinder, gentler, more “Inspector” kind of police officer who seems to have become more of the analytical leader than Inspector Reid is, a change from the “ask the first question with a fist” sergeant of the old days. Chief Inspector Abberline, through turns of events shown in this season, has risen to the top as my favorite character, even though he not seen all that much; it is quality, not quantity here.

I know of very few shows that have a cast such as this where there are no weak links. There is not a one to be found here. They all play off of each other so well and are so into their character that they seem to speak as if they are thinking of the words themselves and not remembering a script. The emotions that they go through, and put us through, are at times gut-wrenching.

I'd like to call attention to Jerome Flynn here. I know he is also in GAME OF THRONES, but I don’t have HBO and have only seen a couple of episodes of it with him in it. He is a fine actor in it, but to me in that series he seems like an actor; in RIPPER STREET he just seems tailor made for the show. I have never cheered for and felt more heartache for any character more than I have for Bennet Drake and this season just brings me over the edge.

I do not know if there is going to be another season or not. The brilliant way this show is written, it could conceivable end here and no one would be disappointed because of open resolutions, but it also ends in a way that would lead them to be able to do a fourth season. I am torn by this because this season is just so gosh darn good that the way it ended, it would be beautiful to see it stop here. On the other hand, I never want this series to stop. I feel as if Whitechapel is real now, and if I were to go to London again I would see it just as it is here and expect to see Inspector Reid, Inspector Drake and Captain Jackson lumber down the narrow streets somewhere.

I think also what I like about this show is that it is not filmed with any political correctness that today’s shows have, because there was no PC in those days. Criminals did not have any rights (unless it was from one of the police officers trying to loosen the tongue of a perp for answers). Sometimes the good guys have to be bad, and that’s a good thing because they don’t enjoy it but it is necessary in Whitechapel.

I couldn’t wait for this season to start and see what was going to transpire. I love dreaming big hopes for shows and then being totally surprised by the writers who take things to levels and places I never dreamed they could go. Such is RIPPER STREET.

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0