I am not a fan of Cameron Diaz. Therefore, I have never seen the movie, “Gangs of New York” which, I’ve been told, is about the draft riots in late 1860s New York.
When The Hubs and I saw previews for BBCAmerica’s new drama, Copper, he declared it to be too much like “Gangs of New York” and not something he’d be interested in watching. This, coming from the man who can watch 72 hours straight of Top Gear episodes he’s already seen and not complain. But, whatever, that’s neither here nor there.
Look, I’m no journalistic writer. In fact, the only paper I ever got a C on in college was in my journalism class. I’ll spare you from a detailed review of the show. I mean, you know how to Google. Google away. Better yet, watch the show. Because I’m telling you, the British just may be doing the American Civil War than we Americans are doing the American Civil War.
I’m looking at you, Cold Mountain. Not a fan.
Here’s what you need to know. Copper is Kevin McCorcoran. He’s an Irish cop in 1864 Five Points, New York. He’s hot. He’s trying to solve a murder and find his missing wife. He’s also apparently a Union veteran (The Hubs, reluctantly watching the pilot episode, thinks he might be part of the Irish Brigade, who were raised out of New York) and he enjoys the company of whores. His partner is Detective Francis Maguire (I’ll be honest, I had to look that one up because a) I can’t actually recall a time when he was referred to by name and b) he has a heavy Irish accent and my brain has a delay in processing heavy Irish accents apparently). He has two other friends of note, a black doctor named Matthew Freeman and a rich, amputee veteran named Robert Morehouse. Robert wears amazing top hats and has stunning facial hair that reminds me of Strong Vincent.
Again, neither here nor there.
There’s buckets of scandal. There’s child prostitution, there’s opium use, there’s dirty, underhanded business dealings and corrupt cops. It’s grimy. Bleak. No nonsense. It’s visually stunning and well written. And it’s historically accurate. I could find very, very little to criticize, dialect-wise, time frame-wise, and clothing-wise.
I do not, however, know how historically accurate the name “Kevin” is. Kevin doesn’t scream 1860s to me. Kevin also doesn’t scream 1840s to me, which technically, is when he would have been born. Kevin. Kevin. The more I said it, the less accurate it felt.
His buddy Francis (that name I can endorse) and…the other cop who I really haven’t paid any attention to, call him Corkie. Which reminds me of Life Goes On.
I loved that show.
Anyway, Kevins and Corkies aside, Copper is excellent. There’s the undercurrent of a murder mystery, there’s the uncomfortable interactions between upper and lower class. Ubiquitous romance. And look, it’s better than Hell on Wheels, which I can’t stand. It doesn’t slap you in the face and scream, “This is taking place during the Civil War,” it instead makes offhanded mention to period goings-on that, even with a minimal amount of knowledge of the 1860s you’ll get. And if you know entirely too much about the 1860s like the people in my house, you’ll be tickled at how clever the writers are being.
And the actors are enjoyable to look at.
I’m giving two thumbs up to Copper. Seriously, check it out. And for my fellow Children of the 80s, do those two sentences not sound like something out of “Reading Rainbow?” Because, I’m kind of one neon shirt and side pony-tail away of sounding like a “Reading Rainbow” book review. And…I’m actually okay with that.
Take a look. It’s in a book. Reading Rainbow!