Whitechapel returned this year with an extended series. Series 3 boasts six episodes instead of the usual three and this time DI Chandler and his OCD (and his team) will investigate three cases, with two episodes dedicated to each case and… you didn’t come here for a bunch of stats?
Neither did I. I’ve got my Team Chandler/Kent shirt on. Let’s get this party started.
After credits the show opens with a shot of a Victorian tailor shop. Four gentlemen and a lady are measuring, cutting and pinning assorted tweeds into place accompanied by eerie violin music.
Murder is in the air.
But let’s get tea sorted first. Georgie, the apprentice, is send out to buy food for everyone, after the previously prepared dinner has gone missing (I have a feeling this will become relevant later.)
She rolls her eyes and heads out into the street, where she is passed by a taxi and this isn’t the Victorian age at all! It’s now.
There, see? This is why I love this show. They love toying with us. In every scene you can hear the faint cackling of a script writer.
Cut to our favourite team of policemen doing the conga. DC Mansell is celebrating his wedding in a pub. Kent is drunkenly leaning against a pillar, Buchan is leaving his soul on the dance floor and Miles snarks at Chandler who has been nursing the same half pint of lager all night.
It’s just like coming home.
Oh, and Buchan is getting hired on a permanent basis as a historical researcher.
We’re back with Georgie, out on a food run. She skips the line at the deli and calls another customer who complains about it a tosser.
Queue jumping in Britain; certainly a grave offence, but does will it get her murdered? As she leaves and heads back down the deserted back alleys of Shoreditch, she is followed by a man. It looks like she’ll be our first body
Mansell’s wedding now features karaoke. Chandler and Miles have retreated to a table where they discuss the value of historical cases for modern police work. Kent is passed out on the table between them.
Chandler wants to use the past to guide them, while Miles believes it to be a distraction. Will those two ever agree?
No. That is very much the basis of their relationship.
Their dysfunctional father-son dynamic, spiced up by the added twist that the father figure, DS Miles, is the lower ranking officer, is very much the backbone of the show and the reason it continues to be interesting. (And the murders. Let’s not forget the murders.)
Phil Davis is just brilliant as the veteran policeman DS Ray Miles. You can see in his face that he’s been through the wars, has seen it all and come out the other end. But he is not cynical, far from it. He loves the force, loves the job and his colleagues. He’s a proper copper. He does not believe that good will defeat evil, but he’ll give it a damn good try none the less.
Meanwhile Georgie, who is surprisingly still alive, has been locked out of the tailor’s shop. She bangs on the door with fists and feet. No answer.
With the help of a passing policeman she breaks in and discovers that everyone is dead.
Well, I’ve got egg on my face.
Dr. Llewellyn is already on the scene when Chandler and Miles get there.
We learn a new term. Enmeshment. Mass murders are usually families where the murders are an extension of the suicide. We’re laughing and learning with this show. Mostly learning at this point.
This case is different to other mass murders as there is no suicide.
All doors and windows were locked and bolted and no one forced their way in. It’s a mystery. Which is handy as this is very much the genre we’re operating in.
The investigation gets underway through a handover haze. Kent didn’t even have time to wash the marker pen off his forehead.
Since there was no sign of forced entry at the crime scene, the murderer must have been known to the people inside and invited in. Al four victims were successful and had loads of friends and family. That makes for a lot of suspects.
Buchan arrives for his first day on the job. He’s shown straight to the cellar, where the MET’s crime archive is stashed. Buchan has what can only be described as a nerdgasm.
DC Meg Riley makes her first appearance. She’s a historical re-enactor! Be still my beating heart. “Always a busty wench.” For visual reference material I’d refer you to Pirates Of The Caribbean – On Stranger Tides. (Yes, I have it on dvd. Shut up.)
Georgie, the only survivor of the massacre at the tailor’s is in for questioning. She’s in bits. According to her the guys had no enemies or unsatisfied customers. Everyone was lovely. Except for herself. She is, in her own words, a “cast-iron bitch” and she should have died, not Salter and the others. Poor girl.
Llewellyn is done with the autopsies. All four of them were killed by a heavy blow to the back of the head. The hammer that was used his them so hard it left an imprint in the skulls.
Kent’s been working on the victims’ personal backgrounds, trying to find someone with a grudge or score to settle. When Chandler thanks him for his good work, Kent glows. He glows!
Mansell and Riley are helping Buchan get to grips with the crime archive. It’s been dumped in the cellar in no particular order.
But Buchan has already found something useful. The Ratcliff Highway Murders. A shopgirl was sent out one night to buy oysters and came back to find everyone dead.
Riley, Kent, Mansell and a bunch of uniforms are knocking on doors asking for witnesses. Riley’s really hitting the ground running, isn’t she?
Everywhere they go they hear the same story: The devil did it. The devil is walking in Whitechapel.
