This is a Forensics TV Review of BBC’s Ripper Street on Netflix. It is a bit of a deviation from the norm here at CriminalJusticeLaw.org, but I couldn’t help myself. I have always been a fan of mysteries, detective, and forensics shows. At one time, I believed that nothing could ever top CSI: Miami. That is until I discovered a BBC production Ripper Street. The show is now on NetFlix (or maybe I just recently discovered it). Already into season one, I am hooked.
Review by C J Oakes
Forensics in the Days of Jack the Ripper
Although set in the late 1880s London, in the Whitechapel district, the show holds strong dramatic appeal and excellent acting. Season One introduces us to the key players, namely Captain Homer Jackson and Detective Inspector Edmund Reid. Jackson, played by Adam Rothenberg is a former Pinkerton man who also served in the U.S. Army as a surgeon. He is on the run from America but we don’t know why. What we do know is that somehow he and Ried have become known to each other, with the doctor being transformed into a fine forensics examiner at a time when forensics was in its infancy.
The character of Reid it seems is based on the real Metropolitan Police Inspector by the same name who was head of the department at the time of Jack the Ripper.
However, it is the strange element of fantasy forensics which makes the drama most interesting. For example. In episode one, Inspector Reid sends for Captain Jackson because there has been a body found that may be a victim of Jack the Ripper. The Ripper had disappeared months earlier and has not been heard from, so the detective is especially interested in determining whether this is his work or that of another. Not going to be a spoiler so you’ll just have to watch the show to find out.
But in the course of examining the body, the early-fictional-forensics-examiner Captain Jackson uncovers a gelatine substance that leads to a surprising resolution of the case. In the episodes to follow, this fantasy forensic Quincy ME helps unravel mystery after mystery, applying science to murder in ways that have never before been seen (except to us, of course).
Little else needs saying about Ripper Street other than, if you like forensics mystery police shows and period dramas, you should really like this one.
The program aired originally on BBC, then was picked up by Amazon for two more seasons, and is running on both Prime and Netflix. Look for it. Great programming.