What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, even though it's technically a period drama, Copper isn't that much different than modern crime shows when it comes to iffy content. Crimes are bloody but not excessively so, and they involve both adult and child victims (and, in one case, the rape and murder of a child). You'll also see realistic stabbings, shootings, and other forms of assault, along with characters who use weapons. Characters participate in prostitution, too, whether as customers or solicitors, which spawns simulated sex and some partial nudity (including bare buttocks, sides of breasts, etc.). Characters also drink and smoke onscreen and use coarse language (think "d--k").
What's the story?
New York's notorious Five Points neighborhood is one of the most dangerous districts in the city. But thanks to Irish-American COPPER Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones), a police detective and former Union soldier who practices modern scientific methods of deduction, the streets are safer -- just not by much. While Corcoran's superiors protect the city's wealthy and powerful, he seeks justice for those who deserve it, all while searching for his own missing wife and much-needed answers surrounding their daughter's murder.
Is it any good?
America loves a good crime drama, so BBC America played it smart by making its first-ever original series a twist on the popular format. On the plus side, Copper's intriguing historical premise injects some much-needed originality into a genre that's littered with uninspired spin-offs. The writers also succeed at keeping you interested with an ongoing subplot about Corcoran's own brush with personal tragedy and well-placed cliffhangers that suck you in to see what happens next.
Copper ultimately falls short of must-see status though, thanks to an uneven cast and a setting that, while packed full of historical eye candy, somehow doesn't feel wholly authentic. Weston-Jones does a serviceable job as Corcoran, but most secondary characters come off as two-dimensional and contrived, reading lines rather than truly embodying them. In the end, the allure of the series' premise might be good enough for some; for others, Copper might not make the cut.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the historical realities of New York City right after the Civil War. What, if anything, surprises you about the conditions and the people who endured them? How has the city changed since the 1860s?
How does the level of violence compare to other crime dramas? Does it seem realistic, or ramped up for dramatic purposes?
Can a character have flaws and still be considered a positive role model? Can kids sort out the differences between a character's "good" and "bad" qualities?