Ripper Street TV Poster Image

Ripper Street

Victorian cop drama is intense, with violence and nudity.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Crime is taken seriously on Ripper Street, and

Positive role models

All of the Ripper Street characters are complex -- upstanding in some ways, terrible in others. Law enforcement officers works hard to keep the people of Whitechapel safe. However, some of the lawmen show themselves to be willing to use unethical means and trickery to make progress on a case.


The show centers on a series of murders, so there are graphic discussions of injuries as well as bare-knuckled boxing and shots of dead bodies with gruesome injuries such as a slit throat.


Prostitutes are an integral part of the show, and viewers watch them making deals, taking clients to do business, and even having sex (no nudity is shown in these scenes, though intercourse and oral sex are strongly suggested). There are shots of bare-breasted bare bodies, topless prostitutes, and vintage pornography featuring naked-on-top women.


Some cursing and rough language: "s--t," "bastard," "whores," "tarts."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Many characters smoke and many scenes take place in bars, with criminals and officers alike swilling beer.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ripper Street is a graphic police procedural set in Victorian London, centering on a series of murders. There is a lot of explicit talk about crime and victims' injuries, plus many shots of dead, mutilated bodies. There is nudity as well, as we see topless prostitutes, shots of vintage pornography, even dead bodies of young women naked from the waist up. Many of the show's main characters are prostitutes, and we see them conducting business and cavorting in bed with men where intercourse and oral sex is strongly implied (though nothing is shown). Many of the characters curse and use rough language ("s--t," "tarts," "whores"). They drink and smoke as well. Older teens (and adults) may not be able to make out some of the vintage slang and thick accents.

What's the story?

RIPPER STREET, a BBC mini-series set a few months after the famous -- and never solved -- Jack the Ripper murders, stars Matthew Macfadyen as Inspector Edmund Reid, the detective in charge of a new series of murders which police fear may be linked to the Ripper murders. Aiding Reid in his task is Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg), a surgeon and former Pinkerton detective who has a dark secret in his past, and brothel madam Long Susan (MyAnna Buring). Meanwhile, crusading and somewhat unethical reporter Fred Best (David Dawson) is just waiting for Reid to trip up.

Is it any good?


How on earth did the BBC manage to make a slice of Ireland look so much like dirty, dusty old London? The setting and costumes are absolutely first-rate, adding an atmospheric quality that ratchets up the appeal of Ripper Street. Viewers will also enjoy peeks at Victorian history such as a conversation about putting in an underground, which Inspector Reid says would keep Londoners from having to "live like rats." Ah, Inspector Reid, if you only knew! If you only knew!

Adults and Anglophiles who like crime drama will probably love seamy Ripper Street. But teens will no doubt be mystified, first by the heavy British accents, second by old-school expressions like "do jug" (go to prison) and "she's been recently serviced" (she has had sex). Thus even though Ripper Street has much to teach them about history and the ways of Victorian London, they probably won't be able to make out exactly what's going on, not to mention be able to tolerate the mixture of sex and violence throughout the story.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what the Victorian setting adds to a traditional police show. How is Ripper Street different from other cop shows you've seen? How is it alike? What is the purpose, do you suppose, of using a historical setting for a show about crime?

  • Teens: What are your parents more disturbed by: violence or sex? Why do you think that is? What's your opinion on how violence and sex should be handled on TV and in movies?

  • The Jack the Ripper murders are some of the most famous in history. Why are these murders so notorious? What about them makes them interesting enough to merit dramatic treatment over a century after they occurred?

TV details

Premiere date:January 19, 2013
Cast:Adam Rothenberg, Jerome Flynn, Matthew Macfadyen
Network:BBC America
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Teen, 16 years old Written byNapoleon15 September 23, 2013


This show has great writing and acting behind it. The show captures an era very well. That said there is gratuitous nudity in the first four episodes. The gore level is out the window. One of the main characters is a good role model. The other two have loose morals, one of them literally lives in a brothel. The overarching theme is justice, whatever the cost.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bycaitlin89 April 19, 2013

Awesome show, but DEFINITELY not for children!

This is a good show, I discovered it after trying to find something to get interested in after I watched all of the episodes of BBC's Sherlock. If you like the story of Jack the Ripper, like history (especially British history), then this is something that you will most likely enjoy! I think the reviewer underestimated the ability of teens to understand the accents. Most times they aren't too thick, how will you ever learn to understand people if you don't try! Some of the old school expressions might stump some a little bit, but if a teen or adult is particularly interested in this area of history like I am, it isn't too hard to get the meaning. Wouldn't recommend it to anything less than 14 or 15 years old. It does have quite a bit of above the waist nudity, dead bodies, and implications of sex. It all just depends on how mature your teenager is. Instead of stopping them from watching it (Unless they are under 13 or 14) watch it with them and talk about it. Because even if you don't let them, if they want to watch something bad enough, they will. It's better if you show an interest and are willing to be open. Anyways, Definitely looking forward to the next season!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking