If you think America is strange, violent and complex now, and you wish for a simpler, kinder time way back when, then “Copper” may mess with your nostalgic yearnings. It turns out the past is just as dark, twisted and ultimately hopeful as today (after all, we survived it to get here).
BBC America’s first original scripted series — set for an initial run of 10 episodes — is the creation of Tom Fontana (“Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Oz”) and Will Rokos (“Monster’s Ball,” “Southland”), and executive produced by Barry Levinson (“Good Morning, Vietnam”).
British actor Tom Weston-Jones (above, with Franka Potente) stars as Irish immigrant Kevin Corcoran, a detective with New York’s emerging police department in 1864.
He has returned from fighting in the Civil War to find a rapidly growing but often ramshackle metropolis that is sharply split among the elegant residences of Fifth Avenue, the rough-and-tumble immigrant neighborhood of Five Points (the seedy underbelly of which often attracts some of the city’s wealthier citizens in search of particular pleasures) and the emerging African-American community in northern Manhattan. He also discovers that his daughter has been murdered, and his wife is missing.
A former boxer, Corcoran is bound by a strange battlefield secret to two of his wartime companions, Manhattan aristocrat Robert Morehouse (Kyle Schmid) and African-American Dr. Matthew Freeman (Ato Essandoh), to whom Corcoran turns for forensic crime analysis.