In April 1889 (six months since the last Jack the Ripper killing), H Division is responsible for policing one and a quarter square miles of East London, a district with a population of 67,000 poor and dispossessed. The men of H Division had hunted Jack the Ripper and failed to find him. When more women are murdered on the streets of Whitechapel, the police begin to wonder if the killer has returned.Among the factories, rookeries, brothels and pubs, Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) and Detective Sergeant Bennett Drake (Jerome Flynn) team with US Army surgeon and former Pinkerton detective Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) to investigate the killings.They cross paths with Tenter Street brothel madam Long Susan (MyAnna Buring), who came to London with Jackson from America and lets him reside at the brothel. Their relationship becomes strained due to Jackson's close involvement with H Division and Reid.Sensationalist newspaperman Fred Best (David Dawson) knows a dark secret about Reid's daughter's death. Although still being troubled by her daughter's death, Emily Reid (Amanda Hale) determines to make a new life by helping the fallen women of Whitechapel despite her husband's reservations.Each episode features stand-alone crimes that test Reid, Drake and Jackson, both in their working and private lives.Axed in 2013 after two short seasons but Un-Canceled in 2014 after Amazon stepped in to co-fund it.Has a character page under construction. It needs love.
This work features examples of:
And the Adventure Continues: The last episode, "What Use Our Work", ends with one of the officers coming in and announcing that a man has locked himself up with four hostages and is threatening to kill them if he sees any cops. The scene ends on Reid getting up from his chair and turning to Drake and Jackson with a simple, "Shall we?"
Artifact Title: In-Universe. Jack the Ripper's crimes and the investigation into them are relegated to backstory. The show actually begins several months after the last of the Ripper killings when the crimes are still very much on everyone's minds but Whitechapel is slowly adjusting back to "normal".
Call Forward: Reid gives Hobbs an arduous task of inspecting a huge stack of files.
Reid: One day, constable, there will be gleaming machines that will perhaps make light work of such process, but for now you will find in the custody of Sergeant Atherton some excellent Turkish coffee with which I suggest you make keen acquaintance.
The Cavalry: A pack of vigilantes plays this role at the end of the second episode.
The Coroner: Jackson's official role, although he has also been seen gathering information and kicking ass.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: When Reid, Jackson, and Drake trace the origins of The Plague in "The King Came Calling", they find that the initial victims were all part of a secret club of a queer men. The men in question panicked when the police showed up because they thought they under arrest for being homosexual and/or crossdressing. Jackson at least doesn't judge them for what raises their flag.
Sympathetic Jewish characters suffered from antisemitism in the form of hateful slurs, political disempowerment, and physical violence. Economic based antisemitism was a major plot point in the seventh episode.
Determinator: Blush Pang's brother is dead set on getting her back home.
Disposable Sex Worker: Frequently deconstructed, since the series starts on the heels of the Jack the Ripper case. Sex workers are portrayed as well-meaning people in a less-than-ideal situations and the audience is meant to sympathize with them even though the society they live in doesn't.
The only reason the police give Susan's girls any protection is because Jackson, who lives in the brothel, has friends on the force.
The victim in the first episode only did pornographic photos because she and husband were in debt. She tried to hide it from him so he wouldn't be ashamed of her.
Rose, an important minor character, has been attacked/kidnapped twice in the first season because her profession makes her vulnerable to very unsavory men. In the second case, Reid exploited this trope by using another prostitute as bait for the man who took her.
Mrs. Reid runs a shelter for abused and homeless prostitutes. When she tries to get a sponsorship for the shelter, she's turned down at first because the wealthy widow she went to considered prostitutes subhuman and unworthy of compassion.
One woman who stayed at the shelter was badly beaten but didn't name her attacker because she knew she wouldn't get justice.
In an oddly positive deconstruction, a wealth entrepreneur thought no-one would cared enough about his emotionally fragileSex Slave to investigate his attempts to murder her in order to save face. It turns out, H division care. He's exposed in a publicly humiliating fashion and receives a Karmic Death.
A somewhat thornier instance in "Threads Of Silk And Gold", which has several very sympathetic rentboy characters whose circumstances leave them doubly vulnerable, shown amongst themselves as both trusted friends and devoted lovers trying to look out for one another and hoping desperately to achieve better circumstances for themselves. In light of the episode's treatment of homosexuality, however, their ultimate fates come across a bit Bury Your Gays.
Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: One episode has a Russian secret policeman coming undercover to England, pretending to be a socialist instigator, getting turned to becoming a British double-agent who intended to have him discredit the socialist movement, then betraying them to bomb London for real. Yes, it's as twisted as it sounds.
Finish Him!: Reid to Drake, about Shine, at the climax of season 2. From Drake's response, it's clear he isn't going to do it, but it's a sign that Reid has gone dangerously down the Well-Intentioned Extremist route. The season ends at that point, but we can expect season three to begin with Reid having an enormous My God, What Have I Done? moment.
Hope Spot: In "What Use Our Work". The whole episode hints that the Silvers have Reid's daughter, and that they can be reunited-but the girl they have isn't her.
Honey Trap: A rare male example. Victor Silver used the "Lonely Hearts" column to find women. When they met him in person, he drugged and imprisoned them.
I Have Many Names: It's implied that Homer Jackson is just the latest in a string of aliases.
If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: The climax of "Our Betrayal, Part 2". The "you" here being Reid, who is screaming for Drake to kill Shine. Nobody else speaks, but but Drake and Jane Cobden clearly think this.
The Inspector: Reid, although unlike many examples of this trope he doesn't have a younger assistant tagging along nor do Jackson or Drake really act as The Watson.
In the Back: Blush Pang stabbed her brother to save her lover, saying that she didn't want to return home and follow tradition. Not two minutes later, her lover stands by and allows her to be arrested.
Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Reid, Bennet and Jackson do this to the poisoner Claxton - squeezing his broken arm - in "The King Came Calling" to find out where he sent the consignment of poisoned flour.
Jack the Ripper: Begins place six months after the last murder. The pilot deals with the lingering fear left behind by the ripper murders.
Jack the Ripoff: In "I Need Light" Sir Arthur Donaldson, the killer, hoped to pass off his victim as one of Jack's.
Jurisdiction Friction: The rivalry between the Metropolitan Police and the City Police causes problems in "The King Came Calling".
Master Poisoner: Claxton in "The King Came Calling", who creates a poison combining antimony and ergot and uses it to contaminate the flour supply in an attempt to become more famous than Jack the Ripper.
Mushroom Samba: Jackson undergoes this when he injects himself with the drug Blush Pang has been giving her clients.
My Greatest Failure: Reid actually has two: Failing to catch the Ripper and losing his daughter in the Thames. The fact that the latter occurred because he brought her on a stakeout for the former makes the whole thing worse.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: A dark example, Goodnight kills Hobbs in exactly the same manner as he earlier killed the engineer, tying the two murders together and providing a vital clue. Further, by dumping Hobbs in the water still alive, his hand went into a rigor mortis-like state, allowing him to hold the vital clue in his hand even after his death.
Outside-Context Villain: Occurs to Big Bad slumlord Silas who spends the second season menacing Susan and Jackson for their debts which they eventually pay off with a diamond - what he isn't prepared for is the pissed off De Graal Diamond Company thugs coming to get their diamond back. cue Impaled with Extreme Prejudice
The Ophelia: Lucy, the murder witness from "The Good of the City".
Reality Ensues: In "A Man of My Company" after the stockholders of the shipping company find out that a woman designed the new engine that could save the company they react exactly the way a bunch of late Victorian old men would react and throw a collective fit. It's implied that this allowed Mr. Swift to get the company.
Rescue Romance: Played with. Drake has rescued Rose twice. Sometime after the first, she rejected him. The second time, she regretted not accepting his initial advances.
Scotland Yard: The focus of the show is around the Metropolitan Police. H Division really existed in that area, although it became much larger and eventually Tower Hamlets Borough Operational Command Unit.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Deconstructed hard in "The Weight of One Man's Heart". Faulkner and his fellow veterans, haunted by the horrors of war, lash out violently at a society they felt hasn't given them their dues and a bloodbath ensues.
Shipper on Deck: Jackson may not be conventionally romantic, but he is sufficiently attentive to Reid's emotional wellbeing to ship him with Jane Cobden.
Tattooed Crook: In "In My Protection", The Fagin Carmichael is covered with a multitude of tattoos; each one of which represents a specific crime he has committed. His gang of kids have similar tattoos.