BBC America debuted its new police drama, Ripper Street, last night. Ripper Street takes place in 1889 in the Whitecastle District of London shortly after the killing spree of Jack the Ripper. As viewers know, the real Jack the Ripper was never caught and there are many theories about who he really was. For Londoners of that time, the knowledge that Jack was still on the streets somewhere, left people with a lingering paranoia.
In Ripper Street, the police are under an incredible strain from failing to capture Jack. Every time a new body is found they must deal with their own fears that he has returned, and also keep hysteria from growing in the public. This struggle is front and center of the first episode as the police come across a mmurdered woman in the street who is dressed like a prostitute. On the wall, a painted message reads, “Down With Whores.” The mutilation and message are calling cards of Jack. But, the police will soon discover that nothing can be taken at face value, particularly when the local press is willing to manufacture evidence, like the message, in order to sell more papers.