17 Unsettling Moments From Netflix's "The Ripper"

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Netflix has produced plenty of great original documentaries over the years, but younger generations from the States might be completely unaware of the events that are chronicled in the The Ripper.

If you haven’t watched for yourself yet, I suggest you do. But either way, we’re going to highlight 17 of the most chilling moments from the show below.



The eerie opening title credits set the ominous tone for this series, and one shot of a sign is bone-chilling:

A sign that says "It could be the man next door"


One of the signs held up at one of the “Reclaim the Night” marches sets the tone for this four-part documentary.

“It could be the man next door” are frightening words, but are also the reality of a serial killer on the loose in Yorkshire over the span of five years during the late 1970’s.


The resemblance between Wilma McCann and her son, Richard McCann, during his interview segments.

Black and white photo of Wilma McCann.

Express Newspapers / Stringer / Getty Images

One of the most chilling shots is the fade from Richard McCann to his mother, the Ripper’s first victim. He looks just like his mother. It is truly sad to watch Richard give his first-hand account of the moment he learned about his mother’s murder.


The media’s words and overall disregard for the lives of sex workers.

Newspaper citing attacks of prostitutes.


A main theme in this documentary is how the rhetoric against sex workers only cost more lives and demeaned those women who were murdered by the Ripper.

Labeling the first murders as “prostitute murders” not only demeaned the lives of those women, but arguably stunted the investigation and public perception of the incident as a whole.


A series of shots on the barren streets of Yorkshire makes it look like a ghost town.



The shots of bags blowing in the wind atop cobblestone was reminiscent of everything we have learned over the years about Jack the Ripper.


A son must identify his own mother’s body.

Neil Jackson speaking.


Neil Jackson had to identify the body of his mother, Emily Jackson. She was stabbed 58 times.


The Letter to the Ripper.

A letter from the police to the Ripper.


The police basically throw the other victims under the bus to taunt the Ripper for the most recent victim not being a sex worker. It is a crude and bizarre letter that really amplifies the missteps by the police and lack of heart for previous victims.


A man rolls his wheelbarrow over a victim’s body.

Wheel of a wheelbarrow.


A truly terrifying first-hand account about a man named Bruce Jones rolling his wheelbarrow over the body of Jean Jordan. It is something out of a horror movie and the state of her body was too graphic to put into words.


The police reveal the first sketch of The Ripper.

The sketch of the Ripper's face.


This is the first time a survivor has been able to describe what the Ripper looked like. The drawing is especially terrifying because there is nothing too distinct about the man, only emphasizing more that the killer could be anyone.


A 19-year-old speaks bluntly and with honesty.

A map of the victims.


One of the most disheartening moments is during an interview with a young sex worker, just 19, who is afraid of the Ripper, but flat out says she needs to make money.

It really magnifies the economic unrest of the time, as well as the lack of job opportunities for women in the 70’s.


After eight deaths, there is a desperate plea made to the Ripper that he turn himself over to the police.

An image of the police speaking to camera.


One moment that was the strangest was a video released by Officer George Oldfield and psychiatrists asking the killer to turn himself in. What was meant to be a passive-aggressive warning came off as authority figures that were nowhere close to finding the Ripper begging him to turn himself in.

This was the first moment, as someone ignorant to the results of this historic case, I thought: “Wow, they really aren’t going to stop this guy.”


The Ripper’s very public murder scene.

A high heel at a crime scene.


Josephine Whitaker’s murder was the first where her body was found in a public place, a park, and footage was shot at the scene by local news.


The Ripper allegedly sends in a tape to the investigators and reveals his voice for the first time.

Three men listening to a tape.


The police receive what they believe to be a tape from the Ripper. His haunting words, “I am Jack,” are chilling.

For whatever reason, they play it in front of the press without verifying it first.


A detective discovers that the tape might be a hoax, and leaves the police cold in their tracks.

Close up of a tape playing machine.


One detective, David Zackrisson, discovers an inconsistency with the man claiming to be the Ripper. One of the three letters states a killing on the wrong date, thus tipping the letters and the tape are a hoax.

The fake tape costs lives because the police discredited other tips that didn’t involve a Geordie accent that matched the one in the tape.


A survivor gives her first-hand account.

Mo Lea speaking.


Mo Lea describes encountering the Ripper and hearing him follow her as she started to run. The last thing she remembers is taking a hit to the back of the head and falling. Thankfully, she survived and was willing to share her story.


Women across Britain demand they “Reclaim the Night” with marches.

Women's march.


The 70’s were already a decade where feminism was on the rise, and women started marching to “Reclaim the Night.”

When asked why women can’t just obey the curfew, one woman responded, “one homicidal maniac? All women in the country are being terrorized.” Women found it unfair all women had to have freedoms taken away when it was one man killing. The killings really placed male violence under a microscope.


A look at the weapons the Ripper used to murder women over the course of five years.

Murder weapons used by the Ripper.


Police, by mere coincidence, brought in the man who was actually the Ripper. They go on to show the murder weapons he used, and the man claiming to be the Ripper described it all.


Peter William Sutcliffe revealed as Yorkshire Ripper.

Peter Sutcliffe, serial killer, in a bow tie.

Mirrorpix / Getty Images

Even this press photo of the identified killer perceives him in a more dignified light than most of the women he killed (although no photo had been released yet by the police).

The accounts from survivors who feel even more unsettled seeing him again is heartbreaking. Sutcliffe murdered 13 women and tried to kill seven others.

The entire final episode is dedicated to the trial of Sutcliffe and hearing from everyone affected by him. It is an emotional finale.

The Ripper was an extraordinary documentary that captured the unrest in Yorkshire and Britain.

From the failures in the police investigation to the lack of empathy for sex workers, director Jesse Vile did a tremendous job shedding light on the case and gave a voice to survivors and those affected by Sutcliffe.

What part stood out most to you in the four-part documentary?


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