Can anyone bring order to the blood stained streets of London’s East End?
New York – December 13, 2012 – In the aftermath of Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror, London’s Whitechapel sits on a precipice, and H Division – the precinct charged with keeping order – must work diligently to police the toughest district in the East End. Welcome to Ripper Street, where fear lurks that each new murder could mark the return of The Ripper. As imitators emerge and feral gangs terrorize, Inspector Edmund Reid – one of the lead detectives on the Ripper case – and his teamare further drawn into the criminal underbelly of Victorian London. And their vigilance must be swift to stop those that threaten the calm of the city. Starring Matthew Macfadyen (Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice), Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones), Adam Rothenberg (Alcatraz) and MyAnna Buring (Downton Abbey, The Twilight Saga) and loosely based on real characters and events, the eight-part BBC AMERICA co-production created by Richard Warlow, premieres Saturday, January 19, 9:00pm ET.
“BBC AMERICA is excited to present this latest quality offering from the BBC,” say Perry Simon, General Manager, BBC AMERICA. “Ripper Street is an edge of your seat thrill ride through Victorian London, with a stellar cast and compelling stories that will send chills down the spines of our viewers.”
A compelling, zesty crime drama with an international cast, Ripper Street’s rich storylines meld with the intrigue of a criminal underworld. Through modern marvels of the time, including early forensic methods, moving pictures, the early typewriter and more, the H Division squares off against copycat killers, a mass murderer who unleashes biological toxins, gamblers and counterfeiters. But with a neighborhood stuck at a volatile peak, can anyone bring order to these blood stained streets?
Leading the battle is Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen), one of the lead investigators in the hunt to capture The Ripper. A detective in the truest sense of the word, Reid’s calm and instinctive understanding is what the East End streets need to keep order in turbulent times. Haunted by his failure to capture London’s most evil killer, and by demons fiercely protected by him and his long suffering wife, Emily (Amanda Hale), Reid is driven by his belief that, through innovation and technology, the day will come where ignorance will never again stand in his way of apprehending a mass murderer.
Aiding Reid is his right-hand-man, Sergeant Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn), a brute force of a man whose suit is the only thing that distinguishes him from the thugs he polices. He’s loyal and protective of Reid, who believes in him and uses Drake’s ferocity to his advantage. Scarred by war and longing for the simple life, Drake knows all too well the kind of ugliness men, including him, are capable of.
Rounding out the trio is Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg), a free-spirited American expatriate enlisted by Reid for his forensic brilliance. Reid is a staunch believer in technological innovation as a crime fighting tool and Jackson provides the science to back his beliefs. But his vices are many and his secrets run deep. Jackson’s ties to an upmarket brothel-keeper, Long Susan (MyAnna Buring), creates an air of suspicion as to why they both decided to leave America for the lawless East End streets.
The series is created and written by Richard Warlow, showrunner and writer of the BBC One drama,Mistresses. Richard began as a Development Executive at Pathe and DNA Films before embarking on a career as a screenwriter in 2003.
Ripper Street is the latest co-production to join BBC AMERICA’s stable of compelling programming including the award-winning Dramaville series The Hour, Luther and the upcoming mini-series, Spies of Warsaw.
CAST AND PRODUCTION CREDITS
Inspector Edmund Reid Matthew Macfadyen (Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice)
Sergeant Bennet Drake Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones)
Captain Homer Jackson Adam Rothenberg (Alcatraz)
Long Susan Hart MyAnna Buring (Downton Abbey, The Twilight Saga)
Emily Reid Amanda Hale (The Crimson Petal and the White)
Rose Erskine Charlene McKenna (Misfits)
Deborah Goren Lucy Cohu (Upstairs Downstairs)
Constable Dick Hobbs Jonathan Barnwell
Sergeant Donald Atherton David Wilmot (Anna Karenina)
Fred Best David Dawson (Luther)
Frederick Abberline Clive Russell (Game of Thrones, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows)
Created by Richard Warlow (Mistresses)
Directed by Tom Shankland (The Fades)
Executive producers Greg Brenman
Ripper Street is produced for the BBC by Tiger Aspect Productions, Lookout Point and BBC AMERICA.
EPISODE 1 – I NEED LIGHT
A young woman is found brutally murdered, the hallmark signs of the Ripper upon her. One time H Division boss, Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline believes it Jack’s return, but Reid – the precinct’s new man in charge – suspects a different evil at work. When Jackson learns that Long Susan’s girls have been drawn into the murky world of Victorian pornography, the team must use all of their brawn, brains and brilliance to track down the fiend responsible before another girl is killed. Written by Richard Warlow. Episode 1 premieres Saturday, January 19, 9:00pm ET.
EPISODE 2 – IN MY PROTECTION
A beloved toy maker is beaten to death for a mysterious brass box and the coins in his pocket. The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee presents a 14 year-old culprit who refuses to deny the charge, leading Reid and Drake into the savage world of merciless child gangs. Jackson’s drinking and gambling have led to the loss of the pendant that ties him to his American past – a past that he and Long Susan fear will now be exposed. Written by Richard Warlow. Episode 2 premieres Saturday, January 26, 9:00pm ET.
EPISODE 3 – THE KING CAME CALLING
H Division and the Independent City of London force are thrown together when the panic surrounding a sudden cholera outbreak leads them to scour both boroughs to find some underlying pattern amidst the rising tide of sickness and death. As Jackson’s lab fills with bodies – and with no clear correlation between the victims to be found – the team work against the clock. Meanwhile Emily Reid seeks patronage for her charity efforts, unaware of the resistance she will meet. Written by Declan Croghan and Richard Warlow. Episode 3 premieres Saturday, February 2, 9:00pm ET.
