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Characters / Ripper Street

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Edmund Reid

Played by: Matthew MacFadyen

Detective Inspector of H Division. He begins the series as a man mourning his daughter as well as cursing his inability to catch the Ripper before becoming increasingly more unstable in his pursuit of justice.

  • By-the-Book Cop: Edmund Upright, pure as the driven snow. However his morals are called into question in season 2.
    • Becomes a Cowboy Cop due to the influence of Jackson, the corruption in Whitechapel, and his own hypocrisy.
  • Distressed Dude: Count the number of times he needs to be saved.
  • Fair Cop: Matthew MacFadyen is a very handsome man and often plays the role of Mr. Fanservice.
  • Hypocrite: Reid likes to present himself as a Lawful Good By-the-Book Cop but the fact is that he's actually quite corrupt. He pawns off the job of beating information out of suspects to Drake and turns a blind eye to Jackson's many crimes because he's useful and that's just at the start. Later, he's outright arranging duels to the death in the street. Gradually, he gets exposed as someone every bit as dark as some of the people he holds in disdain.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: He's trying to police the most crime-ridden section of London with nowhere near enough resources yet still tries to be a good cop.
  • The Leader: Of the main trio and of H-division.
  • Papa Wolf: Will kill or break any law to find out the truth of what happened to his daughter.
  • Police Brutality: Is more than happy to organize it even if he tends to keep his own hands clean.
  • Your Cheating Heart: With Deborah Goren in S1, and Jane Cobden in S2 - although by S2 he and Emily are estranged.

Bennett Drake

Played by: Jerome Flynn

Sergeant for H division. Served in Egypt as a soldier. Eventually falls in love with Rose the Hooker with a Heart of Gold and marries her.

  • Broken Pedestal: Gradually develops one of these to Reid as the man's Hypocrite nature comes to the fore. Reid often relies on Bennet to do dirty work which he wouldn't do himself.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: The same as Jerome Flynn.
  • The Big Guy: Not quite the tallest (Reid's actor is slightly taller), but the most intimidating looking, and the go-to guy for punching people and kicking in doors.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Someone in-universe points out that "drake" is a male duck. Averted for those who know it is also a name for a dragon.
  • Heroic BSoD: After Bella's suicide.
  • Police Brutality: Has this as part of his job on behalf of Inspector Reid.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Is sympathetic to a Villain of the Week (and his former commanding officer) who points out they came home to a London which had no use for them despite their sacrifices.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Reid, at least at the start.

Homer Jackson/Matthew Judge

Played by: Adam Rothenberg

Former army surgeon and Pinkerton. Came to the area under mysterious circumstances with Long Susan.

  • Badass Bookworm: He is the Whitechapel coroner.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Sobriety and a conventionally professional attitude aren't his strong points. Fortunately, forensic science is.
  • The Coroner: Jackson's official role, although he has also been seen gathering information and kicking ass.
  • The Gunslinger: One of the few characters who even carries a gun (with good reason), and indeed he is marked as American more than once by it.
  • I Have Many Names: He's changed his name and skipped town when things got too hot at least once; it's implied that this is something of a habit for him. Though Matthew Judge does appear to be his original name, as his brother has the same surname.
  • Jerkass: He goes out of his way to sleep with Rose after learning that Drake was sweet on her. Did we mention the madam of the house is his wife?
  • Official Couple: He married Susan and they had to flee from her angry father.
  • Pinkerton Detective: Formerly one of these and a damned good one at that.
  • The Smart Guy: Is a surgeon and chemist in addition to his skills as a detective as well as a gunslinger.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Is rarely seen without a cigarette in his mouth.

     Secondary Characters 

Susan Hart ("Long Susan") / Caitlin Swift

Played by: MyAnna Buring

The local madame and wife of Homer Jackson.

Fred Best

Played by: David Dawson

An unscrupulous journalist that is often at odds with Reid.

  • Break the Haughty: He's almost never right then he lost his ear (see below).
  • Beneath the Mask: It's not totally incongruous with his other appearances, simply something that never comes up in his antagonistic interactions with the H Division team, but his private tenderness and concern for his boyfriend in Threads Of Silk And Gold is quite sweet, as well as shedding some light on his earlier position on moral hypocrisy.
  • Ear Ache: The Pinkerton looking for Caitlin Swift cut off his ear when he refused to reveal her location.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • In the first episode, he gets into a physical scuffle with Reid and counters Reid's own attempts to shake him down by suggesting he knows more than he lets on about the man's Dark and Troubled Past and wouldn't be afraid to tell the wrong kind of people. Shady, manipulative smartass not afraid to employ underhanded methods when under pressure or just for kicks? Sounds like Best.
    • For the second season: Best adjusting his prosthetic in the mirror, saying wryly to himself "Who's to say you are not beautiful?".

