Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Adam Rothenberg, MyAnna Buring, Jerome Flynn, Killian Scott, Jonas Armstrong, Anna Burnett, Anna Koval, Clive Russell, Matthew O’ Brien, Joseph Harmon, Lydia Wilson, Joseph Mawle, Patrick Drury, Kye Murphy, Kahl Murphy, Benjamin O’ Mahony, Matthew Lewis, Sarah Vaughn, David Dawson, Marko Leht, Jennifer Aries.
To everything its end, all must finally be wrapped up and sent forth with no chance of a return; for some programmes the end cannot come quick enough, they outstay their initial welcome and become inertia, they have no heart, only followers waiting for the next scandal of sex and misadventure. Then there are programmes, serials, which transcend the illusion of television and find a way to keep you close at hand, that keep the storyline progressing, not wanting the end to appear, for when it does you understand just how much they have become engrained in the system and the effort of researching more about them has become an enjoyable pastime.
The closing episode of the fifth and final series of Ripper Street is a case in point, the Occurrence Reports is not an episode in which all must end, that the final act of the criminal is the confession and the punishment, if anything it is the signal that the melancholy of a detective’s life is enhanced by the drudgery of their being nothing to hang on once a case has been solved. This is the punishment, the sentence and the penalty of law that an officer of the law such as Edmund Reid must follow, the reward of eternal vigilance of Whitechapel, the ghosts and the memories that never truly reveal themselves fully but to whom dust and decay is unheard of.
Even now when walking through Whitechapel’s bustling heart you can feel the remorse of the late Victorian era seeping through cracks in the doors and buildings, in the foundations and flagstones, in every corner that evil has once taken hold, there is the light of the vigil carried on by Detective Inspectors Reid and Abberline, Walter Beck and Walter Dew in the era of Jack the Ripper and Beyond. It is a vigil that the makers of Ripper Street exemplified beautifully in this ultimate end.
Whilst the series may have been the investigation and apprehension of a killer, what Occurrence Reports managed to show was that life, no matter how hard and in some cases obscene, went on, that for the fictional end of Inspector Reid was one lived in the shadows and the memories of his friend Bennett Drake, the image of David Dawson’s journalist and the never forgotten evisceration of the Ripper’s final victim, Mary Jane Kelly.
Ripper Street is a rare programme on television, able to blend true historical fact with imagination and without desecrating the memory of those involved. Everything must end, however the reports will always come in and the light outside the station must never go out.
Ian D. Hall