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A Shiny New 'Copper' From BBC America

by Darwyn Carson
August 18, 2012 1:59 AM
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Tom Weston-Jones in Copper
© BBC AMERICA/Cineflix Inc.

Guest Review by Darwyn Carson - Here’s the bulletin: A tough new detective, year 1864, is coming to our airwaves. Tom Weston-Jones stars in BBC America’s, primetime original drama Copper, premiering Sunday, August 19th.  Set your DVR’s for 10pm. Do it now. There are ten episodes and you won’t want to miss any one of them.

Welcome to New York City where the aftermath of the Draft Riots has barely settled when roughhewn Irish immigrant, Detective Kevin Corcoran (Weston-Jones) returns home to Five Points, fresh from a still raging Civil War, to a hell of his own. His daughter’s been murdered and his wife is just gone—vanished without a trace.

Weston-Jones puts the badge he’s awarded, for saving the life of a rich man’s son, to good use in his search to discover what happened to his family. He makes no apologies, nor hesitates, when he has to dirty his hands for the sake of those who need his help. But fair warning, when he gets that look in his eyes, take cover. He does bad stuff to bad people—the only thing separating him from them.  

Still it’s a delicate act to balance, and more often than not the odds are against him, but at his back, and integral to his rising star as a detective, are a couple of the most unlikely allies: Robert Morehouse, a Manhattan aristocrat (Kyle Schmid) and Matthew Freeman, an African-American man of medicine (Ato Essandoh). These three hold rein over closely guarded secrets that could bring them all down and it’s only behind closed doors that the true nature of their relationship is revealed.

Weston-Jones excels as Corcoran and, almost as if born to don the clothes and mannerisms of the time, inhabits the role like a pair of well worn leather shoes.

Safeguarding his flank out in the open day-to-day trenches are fellow police officers Maguire (Kevin Ryan, another standout) and O’Brien (Dylan Taylor).

Co-creators Will Rokos and Tom Fontana have put together a superior cast of players including Franka Potente, as a smart brothel owner, and Anastasia Griffith as a forward-thinking, upper-class Fifth Avenue resident. Not everyone resonates perfectly to the tone of those times but the main players I can’t praise enough. 

It will be a pleasure to follow this story as Copper’s reach spreads from the refined neighborhoods of the aristocracy to the burgeoning, rabble-rousing mud-soaked alleyways of Five Points to the outer areas where African-Americans have fled to escape the dangers of living in the “inner” city.

This New York of yesteryear doesn’t seem so far off from our current climes. It’s more than fitting, however, that Copper is BBC America’s first original drama because there is nothing else like it on television today.

Click HERE to see a trailer of Copper and get a taste what’s to come.

Copper: New York's Finest

  • © BBC AMERICA/Cineflix
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    Ato Essandoh is Dr. Matthew Freeman, Kevin Ryan portrays Detective Francis Maguire.
  • © BBC AMERICA/Cineflix
    2 of 8


    Kyle Schmid is the aristocratic Robert Morehouse.
  • © BBC AMERICA/Cineflix
    3 of 8


    Franka Potente, as Eva Heissen, takes stock of the action.
  • © BBC AMERICA/Cineflix
    4 of 8


    Tanya Fischer as Molly Stuart has her eyes on the prize.
  • © BBC AMERICA/Cineflix
    5 of 8


    The good doctor utilizes forensics in his work.
  • © BBC AMERICA/Cineflix
    6 of 8


    Tessa Thompson as Sara Freeman is still traumatized by the Draft Riots.
  • © BBC AMERICA/Cineflix
    7 of 8


    Detective Kevin Corcoran (Corky) weighs his options.
  • © BBC AMERICA/Cineflix
    8 of 8


    Anastasia Griffith is Elizabeth Haverford
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  • mike schlesinger | August 27, 2012 11:06 PMReply

    While watching it, I kept visualizing some exec who'd seen GANGS OF NEW YORK and thought, "There's a TV series in there somewhere."

  • Richard | August 20, 2012 12:49 AMReply

    Sounds like it's as intriguing as I thought!

  • Mary | August 19, 2012 6:41 PMReply

    So glad for the heads-up! I love this period and I love detective stories. I've got the whole series ready to record. Thanks!

  • Scott V. | August 19, 2012 3:34 AMReply

    This seems like another great show from BBC America. I have my DVR set for 10 pm. Thanks for the review.

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