EPISODE 4 – THE GOOD OF THIS CITY
The brutal clearing of a local slum for the underground railway reveals an indecipherable murder scene and an unreliable slum girl witness. Lucy Eames, beautiful and disturbed, is the unlikely key to a byzantine web of conspiracy. As Reid closes in on the killer, it becomes clear that the condemned slum is home to dark secrets that someone is desperate to protect. Written by Julie Rutterford and Richard Warlow. Episode 4 premieres Saturday, February 9, 9:00pm ET.
EPISODE 5 – THE WEIGHT OF ONE MAN’S HEART
A string of brilliantly masterminded robberies draw the attention of Reid and his team. While Jackson works to trace the thieves’ hardware, Drake is confronted with a spectre from his past in the form of his onetime Colonel – returned to London to seek redress for the unjust treatment of the Empire’s soldiers.As Reid closes in on the brash robbers and their ultimate target, Drake finds his loyalties put to the ultimate test. Written by Toby Finlay. Episode 5 premieres Saturday, February 16, 9:00pm ET.
EPISODE 6 – TOURNAMENT OF SHADOWS
As the dock strike of August 1889 takes hold of the city, the killing of a Jewish anarchist leads Reid and the team into the merciless chicanery of the British government’s fight against distant empires and global terrorism. Written by Toby Finlay. Episode 6 premieres Saturday, February 23, 9:00pm ET.
EPISODE 7 – A MAN OF MY COMPANY
An international shipping magnate arrives in town with his Pinkerton retinue to complete the acquisition of an ailing London shipping line. Meanwhile, the murdered body of an engine inventor draws Reid’s attention just as Jackson and Long Susan’s past comes back to haunt them. Written by Richard Warlow. Episode 7 premieres Saturday, March 2, 9:00pm ET.
EPISODE 8 – WHAT USE OUR WORK
Reid is adrift. His team is in pieces and Leman Street is shaken to its foundations following recent events. A kidnapping offers him cause to assemble his men and tackle the white slavery ring operating in their midst. But Reid is gripped by a growing obsession that leads back to a terrible secret from his own past. Written by Richard Warlow. Episode 8 premieres Saturday, March 9, 9:00pm ET.
INSPECTOR EDMUND REID (Matthew Macfadyen)
The boss of H Division, Inspector Edmund Reid was one of the lead detectives on the Jack the Ripper investigation (working side by side with the more historically celebrated Frederick Abberline). When the hunt for the killer was given up in early 1889, Reid stayed exactly where he had been for the last two years, policing the streets that would always remind him of his failure.
Reid is calm, meticulous and embracing of any innovation that will help him get his man. A brilliant investigator with an understanding of humanity, Reid has an analytical mind and years of hard won experience. As a committed technophile, Reid is led by his belief that the day will come when science and technology will aid him in apprehending the next Ripper.
Having experienced tragedy – the full details of which are known only to him – Reid carries a serious injury to his left shoulder. Only a very few know how he came by the wounds and none talk about it.
SERGEANT BENNETDRAKE (Jerome Flynn)
Reid’s right-hand, Sergeant Bennet Drake, is a hard man with some harder demons. Ex-army, his fists often deliver the blow needed to get a suspect talking. But outside of his suit, Drake doesn’t have a lot to distinguish him from the thugs he polices. He is fiercely loyal to Reid, for it was the Inspector who saw the potential in him – beyond a supreme ability to crack heads.
What Reid saw is integrity and an affiliation to the streets. Drake – unlike many officers – does not see himself as morally superior to the populace he polices. He has known the horrors of war and knows of what monstrosities men are capable of. Above all else, Drake wishes to find a way to escape his thug status and the dehumanising memories he carries with him.
CAPTAIN HOMER JACKSON (Adam Rothenberg)
An American, a one-time Pinkerton detective and a U.S. army surgeon, Captain Homer Jackson is an expert in the world of early forensics. Enlisted by Reid for his unique skills on the autopsy slab, he is a free spirit – untrustworthy and brilliant by equal measure. But his thirst for vice including women, booze and gambling leaves him hated by Drake and distrusted by the rest of the police fraternity.
Jackson has his secrets too. On the run from an ‘incident’ in America, he and brothel-keeper, Long Susan, have sought out the East End precisely for its chaos and lawlessness. Reid’s attachment to Jackson – and the friendship the two like minds inevitably foster – will eventually compromise this need for secrecy.
LONG SUSAN (MyAnna Buring)
Like Jackson, Long Susan Hart is also hiding out in the neighborhood, on the run from the same incident in America. Her past is a mystery, but her well-honed skills in business and self-promotion have given her one of the most salubrious brothels in the district. Brazen and quick to anger, Susan is also well educated and knows exactly how to manipulate the desires of men.
Though it irks Susan, Jackson comes and goes as he pleases through the brothel in which he keeps his shambolic rooms. The frequency and ferocity of their arguments often leads Susan’s girls to wonder just why they tolerate each other. But their passionate exchanges hide a shared affection that their exile hasn’t completely extinguished.
EMILY REID (Amanda Hale)
Inspector Edmund Reid’s wife, Emily, was once the happy spouse of a well-respected and ambitious young policeman, and a devoted mother to their beloved daughter. But her life has changed dramatically. While she and her husband still love each other, their life together has been irretrievably altered by shared tragedy – and their different means of coping with this loss.
Where Emily seeks solace in church, Reid chooses only denial. Before this pain separated them, however, they were ideally suited. Emily’s intelligence and curiosity challenged and complimented Reid. Now, with an emotional gulf between them, Emily finds herself searching for new ways to channel her energies.
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