The Netflix series about the Yorkshire Ripper was, with one exception, a very well-done documentary on the 1970’s murders commited by Peter Sutcliffe. As a true crime author myself, I was familiar with the killings, but did not know them in detail. I thought that the producers did an admirable job of laying out the crimes and giving viewers some of the social context that was useful in understanding the culture and the region during the period. I always respect that approach, expecially with older murders such as these.
I found the police investigation to be flawed…there’s no way around that. They had spoke with Sutcliffe on multiple occassions and found him suspicious. Further, he looked exactly like the artist’s sketch of the Ripper. Still, it was sheer luck that they stumbled into and finally apprehended them.
The only thing I didn’t like was in one episode which focused on this being misrepresentations of women and an issue of a male patriarchy. One individual got a summery of the Ripper report from the FBI and lauded that the authorities had painted the Ripper victims as prostitutes. I’ve seen such summary reports, they often do not contain the hours of interviews done to compile them. Their experts contended that many of the victims were not prostitutes and that, in some way, made the investigation flawed. They offered no real evidence to support this however, which left me puzzled.
They went on to explain that this serial killer was a product of a patriarchy and that the Ripper was suppressing their rights as female. I have done a lot of research on serial killers, with actual experts, and this just came acrossed as an unsupported and political-driven arguement. It would have been great to have experts on serial killers in the documentary talking about Sutcliffe or the crimes – but for some reason, the producers decided not to, which struck me as weird. Then again, my perspective could be entirely wrong…I leave that up to you to decide.
Regardless, most of my issues were contained in one episode and doesn’t take away from the overall high-quality production that went into this series. I give it four out of five stars — well worth your time and consideration.