‘Whitechapel’: Series 4 Episode 2 review

Striking a decidedly supernatural tone, Series 4’s opening two-part tale drew to a close with a rational, scientific explanation for the Witchfinder murders, before expertly throwing all the cards up in the air once again.

After a few twists and turns, not least with the Homeless people’s graphical code, another one of Buchan’s fabulous leaps of logic unlocked the case. With the murderer believing himself persecuted by witches, it transpired he was delusional and a victim of ergot poisoning. We are betting sales at your local artisan bakery will take a dent this weekend. The obscure nature of the toxin sent us scurrying online and we won’t have been the only ones. Perhaps it is time they got Buchan a decent connection down in that basement archive!

Despite saving a life, Chandler’s fragile mental condition has taken another dent by again failing to bring a killer to justice. With scary flashes, Rupert Penry-Jones’ highly restrained DI appears closer to the edge than ever and surely a breakdown cannot be far away.

Meanwhile his team appears to be disintegrating. Tensions remain high between Mansell and Kent – sleeping with your colleague’s sister never does much for inter-office harmony – and they also seem to have lost respect for their sergeant. Tough nut Ray Miles is off his game, clearly spooked by all the talk of witches and mysterious footsteps around the station. His failure to eviscerate Mansell for calling him ‘Pops’ or to act more strongly on the wayward DC’s drinking are clear signs he is not the force he once was.

Down in the basement, Buchan appears to be drawing close to Riley. Her brush with death, nearly being crushed by the falling former spy Crispin Wingfield (a superbly shocking moment), has caused her to revaluate the dangers of the job. We have a sneaking suspicion she’ll enjoy a heroic death before the end of the series, leaving Buchan heartbroken.

As the killings were resolved with relative ease, there was ample time for teasing the wider mysteries. MI6’s interest in Whitechapel remains unresolved and Layfield’s map points to a larger conspiracy of some sort. Luckily, Chandler received all of the former spy’s cache of information, hopefully giving them plenty to go on.

Also, we have yet to get to the bottom of the incident room’s trashing, presumably related to the glimpsed face on the camera at the end. Could the least enticing police station in London be haunted? Surely not… it is bound to be something far more grisly!


Aired at 9pm on Wednesday 11 September 2013 on ITV.

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