Parents' Guide to


By Matt Springer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Dark, bloody, but excellent British crime drama.

TV BBC America Drama 2011
Whitechapel Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 18+


This show is everything you could want in a suspense/thriller show. I can't believe some idiot discontinued the show after Season 4. If you could get the original cast to agree, bring the show back!!!!
age 18+

Darkens, often discusses nature of evil, raises more serious topics as seasons go by

This drama gets even darker with each season, each ending on a rather bleak note. As the characters are expanded upon, each of them struggles with personal demons, which may in fact be literal during the fourth and final season. This fourth season does raise questions about the nature of good and evil and strongly suggests the existence of the supernatural. Two characters directly debate whether there is a genuine external source of evil or whether evil originates solely from humans. By the end of the first season, Chandler has given up his personal ambition to be fast-tracked to an upper leadership position, and consistently fights to make the right ethical choices, even at the cost of his ambition. He consistently displays respect for the unfortunate, giving names from Keats poems to anonymous female murder victims and sharply rebuking one of his officers for disparaging residents of a homeless camp. Buchan, the often self-important but good-hearted historian, is tortured by his sense of responsibility for not finding the right answers fast enough to save lives. Kent, who started the series kindly and whose hero worship provided a mild comic relief, is deeply frustrated in his personal life and finds himself resenting those who are happy. In the conclusion of each season, while the team has solved the crime(s), the criminals are never brought to legal justice, sometimes killing themselves, sometimes killed fighting capture, and other times themselves murdered. All of these situations provide good topics for discussion. In other considerations, Chandler uses alcohol to self-medicate his OCD, suicides and attempted suicides happen fairly regularly, another character has been married several times and was unfaithful during each marriage, and members of the team regularly fight, sometimes physically.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (1):

There's an atmosphere and thoughtfulness in modern British drama television that is often absent from U.S. series. While an hour-long cop drama based on the Jack the Ripper murders might seem highly exploitative and sensational from a U.S.-based creative team, the same concept as handled by the Brits on Whitechapel is full of spooky shadows and artful glimpses of gory doings.

The characters on Whitechapel draw in the viewer as well, pairing street-level gritty detectives with an academy-polished and ambitious cop and a quirky Ripper expert who brings an irreplaceable expertise to the investigation. It's compelling to watch these disparate men clash and collaborate, even as the suspense level quickly ratchets up with the pursuit of the Ripper copycat. Perhaps best of all, Whitechapel is designed as a short-form drama, with each storyline lasting only three hour-long episodes. This means you can enjoy a high quality and compelling series without investing 22 hours of your valuable time.

TV Details

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