Melting pot of vice and crime
Late 19th century New York is perfect for a gritty drama, writes
THE more dangerous the precinct, the tougher the cop patrolling it needs to be. And in New York City in the late years of the 19th century, there was no neighbourhood more troublesome than the Five Points area.
But while its streets were home to all manner of vice, it was also a melting pot of races, nationalities and backgrounds – sort of the prototype of a modern metropolis. And therefore a great place to set a television drama.
It’s the location for Copper, a gritty, involving period piece that follows the police officer of the title, Irish immigrant, war veteran and bare-knuckle boxer Kevin Corcoran, as he attempts to maintain law and order while trying to solve the mysteries of his own painful past.
In the lead role is relative newcomer Tom Weston-Jones, who inhabits the role with a winning combination of brute force and underlying soulfulness. Tom, tell us a bit about Corcoran, and what drew you to the character.
What really drew me was the moral ambiguity, the greyness that everyone has with their choices, and with their idea of what good and evil is. It’s so much more fun to play someone who’s flawed and has contradictions within themselves, and that’s exactly what Corcoran is. He’s not a hero. He’s not an anti-hero. He’s a mixture of different things, and it’s ambiguous. That’s so much fun to play because it makes you real and it makes you more realistic. No one is black and white. Everyone has a mixture. It’s something that every character has, and Corcoran definitely has a lot of that.
is partly a police procedural but it seems mostly like a character study.
Obviously Corcoran is a detective and he has a lot of things on his plate when it comes to dealing with the everyday of Five Points, but my favourite points in the story are when he becomes affected by this obsession that he has with his late daughter and his missing wife, and him trying to find out any information that he can. That’s when you see him at his most vulnerable. In stripping the archetypal ideas of a big, tough boxer and war hero and really getting to the point where you can feel him being hurt and see someone breaking apart a bit and losing their mind, not knowing what control is any more and overstepping the mark, that’s what I really enjoyed. Really seeing him fray at the edges is what I liked. Given there are a great many fascinating characters in the Five Points neighbourhood, there are a
A mixture of different things happen because the story isn’t necessarily written like a story. It’s not written with a beginning, middle and end, and that’s where it’s all finished. It’s like everyday life in the sense that life goes on and there’s no such thing as an ending, it just continues differently. A lot of stuff is left open, and in a very different way than you actually imagine it will unfold and play out. It doesn’t actually happen at all in the way that I imagined it would, which is brilliant. It’s so nice to get a surprise.
Tuesdays, 8.30pm, FX.
Tom WestonJones as Kevin Corcoran. great many stories being told throughout the series.