Melt­ing pot of vice and crime

Late 19th cen­tury New York is per­fect for a gritty drama, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

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.

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