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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.


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