What is it?
Whitechapel is a British police drama, premiering Wednesday Oct. 26 on BBC America. In the first three episodes, the rozzers investigate a series of crimes in London’s East End that bear a remarkable resemblance to the 19th-century murders attributed to Jack the Ripper; episodes 4-6 follow cases that echo the 50-year-old crimes of the infamous Kray twins.
You’ll like it if you enjoy fish-out-of-water stories.
At the beginning of the series, a squad of rough-and-ready coppers gets a new boss, Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones), launching a study in contrasts: tidy vs. boorish, privileged vs. self-made, educated vs. experienced, fast-tracked vs. dead-ended, rich vs. poor—and, this being a British story, the most important of all: posh vs. common.
You won’t like it if you want to see a realistic portrait of London.
Whitechapel’s version of the Metropolitan Police Service is lily-white, and its representation of the East End isn’t all that different. (A scene set in Brick Lane manages not to include a single brown face.) In fact, Whitechapel is an ethnically diverse area with a large Bengali population.
You’ll like it if you have a taste for macabre historical murders.
A Ripperologist (played with gusto by The League of Gentlemen’s Steve Pemberton) rescues the show from police-procedural cliché.
You won’t like it if you want to see the carnage.
Although the descriptions of Jack the Ripper’s throat-slashings and disembowelments are quite explicit, this isn’t a slasher pic. It’s a spooky story that won’t give you nightmares.
The bottom line:
TODAY IN SLATE
More Than Scottish Pride
Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself.
What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture
Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows
The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything
It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.
Happy Constitution Day!
Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.