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Violent crime drama paints a seedy portrait of the past.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The characters inhabit a world that's corrupt and dangerous. Money buys power and privilege, and those who enforce the law aren't always ethical. "Good" and "bad" are relative.

Positive role models

Although the main character strives to protect the innocent and put the guilty away, he uses some unorthodox tactics to get the job done -- from allowing fellow cops to steal cash from a crime scene to holding a gun to a witness's head. As a role model, he's far from perfect.


Characters use guns and other weapons, and there are realistic shootings, stabbings, and other forms of assault against both adults and children. Crimes are bloody but not excessively so. Some cases involve sex crimes, with at least one involving the rape of a child.


Simulated sex with partial nudity (bare buttocks, the side of a breast, etc.). Many characters participate in prostitution, either as customers or solicitors.


Light use of coarse terms like "d--k."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink socially (often to excess) and smoke onscreen.

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?

TV details

Premiere date:August 19, 2012
Cast:Franka Potente, Kyle Schmid, Tom Weston-Jones
Network:BBC America
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

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Teen, 14 years old Written byaudrey mcb February 16, 2014
This is one of my favorite shows ever! I said that it's iffy for people my age and younger but it all depends on what they can handle. This show includes a lot of scenes in a brothel and racism and violence are common throughout the seasons. Copper is quite similar to the film, Gangs of New York, in my opinion. All in all, this show is great!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent Written bytitanius719 August 22, 2012

Definitly a Solid Start

I watched “Copper” at Dish Online while I was at the gym and it has everything you would expect a cop drama to have. They have a policeman with a broken past that plays by his won rules, prostitutes with a heart of gold, a team of cops that are at the beck and call of the lead, and corrupt business men. I enjoyed watching it. They really captured the despair of the time, but they didn’t just show five points. You actually get to tour the upper class neighborhoods of the time as well. The show has a lot of potential but as far as kids are concerned I would have them watch it with their parents if they are any younger that 14. My daughter is only 12 but I allowed her to watch it with me when she asked about it and I think it was healthy. I did it so I could answer any questions she had and so I could clarify anything that I think sent the wrong message. Some of my coworkers at Dish don’t think it is appropriate for kids at all, but I know they are going to watch stuff like this anyways. It might as well be under my supervision if I can help it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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