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.
Here’s a taste what’s to come: