Frederick George 'Fred' Abberline led investigations into the 'Jack the Ripper' murders during the fall of 1888, alongside Edmund Reid. The series portrays Abberline during his tenure as Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard. While serving a paternal role in Reid's 'H Division', acting as a confidante to Reid throughout his many investigations, Abberline's unwillingness to come to terms with the Division's ultimate failure to solve the Ripper murders serves as a point of tension between the two men.
Abberline first appears in Season 1's 'I Need Light', during an investigation into what appears to be another'Ripper murder. He is then a recurring character declaring Homer Jackson 'Ripper' towards the end of the season before he takes a holiday after the investigation is done. He returns in season two to oversee Edmund Reid and Jedediah Shine to stop their fighting. He then helps Reid with an investigation concerning the IRB and helps bring Jedediah Shine to justice. In season three he advises Reid to leave Whitechapel for his own good. Abberline then commissions Drake to Detective Inspector and tries to coral Reid into thinking sense. By the end of the season Abberline had helped Reid, Drake, and Jackson with the investigation of the Whitechapel Locomotive Disaster before his retirement with his wife and that is the last we see of him in the show.
Historically Abberline did lead the Jack the Ripper Investigation and was a good friend to Reid. However he did retire in 1892 when in the show he retired in 1893. In 1892 he received eighty four commendations and awards and took of the European Agency of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. He then died within his home in 1929.