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4.4 out of 5 stars
Copper: Season 1
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76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
One of the most ambitious new shows to be produced by the BBC is actually set on American soil. What's up with that? And "Copper" arrives with one of the season's most impressive pedigrees! Oscar winner Barry Levinson (6 total nominations with "Rain Man" earning him a Best Director prize) and Tom Fontana (3 Emmy wins for writing on "St. Elsewhere" and "Homicide: Life on the Streets") are the creative forces behind the series set in New York's immigrant neighborhood of Five Points. Set shortly after the Civil War, "Copper" showcases the unruly lawlessness that runs rampant in a city struggling to define itself. The streets are filled with murder, illicit sex, and unchecked racism. At the same time, the wealthy are embroiled in political scandal, dubious business dealings, and an equal proportion of unqualified racism. Straddling these two worlds is Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones in a star making role), a good cop who's not above coloring outside of the lines to pursue the truth or enact justice.

Corcoran is introduced as a troubled soul reeling from personal tragedy. Despite being a copper who commonly takes refuge in a house of ill repute, he also has ties to a more elite base of friends. Oftentimes within "Copper," these two divergent paths are at odds. In my opinion, that is one of the most fascinating aspects of the show. The lives of the rich are expertly juxtaposed to the travails of the less fortunate. Within its crime format, there are a lot of different topics struggling for attention within a crowded plot line. There are episodic crimes to solve, there is the long-range mystery of Corcoran's family, there is commentary on the immigrant experience, there is the birth of forensic science, there is the racial element, there is a land grab conspiracy, and there are anti-Lincoln politcal machinations. And not every weekly case is as compelling as some of the more enduring storylines, but the show never lacks for ambition. Expertly produced, the series creates a believable historical portrait of its specific setting.

In addition to its terrific production values, there is a great cast at work. Weston-Jones makes a fascinating anti-hero. He's not perfect or even necessarily good, but he tries to be just. But there is a scary ruthlessness simmering just beneath the surface that can lead to some unexpected acts of aggression. Kyle Schmid plays a rich ally with just enough mystery that we never know exactly what his real agenda might be. Equal parts charm and smarm, I really like Schmid in this. Franka Potente as the convenient lady in Weston-Jones life, Kevin Ryan as his faithful partner, Anastasia Griffith as a wealthy society matron, and Kiara Glasco as a troubled girl all make an early impact as well. In fact, as the season progresses--Glasco develops into one of the most unorthodox, strangely fascinating and disturbing characters that I've seen in quite a while. And Ato Essandoh scores as a black doctor that our hero employs (to much controversy and consternation) to look at bodies and evidence.

Season One is comprised of ten episodes. As I mentioned, some stories are inherently more compelling than others. If anything, the show probably tries to cover too much. As much as I like Essandoh's performance, his progressive forensic know-how seems awfully convenient. But every time the plot lines veer, Weston-Jones in on hand to ground the action. Thoroughly unpredictable, his energy makes "Copper" really unique. It may not be a perfect show, but you can't fault the ambitious attempt to stand apart from traditional television fare. Give it a look if you enjoy more complex TV designed for adults. KGHarris, 9/12.

