A BBC production (that means quality, people!) set in the Victorian Era in Whitechapel and dealing with the police dealing with the aftermath of the Jack the Ripper case. It is a dark and sometimes very violent series dealing with an era that is not the brightest for London.
Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (played by Matthew Macfadyen) has become obsessed with the fact that he was not able to solve that case. It seems to be colouring everything he does. This flawed hero has a couple of other obsessions on his very full plate.
Season Four kicks off right where Season Three left off. Like no time has passed. Covertly Reid returns to Whitechapel to work on a case begun by Detective Inspector Bennet Drake (played by Jerome Flynn) and Captain Homer Jackson (played by Adam Rothenberg). Reid has a lot of adjusting to do to come to terms with the fact that he is working under Drake. Then has to move on because it seems like the murders keep coming one after another fast and furiously.
Historical police dramas are sometimes tricky things to pull off. Hard to keep modern audiences engaged in something that some might fight old fashioned and too far removed technologically. The show makes up for that tenfold in solid acting, well written storylines, involved character development and relationships as well as engaging in interesting social issues from the time. As such it is quite thought provoking.
Each character, whether a frontline one or a more minor one, is fleshed out and complex. They all have flaws and strengths. Makes them very interesting to watch because they are not overly predictable. No romanticizing of the characters or period. Which is rather refreshing.
Some might be turned off by the violence (there is quite a bit) but for those who can manage it as a result there is a gritty and realistic tone that not many series achieve. Stick with it. Turn away during the many interrogation beatings that happen. But stick with it as there is a big payoff in the end.