TV | Ripper Street – Still oozing brilliantly crafted Victoriana

Ripper Street is back on our screens and by the end of its first five minutes there was no less than a policeman impaled on a fence spike, an unruly punch up in the holding cells and one slo-mo puddle splash stomp that looked frightfully awesome.

The second series of Ripper Street picks up six months after the Ripper terrorized the streets of Whitechapel. Detective Inspector Edmund Reid and his two trusty sidekicks Bennet and Jackson are still patrolling the cobbled streets of London. It is quickly established that a turf war is going to be an undercurrent to the series, as the K division of the London police force have been stepping into Reid’s territory. The K division is headed by Jebediah Shine (played by Joseph Mawle), who might as well have a flashing sign above his head saying ‘Series two arch baddie right here’, which wouldn’t exactly look out of place, considering his gaudy dress sense.

Unfortunately, the first episode regurgitated the run of the mill opium trade/dodgy Chinatown activities that have become very familiar and rather wearisome. There was the token stunning female, plenty of needles and the morally ambiguous use of opium as an incentive for witnesses to testify. The debut of Joseph Merrick , commonly known as The Elephant Man – blatantly pointed to Reid’s position as ‘the good guy’, as he appears unperturbed by Merrick and gosh, even treats him like a human being; despite the good intentions, the whole thing felt a little forced and out of place.

The dialogue is still brilliantly crafted and oozes Victoriana. The attention to detail is exact and very nearly compensates for the predictable plot and lays a solid groundwork for the future of the series. All in all, Ripper Street remains a pleasure to watch.

Zoe Delahunty Light

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