Bonus features:
Talent Commentary On Select Episodes
Deleted Scenes
"Making of" Documentary
Character Video Profiles and Featurettes
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2012
Verified Purchase
Set in the gritty Five Points area of New York during the Civil War, Copper follows Det.Kevin Corcoran, an Irish American 'copper', as he solves crimes with nothing more than guts, brains and the clumsy tools of the day. Set against the backdrop of his own missing wife and murdered daughter, it's a dark and foreboding angst-fest for all. Corcoran's urge to champion every underdog continually undermines his career, and he has as many enemies on the police force as he does friends in the filthy underground he polices. Some people may be surprised or offended at some things depicted in this show - including a child prostitute 'married' at the age of ten against her will, and later imprisoned in a brothel to serve a 'certain kind of gentleman'. Child actress Kiara Glasco plays Annie Reilly, the child prostitute, and her performance is simultaneously electrifying and disturbing. Even seeing a child her age uttering the lines she's given in the show is enough to sometimes turn the stomach - which is likely the point. If Kiara Glasco is electrifying, then Tom Weston-Jones' performance can only be described as one that captures the screen and the imagination entirely. His face is one of those that can be angelic or brutish, depending on angle, and its chameleon quality is used to full effect here. One never knows from one scene to the next or even one line to the next which side of Kevin Corcoran we're about to see. The writing so far is top notch, though the third episode wasn't quite as startling as the first two. The production quality is top notch - so much so that this show must cost an enormous amount to produce. That in mind, if you are interested in dark drama, late Victorian New York City or just good television - watch this and keep them in business. It's one of the best of it's kind to come along in a very long time.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2012
Format: DVD
NO SPOILERS:

As K. Harris did the heavy lifting. I can provide a more granular viewpoint re: what I like about Copper.

While some "poetic license" has to be allowed, as a student of history, BBC America nailed it! The time period has been covered before in the big budget "Gangs of New York" who took somewhat more of a "poetic license" than BBC America.

The Irish as a growing minority, the winding down of the Civil War, Tammany Hall, The integration of Blacks, the role of woman, the gap between rich and poor (& the fostering of well-known industrial titans) and general cleanliness (it might be a small thing, though look at the dirt caked nails of some of the main characters) are all topics prevalent to the time period.

Copper is both well-acted and well scripted. Franka Potente stands out with her best performance since "Run Lola Run."

The storyline itself might only merit a *4 rating, though historical accuracy bumps Copper up to *5 IMHO. Truth be told, I do have an ancillary motive, as my hope is that both commercial and critical acceptance of Copper will not only encourage BBC America to script additional programs, but that they will also open up the vaults by expanding their current offerings menu to include many of the fine programs that US audiences can only currently obtain through purchase.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2012
Verified Purchase
I am not sure how much research went into this project or how realistic it is. I am sure the result is hugely entertaining.

Great sets, costumes and,overall, persuasive acting. I agree with the comment that the writing could be sharper and Corky's Irish accent is a little off, but Copper's head on confrontation with the harsh, often desperate, poverty endured by the immigrants, and characters who are flawed, complex people who feel real, pulled me in. I didn't feel the plot was unfocused--I particularly like the abrupt transitions from violence to tenderness and vice versa. And the mystery of Corky's lost family helped tie in several subplots, including an abortionist's murder and a child prostitute's precocious love for Corky.

Overall, I give this a big recommend. Every episode unveiled (sometimes unnerving) surprises, and I couldn't take my eyes off the screen.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
Set in New York City in 1864, "Copper" is a 19th century procedural/mystery series following Kevin Corcoron an Irish immigrant working as a police officer. While fighting the south during the Civil War Corcoron's wife disappeared and his daughter murdered. Returning to police work after serving in the army, Corcoron obsessively tries to track down where his wife disappeared to and who was behind the murder of his daughter. Corcoron uses two connections from the war--the son of a wealthy industrialist and African American surgeon--to help solve crime in the Five Points area.

The first season of the BBC series looks quite nice in its Blu-ray debut. We get 10 episodes (the first season of the series) spread over two discs. Blacks are fairly solid and detail remarkably sharp.

The audio sounds quite nice as well with a lossless presentation of the British-Canadian TV series co-produced by director Barry Levinson. I should note that the audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 and isn't a lossless presentation which is a bit of a surprise.

I haven't seen the DVD set.

