I am a huge fan of detective shows. In fact, they’re the genre I most often turn to. Recently, I’ve begun to notice a theme among my favorites of single (father) male D.I.’s in small european towns chock full of stunningly beautiful landscapes in every other shot. Broadchurch, Shetland, Wallander – I’m looking at you.
When I started watching Whitechapel, I have to admit I was expecting it to fall into that category. The truth is, Whitechapel is one of those rare shows that’s actually kind of hard to categorize. It reads much like a novel and what was once an intriguing detective thriller unravels into a crime thriller with historical and paranormal elements all wrapped into one. Like Supernatural with 10X the atmosphere and practically none of the humor to lighten the darkness.
Seriously, I find this show hard to watch alone after a certain time of night, and that’s saying something – I’ve watched this show several times (and a couple more…) already. The atmosphere of this show is so on point! I’d also describe this as similar to Sherlock, as well, and not just because the evil cabbie in season one is none other than the second male lead, D.S. Miles. They’re both told in similar ways.
I watched this wonder of a show two years ago. To be entirely honest, it started off a bit too slowly for me when I first sat down to watch it, so I turned it off and didn’t give it another shot for several months, until I gave Orphan Black another shot and realized I’d probably given up on other shows much too soon, as well – a trend ITV started by deciding not to renew Whitechapel for a 5th season (why god?)!
I honestly didn’t know anything about Whitechapel going into it, just that it was a detective show. Having premiered in 2009 and only getting a mere 4 seasons, it would have been understandable that I had never heard of it if not for the fact that it’s such a great show. Truly, this show deserved so much more! It was cancelled just as it was hitting its stride and for that I will always be bitter. Some people have Firefly – for me, there’s Whitechapel.
This is one show where I beg that the Renewal Gods will take notice and give it another chance – or at least one final season to wrap everything up; please, at least give it that!
Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let me tell you about Whitechapel season 1. This show starts off with D.I. Joseph Chandler getting fast-tracked into a position he really isn’t prepared for. He practically steps right out of a glamorous party into his first crime scene and puts on his new uniform as the head of a department that wants absolutely nothing to do with him, least of all his second-in-command, D.S. Ray Miles.
To them, Chandler is posh, uppity, and everything that they are not and never want to be and he sees them as dirty, smelly, and utterly unprofessional. It doesn’t help that Chandler suffers from OCD and working with these guys only pushes him into even more uncomfortable territory. They want him gone the second he gets there.
Both sides make no effort to hide their discontent at having to deal with the other, but it’s not long before they all have to put their differences aside to face the ghost that has returned to Whitechapel.
For those of you that aren’t familiar, Whitechapel is well-know as the place where Jack the Ripper committed multiple gruesome murders so many years ago, and the first season of Whitechapel revolves around copy cat murders taking place there in modern day London.
When I first turned this show off, it was because I didn’t want to watch yet another retelling of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. So many shows have done the copy cat Ripper storyline, and I was hoping for something different, or at least a more fresh take on them.
I was too quick to judge and, when I finally gave Whitechapel another chance, I realized that the creators’s choice to focus on Jack the Ripper in the first season is what led to the show being unique in the coming seasons.
The introduction of Ed Buchan is when the show really starts to pick up for me. Ed, we learn, is a Ripperologist. A published author on all things Ripper and a Jack the Ripper tour guide, Ed notices the connection to Jack before D.I. Chandler and his team do. Is that because he is who he says he is – a fan to the greatest extent? Or is he really the one committing these awful acts? I beg you to watch and find out.
This show really does get so much better as it progresses.
Until next time.