The first episode is called "I Need Light", although I'd name it "the dawn of porn", since it's almost fully dedicated to pictures and movies of that sort. The story happens in 1889 in Whitechapel, which seemed to look like a district of Mordor at the time. A bunch of non good-looking middle-aged men investigate a murder of a prostitute, which later turns out to be a violinist, whose fairly successful career in the porn industry has been interrupted by a deadly workplace accident. Her employer obviously tried to hide this, so he cut her body so that she'd look like one of the victims of Jack the Ripper. One third of the episode was dedicated to various people speculating if the Ripper is back, but in the end those who were guilty paid for their crime with their lives.
Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen), one of the leads. He wants to hide the murder from the general public until it's known for a fact if it is committed by Jack the Ripper. But he does warn his wife (?) from going out after nightfall, which must mean she was (or is?) a whore.
Here she is, Emily Reid (Amanda Hale). She was introduced very briefly, so there's not much to say about her at themoment.
Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn), the only lead character that has no connection with prostitutes (or tarts, as they call them in the series) yet. He's good at beating people up; on the picture below he's working undercover to help arrest the guy who organizes rigged bare fist fights.
Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg), a surgeon who seemed to have done something very wrong in America, so he run to England to hide. He's the smartest one.
Long Susan (MyAnna Buring) used to be Jackson's lover and came to London with him, owns a whore house.
Fred Best (David Dawson) the editor of the newspaper Star, the main antagonist of the series, it seems. He's not very fond of Reid and he just wants to publish sensational stories regardless of how unsettling they could be to the people of Whitechapel.
All in all, Ripper Street is brutal, not pleasant to the eye and there are instances of overacting. Plus the episode felt too long and thus boring, it only got somewhat exciting at the very end. I'm unimpressed.