Ripper Street

When Ripper Street first aired in December last year it was like nothing else on television. A Victorian police procedural set in a Whitechapel reeling following the Jack the Ripper murders, where the culprit went unpunished. Using the aftermath of the Ripper murders was the show’s masterstroke – so many films, dramas and books both fiction and non-fiction focused on the race to find Britain’s best-known (and yet unknown) serial killer. No one, to my knowledge, has thought to explore the social unrest he would leave behind.

Its tone was also a rare synthesis of period costume drama and crime thriller. Instead of romanticising the past it looked forward to the future, introducing modern technologies by presenting them as new and exciting. It was also socially progressive in some areas – particularly in the sympathetic portrayal of nineteenth century gay culture and the plight of Russian Jewish refugees – but has also been criticised for its depiction and treatment of women in general and prostitutes in particular. The cerebral detective Edmund Reid, one-time Pinkerton and battlefield surgeon Captain Homer Jackson and fist-fighting Sergeant Drake proved to be an effective, if unorthodox crime fighting team and, along with Reid’s wife Emily, Jackson’s partner Long Susan and Drake’s love interest Rose, a compelling ensemble.

However with the second season airing just ten months after the first it’s possible that the writers could have benefited from more time to decide in what direction they wanted to take the series. With that schedule, compounded by the fact that a lot of changes happened off-screen between seasons, it was perhaps inevitable that things were going to be missed out. So with that in mind, here are five of the possible plot lines we didn’t get to see but wish we did.

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