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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Murder > Mystery > Detective > Police Procedual > Victorian Era > British TV > Copper: Season One (2012/BBC DVD Set)

Copper: Season One (2012/BBC DVD Set)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: A+     Episodes: B+



What do you get when you cross CSI, Justified, and Gangs of New York?  Copper: Season One.  This lively BBC television series sets the action in the wild streets of New York City, circa 1864.  The Civil War rages, and all the while crime and poverty run rampant in a city whose grander destiny yet awaits it.  In the meantime violence, prostitution, racism, and murder plague the city’s denizens, all lorded over by the unfettered avarice of those would become the city fathers.


Abuse of wealth and power remain central themes throughout this three disc set, and Irish-immigrant Copper Kevin “Corky” Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones) does his best to sort it all out.  This violent, brooding lawman mourns the loss of his wife and daughter, and through excessive drinking, injury, and the obstacles placed in front of him by a series of known and unknown rivals, tries to protect the city’s most vulnerable inhabitants, its children.  While Corcoran’s methods often bend to street guile and outright mayhem, he is not without other resources.  Defying the racist stereotypes of many of the time, African American Doctor Matthew Freeman (Ato Essandoh) uses cutting edge medical knowledge to assist Copper Corcoran in solving the many crimes he encounters.


Besides the loyal and trustworthy Doctor Freeman, Corcoran can never quite be sure who he can really trust.  Scheming dilettante Robert Morehouse (Kyle Schmid) seems to play both sides to curry favor with his father, Norbert (Geordie Johnson), one of the city’s would be architects.  Incredibly violent and unpredictable, Copper offers a fast-paced period police drama that sometimes strays into stranger territory.  Confederate spies, drug abuse, and a series of betrayals all make this ten-episode First Season a thrilling ride.


The 1.78 X 1 anamorphically enhanced picture and lossy Dolby Digital sound are as good as they are going to be in this format as the repairing of Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson (joined by Will Rokos from the underrated Southland, reviewed elsewhere on this site) produces another winner for TV as Oz and Homicide: Life On The Street before them did.  Plentiful extras include cast commentaries, a featurette on the making of the show called “Behind the Badge,” deleted scenes, and a number of smaller featurettes and character profiles.  Mr. Weston-Jones’ performance, and that of Franka Potente as the conflicted socialite Eva Heissen, stand out from the rest of the outstanding cast, perfectly melding the solid scripts with action on the screen.  Copper provides arresting period police drama!



-   Scott Pyle


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