And now for something completely different in our periodic tour of British television.
I forget exactly how I stumbled across the series Whitechapel, but it might actually have been suggested for me by YouTube, which, sadly, knows of my British TV addiction and takes it upon itself to make helpful suggestions against which I am powerless. In this way I have lost a lot of the last few years to YouTube. Damn you, YouTube!
But I digress. "Whitechapel" is an ITV production that ran for four series, from 2009 to 2013. It has been announced that no more series will be made, but those four should be more than adequate for anyone looking for a deeply scary combination of a crime procedural drama and true crime. The first two series were three episodes long, focusing on one crime per season. The latter two series featured six episodes each, covering three different events.
In the first series, the crimes to be investigated echo the most famous murders the Whitechapel region of London ever suffered: the Jack the Ripper crimes. In addition to the police detectives, the inspector in charge of the case also reaches out to a historian for his expertise on Jack the Ripper to help them consider any correlations between the historical and present crimes.
The cast is excellent, with a favorite of mine, Rupert Penry-Jones, starring as DI (Detective Inspector, of course, which is a title any good Anglophile is familiar with) Joseph Chandler, a "by the book" inspector who is reviled by the staff of police detectives in Whitechapel that he heads up; they think he's all there for just a quick stop on his way to bigger promotions. He also suffers from OCD. Other detectives include Phil Davis (as DS Ray Miles); he's a very familiar face from a number of shows (including "Sherlock," in which he appeared in a very different type of role). All the supporting players do a very nice job too.
There's not a whole lot of episodes to watch, but it's a meaty little drama and might appeal to fans of the more offbeat series "Sherlock," as well as the American series "CSI." Horror fans might like it too.
Fun trivia: I watched this show on YouTube over the course of the summer while I was expecting CR3. I was actually trying to watch the last episode in series 2 when I went into the early stages of labor. I knew we had to be getting close when the contractions made it impossible for me to focus on the storyline, or even enjoy looking at Rupert Penry-Jones. Which I do, very much. Now that I think of it: did I ever finish that episode? Gotta go.