A look at New York circa 1860s

I was late coming to this show, thanks to a busy schedule, but had been told on numerous occasions how good Copper was, but they raved about the realism and writing more than anything else. After watching the first episode, I could see what they meant. I swear, I could almost smell the filth strewn streets of compact earth, with the urine and feces, mixed with the unwashed bodies. But it looked very realistic too, like the well planned sets, and costume precise for the time, I was suitably impressed.

Starring Tom Weston-Jones, he plays Detective Francis Maguire who’s beat is the infamous Five Points in New York City, the same time and place of Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. Although they’re identically set, Scorsese gave us a look through the eyes of Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio), one of the gang members, but here, it’s the other side of crime we witness. Although, back then, there seemed little difference, with very blurred lines of morality.

Francis is on a stake out, awaiting the completion of a bank robbery, he and his co-workers have been tipped off about. Whilst in hiding, he sees a young girl trying to stay inconspicuous, but after noticing her, the girl offers him sexual favors. He refuses the girl, but then has to go after the bank robbers, and get some results. He, and his fellow policemen gun down all the thief’s, and immediately divide a small portion of the loot for themselves, as was done back then. Later, the detective is told of a body in the local dock, so decides to investigate, but is saddened to find the victim is the young girl from earlier. Using sophisticated investigatory techniques, his friend Doctor Matthew Freeman (Ato Essandoh) tells him he is looking for a large man who used his fancy cane to murder, then rape the child, and as indicated earlier, Frances takes it personally after losing his own daughter a while before (at this stage, we haven’t been given Francis’ background). Thanks to corruption, the wrong man may hang, but in a place like the Five Points, no one really cares.

This looks to be a brilliant show that if kept just so, will do extremely well, with the acting and writing excellent. In fact, all the performances were exemplary but this isn’t unusual for anything the BBC involve themselves with. The set and costume design are very good, making this a truly great TV show I’ll follow from one season to the next. Lets hope it lasts.

Grade: A

Review by E. Blackadder, special to Influx Magazine

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A – Excellent
B – Very Good
C – Entertaining, but flawed
D – Somewhat watchable, but very flawed
F – Not recommended