I know I’m very late to the party with this show! Recently I was scrolling through Tumblr and came across some clips of a woman dressing in fancy mid-Victorian clothes. What’s that? I thought. I might want to watch that!
I had a bit of a thing for Gangs of New York way back when it was released, and so when I looked up Copper and discovered it was set in the same location (Five Points, Manhattan) at about the same time, I knew I had to watch it.
But it’s not always that easy. iTunes refuses to make it available to Australians. It’s not on Foxtel. I had to order myself a DVD set. But it was worth it.
Kiara Glasco and Tom Weston-Jones
The first episode of Copper opens with our hero, Kevin Corcoran, hiding out, waiting to move in on some thieves. There he meets Annie, a child prostitute. The opening of the show will definitely get you hooked. A bit violent, a bit gritty and a lot corrupt.
I think they’ve done a pretty great job with the characters. Yes, there’s a child prostitute, but she’s not exactly what you’d expect. Yes, there’re police officers, but you never quite know what side of the law they’re going to be on. Yes, we visit the rich crowd on Fifth Avenue, but they’re pretty well-rounded characters.
The show targets all kinds of people. The three-dimensional African American characters are a welcome inclusion. My only issue is they went a little overboard trying to make Matthew Freeman good at stuff. I mean, he’s really good at ALL stuff. A doctor, a coroner, an 1860s version of the entire CSI cast all rolled into one. There’s no crime he can’t solve and no aspect of science he isn’t an expert in!
My favourite characters are the lead, played by English actor Tom Weston-Jones (who I didn’t even recognise at first, he’s so different here), and his friend, Francis Maguire, played by Irish actor Kevin Ryan. There’s just something about the way they hold my attention when they’re on the screen.
Some of the plot twists have me thinking about them days later. There aren’t many shows where you’ll see a rich woman subtly asking a cop to kill her husband, or see that same cop ordering a child to commit murder. It’s a really interesting show, and I feel sad it never got the attention it deserved. Even with its faults, when you consider the generic stuff that people watch religiously (and hand out so many awards to), Copper stands above the others.