The special features are quite good for the set as well. Strangely, the episodes that have commentary tracks appear to be on the disc TWICE on the discs. You have to click on the episode listed (and it appears that there are more than 10 episodes on the two discs because of this)to hear the commentary track and, when you do, you can only listen to the audio commentary--you're not able to toggle back between the regular soundtrack and the audio commentary (something I'll do if the commentary isn't the most revealing). It's an odd choice as usually the Blu-ray is enabled with the ability to toggle back and forth by just hitting the audio button on your remote. The first time I played the episodes with audio commentary, it was a bit confusing. Hopefully, in the future, BBC will be a bit clearer about this or allow you to just access the audio commentary by clicking on the audio button.

The episodes with audio commentaries are:
"Surviving Death", with Tom Weston-Jones and Franka Potente
"Husbands and Fathers", with Tom Weston-Jones and Franka Potente
"La Tempête", with Kyle Schmid and Anastasia Griffith
"Better Times Are Coming", with Tom Weston-Jones, Kyle Schmid and Ato Essandoh
"A Vast and Fiendish Plot", with Tom Weston-Jones, Kyle Schmid and Ato Essandoh

We also get six "character galleries" where the actors talk about their characters and their various relationships in the series. They are brief often featuring the same footage and, although a bit lean, are interesting.

There are also 11 behind-the-scenes promotional featurettes focusing on different aspects of the production from the production design to historical accuracy. All of these are, strangley, presented in 1080i not 1080p but, I suspect, these are the same promo pieces that were on the website and they were never converted to 1080p.

"Fontana in Five Points" allows the series creator to visit the various real locations where the series is set. Fontana provides quite a bit of history about the real people that lived during the time as well as the background on the series. It's an excellent presentation that runs under 13 minutes.

Equally impressive is "Behind the Badge" a brief documentary on the series creation that runs over 44 minutes.

The option of watching the show in Ultraviolet streaming is also available but itunes is not offered as an option.

Finally we get 24 deleted scenes for the series as well as a couple of trailers for other BBC TV series.

A fascinating historical drama, "Copper" benefits from a terrific high def presentation. Although the audio commentaries are presented a bit strangely (and might confuse some) and some of the featurettes are in 1080i rather than 1080p, this is, on the whole an exceptional presentation of the series.

Recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
One of the most ambitious new shows to be produced by the BBC is actually set on American soil. What's up with that? And "Copper" arrives with one of the season's most impressive pedigrees! Oscar winner Barry Levinson (6 total nominations with "Rain Man" earning him a Best Director prize) and Tom Fontana (3 Emmy wins for writing on "St. Elsewhere" and "Homicide: Life on the Streets") are the creative forces behind the series set in New York's immigrant neighborhood of Five Points. Set shortly after the Civil War, "Copper" showcases the unruly lawlessness that runs rampant in a city struggling to define itself. The streets are filled with murder, illicit sex, and unchecked racism. At the same time, the wealthy are embroiled in political scandal, dubious business dealings, and an equal proportion of unqualified racism. Straddling these two worlds is Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones in a star making role), a good cop who's not above coloring outside of the lines to pursue the truth or enact justice.

Corcoran is introduced as a troubled soul reeling from personal tragedy. Despite being a copper who commonly takes refuge in a house of ill repute, he also has ties to a more elite base of friends. Oftentimes within "Copper," these two divergent paths are at odds. In my opinion, that is one of the most fascinating aspects of the show. The lives of the rich are expertly juxtaposed to the travails of the less fortunate. Within its crime format, there are a lot of different topics struggling for attention within a crowded plot line. There are episodic crimes to solve, there is the long-range mystery of Corcoran's family, there is commentary on the immigrant experience, there is the birth of forensic science, there is the racial element, there is a land grab conspiracy, and there are anti-Lincoln politcal machinations. And not every weekly case is as compelling as some of the more enduring storylines, but the show never lacks for ambition. Expertly produced, the series creates a believable historical portrait of its specific setting.

In addition to its terrific production values, there is a great cast at work. Weston-Jones makes a fascinating anti-hero. He's not perfect or even necessarily good, but he tries to be just. But there is a scary ruthlessness simmering just beneath the surface that can lead to some unexpected acts of aggression. Kyle Schmid plays a rich ally with just enough mystery that we never know exactly what his real agenda might be. Equal parts charm and smarm, I really like Schmid in this. Franka Potente as the convenient lady in Weston-Jones life, Kevin Ryan as his faithful partner, Anastasia Griffith as a wealthy society matron, and Kiara Glasco as a troubled girl all make an early impact as well. In fact, as the season progresses--Glasco develops into one of the most unorthodox, strangely fascinating and disturbing characters that I've seen in quite a while. And Ato Essandoh scores as a black doctor that our hero employs (to much controversy and consternation) to look at bodies and evidence.

Season One is comprised of ten episodes. As I mentioned, some stories are inherently more compelling than others. If anything, the show probably tries to cover too much. As much as I like Essandoh's performance, his progressive forensic know-how seems awfully convenient. But every time the plot lines veer, Weston-Jones in on hand to ground the action. Thoroughly unpredictable, his energy makes "Copper" really unique. It may not be a perfect show, but you can't fault the ambitious attempt to stand apart from traditional television fare. Give it a look if you enjoy more complex TV designed for adults. KGHarris, 9/12.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2013
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I took a chance and purchased the first season of Copper on blu ray. I am so very glad that i did! Copper is an engrossing, refreshingly gritty, period drama. The characters are interesting without feeling too hyperbolized. the story is compelling enough (I found myself invested in the characters and the goings on of the day). The blu ray transfer is nice (solid audio and video for a television show). This blu ray is definitely recommended for those who like raw period flicks! Not much else to say. Give it a try! im very much looking forward to season 2!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2012
Format: DVD
A good cop show taking place just before civil war is over - 1860's New York. An American-Irish cop patrolling the 5 points of New York. When it comes to the law, Corcoran isn't always an angel. Kevin'll steal from crocks, but he does want justice for the guilty and protection for all the innocents.

An all star cast. Tom Weston-Jones (MI-5 Episode 1) as Kevin Corcoran. Anastasia Griffith (Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season) as the wealthy and ignorant Elizabeth Haverford.

Franka Potente, in my opinion, is the big star of the show. (Run Lola Run and The Bourne Identity) She plays the Madam Eva Heissen.

The characters are well developed and believable. The plot suspense is good and each episode with a new plot twist. I recommend this show to all those who enjoy a good cop show or 1860 New York 5 points gangs period piece.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2012
Verified Purchase
This series is so much fun to watch. It keep you guessing. The cast and scripts are great. I can't wait for Season 2!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2012
Format: DVD
The BBC does it again with the original scripted show, entitled Copper!

Copper follows the life of ex soldier and Irish immigrant Kevin "Corky" Corcoran in the 1860's the Five Points of New York City: a time when the Irishmen and emancipated African American slaves were still shunned by the community. Copper (when he's working) or Corky (to Friends) has recently lost his wife and daughter and stops at nothing to find out how his wife disappeared and how his daughter died. But, during all of the dramatics that he goes through in his own life, he still has to maintain his job as one of NY's leading Detectives, during a time when hypocrisy, greed, aristocracy, and betrayal got your further than an honest day of work. Newcomer Tom Weston-Jones does a superb job as Corky. I have to admit, at first, I was a little iffy about him, but he--as well as the other actors--is perfect for the role. Kyle Schmid as Morehouse also carries the show. I never cared for him as an actor, but this role is great for him. There's only 10 episodes, with the season finale premiering this Sunday October 21, 2012, but I guarantee you this show will keep you wanting more. If you aren't into period pieces, then I suggest you not watch it.

Copper has recently been picked up for a Second Season and already has garnered a few fans of the show (check out the Tumblrs for both the show and Tom Weston-Jones).

For everything about the show that's wrapped up in BBC greatness, I give Copper a cool FIVE STARS!!
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