coppers nicked him as he was attempting to lure a prostitute to another possible murder. The police involved in this investigation, especially Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield, were harried by the public and completely helpless as Sutcliffe murdered one woman after another. Almost forty years later, the impact of the Yorkshire Ripper can still be felt, in both life and in fiction.
Well, WITHOUT MOTIVE isn't about the Yorkshire Ripper case, but for all intents and purposes, it might as well be. There is a brutal killer of women, a team of dedicated cops in pursuit, and intense levels of frustration as poor leads and faulty assumptions leave the killer free to go on killing. In many ways it has kinship with the fantastic Yorkshire Ripper drama This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, starring the incredible Alun Armstrong as George Oldfield. Both released in the year 2000, these gripping dramas show how much a case like this affects not only the community, but also the emotional impact it has on the officers investigating the crime.
WITHOUT MOTIVE stars Ross Kemp, the lead actor on the excellent action series ULTIMATE FORCE, as well as the host of the two documentary series ROSS KEMP ON GANGS, and ROSS KEMP: EXTREME WORLD. Kemp is a serious looking bloke, very focused and commanding at all times. In more ways than one, I see a similarities between him and Michael Chiklis of the popular American crime drama THE SHIELD; both are stocky, fearless alpha-males with tons of screen presence...an actor really has to be very good to match this kind of charisma.
Kenneth Cranham has been in more UK programmes than one can count; I know him best from the wonderful post-WWII drama SHINE ON HARVEY MOON, the hilarious CHIEF INSPECTOR DOVER radio mysteries, and especially the legendary first season of the HBO/BBC2 co-production ROME, as General Pompey Magnusª. He brings a dignity and calm reserve to whichever part he plays, as well as a stern gruffness that blends wonderfully with those qualities. Here, he's the superior officer in charge of the investigation, and his serious demeanor really projects the right sense of the gravitas of the situation.
The rest of the cast is really good as well. If you watch a decent amount of UK tv, you'll have seen most of them in other shows; I was pleasantly surprised by the balance of personalities. Add to all of these things a good, solid script, and you have a really engrossing cop show.
WITHOUT MOTIVE is serious material, and it has some serious actors to handle it.