Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


The dour if appealing cast of Whitechapel
WHITECHAPEL Series Two. 2010. British mini-series in three segments.

The first Whitechapel series [or season], also known as The Ripper Returns, was popular enough with British audiences for the cast to return in a second, and then a third, series of episodes about cops in the Whitechapel district of London solving particularly difficult and bizarre crimes. In this a series of especially vicious attacks and murders remind crime historian Buchan (Steve Pemberton) -- the "ripperologist" from the first series -- of the Krays, the two real-life brothers who savagely ran a crime empire decades before. Deputy Investigator Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones) thinks Buchan may be on to something while gruff Deputy Sergeant Miles (Phil Davis) warns Chandler not to assume they've got another case with ties to the past. Then they discover that there are two living twin brothers whose mother claims are the sons of one of the Kray men, whose sperm was made available to her when the Kray in question told her he wanted heirs. They hold the Whitechapel underworld in its grip, even try to kill cops, but are they really related to the Krays? The series holds the attention and is quite well-acted by all, including newcomer Sam Stockman as young Kent, with exemplary work from Davis, Pemberton, and the very appealing and baby-faced Penry-Jones. However, the writers often confuse neurotic tendencies with characterization, there's a little too much intrigue in the department, and the show is arresting without being entirely convincing.

Verdict: Never quite believable but entertaining in spite of it. **1/2.

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