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Review: BBC America's 'Copper'

8/18/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

The network that used to call itself a little Brit different certainly surprises
with its first scripted dramatic series.
It’s essentially a wild Western, set in New
York City in 1864 (late in the Civil War). The hero, Det. Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-
Jones), is an Irish immigrant cop whose Five Points neighborhood is Deadwood East,
down to the saloon with a bordello upstairs. The tough-but-tender madam, Eva Heissen,
is played by the best-known cast member, Franka Potente. She comforts Corcoran, who
came back to Five Points after mustering out of the army to find his daughter dead
and his wife missing — a mystery that figures to play out over the 10-episode series.

Nice twists include Corcoran’s secret weapon, an African-American physician and early
forensics expert (played by Ato Essandoh) whose insights are credited to Corcoran.

This hero isn’t hampered by modern niceties like warrants and packs brass knuckles
in his hat. And, like many a modern-day good cop, his worst adversaries are corrupt,
wealthy men, not lowlifes. The production, on a massive indoor set built in Toronto,
is movie-quality, shifting from
slums to Fifth Avenue mansions
to uptown Manhattan farmland.
The characters can be hard
to sort out, but follow Corcoran
and you won’t go wrong.

March