Rose Erskine

Played by: Charlene McKenna

One of Susan's hookers.


Played by: Jonathan Barnwell

A young cop in H Division

  • Determinator: Deconstructed. He always follows through with his orders, including those to watch the engineer's wife, but he then goes up against Goodnight, against whom he stands no chance, and dies.
  • Nice Guy
  • Non-Action Guy: While he might be a cop, he's only been shown in one fight, in which he loses his life.
  • Shrinking Violet: Has shades of this.
  • Tagalong Kid: The other officers even refer to him as "the boy".

Bella Drake

Played by: Gillian Saker

The woman Bennett Drake married between the first and second season.

Albert Flight

Played by: Damian Moloney

A young Irish constable who transfers to H-Division from Bloomsbury.

  • Dark and Troubled Past: He was "A little Paddy wretch, destined for jail or an early grave" before he joined the police.
  • Driven to Villainy: He has to do Shine's bidding, because Shine's in possession of Flight's damning criminal record. Though for the most part, Shine's kept him in the dark about how he uses the information Flight supplies him with.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Twice. First when he realises that Shine must have killed Joseph Merrick, and again when he watches Shine kill Nathaniel Hinchcliffe.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: H-Division thinks he is one for Hobbs.
  • The Idealist: He wants to be a good man.
  • The Mole: He's actually sent to Whitechapel by DI Shine, to report on whether Reid is about to discover any more of Shine's corrupt schemes.

Jedediah Shine

Played by: Joseph Mawle

Head of Limehouse K-Division, and thoroughly corrupt.

  • Ambition Is Evil: The promotional material describes him as "A man obsessed by his own power and will. A will that has corrupted him and, if he has his way, will corrupt all and everything that falls within his reach."
  • Arch-Enemy: serves as Edmund Reid's most amoral and formidable foe.
  • Big Bad: Half the episodes of series 2 revolve around stopping him somehow. But he's actually part of a Big Bad Duumvirate with slumlord Silas Duggan. He kills off people so Duggan can usurp their properties.
  • Dirty Cop: Very much so. He's particularly prone to murdering witnesses that might expose his corruption.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He's got a girlfriend in his first episode, and seems to treat her well. Subverted when he when he lets Reid haul her off to jail even going as far as to say he doesn't know her. Might be played strait with Reid's daughter Matilda whom he consul her about her father's recent action. Matilda was the reason why Shine didn't proceed to kill Reid when he had the chance.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Edmund Reid. Both are Detective Inspectors well known in there respective divisions and are suppose to uphold the law held in Whitechapel. The difference is that while Reid is a By-the-Book Cop who actually tries to this as best as he can and make Whitechapel as safe as he can for everyone, while Shine is a Dirty Cop who frequently undermines the law making things in Whitechapel worse so he could benefit from it.
    • Also serves as one to Bennet Drake. Both serve as right hand muscles for some they know Reid and Duggan respectively . Though while Drake is always trying to help Reid and has strong morals, Shine isn't shown helping Duggan, unless he benefit from it and has no moral qualms whatsoever at least until series 5. Also while Drake always had strong feelings for Rose ever since the show first started, even when he was married to someone else, Shine seems to be in a healthy relationship with a girl he met in his time in China, only to abandon her when she gets arrested by Reid with out a second thought under the course of one episode.
  • Evil Eyebrows: Has a serious pair of them.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: So much that viewers have trouble understanding what he's saying at times.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He usually acts very friendly, and smiles most of the time, but underneath it all lies a thoroughly corrupt man.
  • For the Evulz: He doesn't work for Duggan for the money, he simply likes killing.
  • The Heavy: While he does work for Duggan, much of the series 2 is focused on stopping him.
  • Large Ham: He's got his moments.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: After escaping justice in series 2, he returns in series 5 though his health is failing and he eventually takes his own life by morphine injection.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The murder of Joseph Merrick.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Joseph is said to be a very nice guy in real life.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: He seems to think so a lot of the time.
  • Pet the Dog: Him of all people performs this. Once having Edmund Reid at his moments he proceeds to beat him up and have spectators watch. After besting Reid he prepares to kill him until he sees Reid's daughter Matilda as one of the spectators. Have grown fond of her, he decides to spare his life and arrest him instead.
  • Psycho for Hire: was under Duggan's employment while carrying out his unsavory deeds and enjoys performing them.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Just ask the charred boy!


Played by: Joe Gilgun

The adult leader of a gang of street urchins.

  • Mad Eye: He seems to be able to move his eyes independently of each other.
  • Tattooed Crook: His hands are covered with tattoos in the shape of playing cards, each representing a different crime.



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