I had been looking for a show like Copper for quite a long time. To be honest with you, it’s not the BBC show that I was expecting. It’s not too often that you end up having an old school police story that doesn’t exactly fit a single narrative. Copper is one of those shows that definitely takes some warming up to. As with all BBC shows, it’s nice to see that the acting is up to par with what I’d be expecting. What the show lacks in plot motivations and narrative, it makes up for in spades with style and execution.
Copper is about a New York Irish police officer in the Civil War era. He spends his time with all sorts of folks, mostly prostitutes and low lives. What you find out about officer Cochran is that he’s a man of strong moral convictions. He’s easily likable, and it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t mind going too far to accomplish the things that fall within his strong sense of justice. The beautiful things is that there are just way too many variables at play, and the show manages to balance all of them superbly. There aren’t too many moments where I felt disconnected, or within the realm of disbelief. I was happy to see the period tackled so tastefully.
As the BBC often does, we get a strong sense of adult drama. Things like underage child slaves and sex, the post slave trade era, as well as many of the difficult topics that come about during the Civil War are breached with many degrees of intrigue and fascination. The story often takes turns that you wouldn’t expect. There are many times in which the plot completely subverts the ideas and expectations that you have, and that can definitely be a good thing. Unfortunately, there are also many opportunities for the show to really make you cringe, like watching a ten year old try to seduce and pleasure an older man (gross).
Luckily, many of these moments are toned down to the bare necessities, and solace can be taken in the more interesting portions of the show, like the police intrigue. It helps to see that Cochran is painted as an all star detective, and not just a major league jackass. Each of the characters also helps to find their own humanity throughout the series, and I find the way that they’re portrayed extremely interesting. Everybody has their secrets, and in the same vein, the also are as shallow as you’d like them to be.
Would I recommend Copper? Absolutely. It’s a fantastic show, and although it only has a couple seasons, you can definitely dig in to some finer plot points. If you’re willing to bear through some of the more cringe inducing moments, you’ll be able to really find the heart and grit that make the show so excitingly fun. Copper managed to scratch the itch that I had been reaching for all the way through. I was excited to finally have a show of this caliber, and I’m hoping that there will be another, similar one soon.