When I first saw the trailer for Copper, I figured it would be like a continuation of 'Gangs of New York.' How wrong I was. Though the setting of Copper mimics that of 'Gangs,' it goes further beyond into the seedy underbelly of the Five Points. It focuses not on revenge or the Civil War, but rather what problems plagued the detectives that tried to keep order in a lawless town.
On its own, Copper is a unique perspective on how justice was done in America. Essentially, the show is about Kevin Corcoran, a detective in the Five Points who stops at nothing to get his man, even the ones that think they are above the law. He relies heavily on his partner, Francis Maguire, during the inevitable trouble that follows them wherever they go. Kevin also invokes the help of a black doctor, Matthew Freeman, whose brilliant mind helps the detectives identify certain characteristics of victims that will lead to the killer. But their relationship is tricky due to the fresh wounds that are present from a recovering nation after the Civil War.
This show is not at all shy or subtle in its approach as to how things were back then. From the issues of race, class, peer pressure, and the common practice of child prostitution, nothing is left untouched by Copper. This show is certainly not afraid of offending people and you know what? That's what makes it so good to watch.
Tom Weston-Jones commands the screen from the first glance and refuses to let go as we are introduced to more characters. He gives an air of mystery and respectability to his role as Kevin Corcoran. He and his co-stars are able to carry the load of heavy scenes that might otherwise make viewers uncomfortable in an understated way. The fact that the bulk of them are complete unknowns (at least in America) allows the audience to watch without any preconceived notions about what to expect.
Overall, I really liked the pilot. It has serious potential as it was able to balance a certain number of characters with intertwining story lines that make sense. It would be easy for the writers to back away from the uncomfortable situations that the characters get into, but I hope they don't. The raw talk and bold themes are what make this show unique.
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