At the station Riley, Kent and Mansell walk in on Chandler doing his nightly OCD round through the office: picking up litter, turning off lights and re-shelving files.
They make a collective, unspoken agreement to ignore the weirdness, because a new clue has come up!
The night of the murders a woman looked out of her window and saw a bunch of people heading for the crime scene for some rubbernecking. Only one person was going the other direction and looking like he was in a hurry. They found him on CcTV.
The suspects face wasn’t captured, but he’s got a pronounced limp. Better than no clue at all.
Next morning Chandler and Miles have a heart to heart in the rain. It’s like the end of Breakfast At Tiffany’s only instead of a missing cat they are looking for a murderer. And it’s London, not New York.
It’s very slightly like Breakfast At Tiffany’s.
Miles’ wife Judy is having health problems. Her mother had the same symptoms and it did not end well.
Show, please don’t break Miles and Judy. They made me believe in love again.
Is that an exaggeration? Yes. But not as much as would be ideal.
Buchan has prepared a presentation. With slides and everything. The team behave like unruly school children. Chandler does not believe his eyes.
It’s such a complete disaster, it’s almost beautiful.
Riley, Mansell and Kent (who I will from now on collectively refer to as The Baby Bears) go back to the scene of the crime looking for something, anything that will help the investigation.
Current suspect profile: Man with limp.
Stepping over a patch of dried blood, Mansell comments: “The place is gonna need new floors.”
I’ve always had a soft spot for the comic relief and I a-d-o-r-e him.
The baby bears realize the shop has recently been remodeled. By contractors. Who have hammers. Hammers that could cave in a skull or four.
Suspect profile gets updated to: Carpenter with a limp.
A small step for man, a giant leap for the investigation.
Candler and Miles (the daddy bears) visit the carpenter who did the stairs at Salter’s shop and confiscate his hammers.
He does not limp.
The baby bears dig a little deeper into Salter’s background and find that last year Salter was the key witness in a trial against a local gang leader.
Because of Salter’s statement several gang members were sent to prison. When the leader, Wilkie, got out he found his turf taken over and he was forced out of the area.
It’s like the Wild West in the east end.
Facebook research reveals a photo of Georgie and Wilkie. They went to the same school. Georgie could have let Wilkie into the shop when she went out.
Wilkie’s interrogation goes not like planned. At first he’s stubborn and when Miles and Chandler put the pressure on, he gets angry and confesses… to owing his life to Salter. Wilkie’s family were all in gangs and no man ever lived past 20. After he was forced out and moved away, Wilkie met a girl, got a job and is about to start a family. He turned 22 recently.
I love a good tale of redemption. Or is it a clever cover?
The continuity person seems to have dropped the ball somewhat here. Chandler calls Wilkie “Daniel”, but Buchan refers to him as Ben Wilkie… unless something clever is going on that I’m not getting.
When no one is looking Kent goes to Chandler and confesses he’s a bit uneasy. There’s so much talk about devils, jinns and aswangs and it’s getting to him.
Chandler takes Kent out on a date to the cross roads where John Williams, the man accused of the Ratcliff Murders was buried. They buried him on a cross roads to confuse his soul should it rise, in a small pit so he’d feel discomfort for eternity and drove a stake through his heart to prevent his spirit form wandering.
Overkill if you ask me.
I’m not entirely sure how any of this is suppose to help Kent, but it seems to do the trick.
Lizzie Pepper, a forensic scientist, has checked the hammers Chandler and Miles confiscated and found no traces of blood. Lizzie is clearly smitten with Chandler, who does not notice a thing.
A girl shows up at the station after reading about the Salter murders in the paper. The night of the murders she was in a taxi with a driver who was ranting and raving about how his brother had cheated him out of a lot of money. He was angry and scary, so she took a picture of his ID before getting out of the cab.
The angry taxi driver is Markus Salter, the tailor’s brother.
Police break into Marcus’ house. They drag him out of bed and into the bright light of day. He’s screaming and kicking as if he’s in pain.
Which he is. He has photophobia.
He’s also a massive creep.
He admits to thinking about killing his brother, but someone got there first.
Marcus is led to the cells where he continues to be a scary creep. He’s clearly freaking out the uniformed officer who is watching him.
Lights flicker when Marcus says a prayer.
Maybe he really is the devil.
Chandler and Miles are in the office, sharing a celebratory drink thinking they’ve got the killer in the cells. Miles’ wife thinks she has cancer. They are waiting for the scans to confirm either way. Miles is scared. We’ve never seen him scared. Down to the bone terrified he might lose Judy.
Miles asks Chandler why he’s never married or had a civil partnership. Chandler’s answer is that he’s particular. A very particular man who’d rather be alone than accommodate someone who might mess up his sock index.
A uniformed policeman runs in to inform them that Marcus has escaped from his locked cell.
An idyllic scene of a family’s living room. Everyone is gathered round the tv enjoying a show.
The lights go out and a woman screams.