Film and TV

Copper: "In The Hands Of An Angry God"

After episode two of Copper, I was reinvigorated with promise for BBC America's newest entry into the hour-long drama sweepstakes. The ending, featuring the death of detestable kiddie rapist and panderer Winford Haverford at the hand of ex-child prostitute Annie, brought a new grit to the show which didn't shake me too much with the first episode.

Sunday night saw the first signs that the show would get ever snakier as the season progresses. With Haverford dead, his wife Elizabeth is now on the prowl for Corcoran, who she seems as a sort of avenger for doing what she couldn't do. Annie has even come to the Haverford residence for dinner with Corcoran and Elizabeth and all the pertinents.

We can assume that Haverford's death was blamed on the Contessa who was pimping out the children in her brothel. There is no way Annie would have been pegged for this one. We'll find out later in the episode that something is off with the child as she attempts to seduce Corcoran in the final scene.

I refuse to call Corcoran "Corkie" like the rest of the cast is wont to do. It's demeaning and one of my pet peeves with the show. People named Corkie don't kill rapists or solve violent sex crimes. They raise rabbits in their backyard and draw in coloring books.

Episode three sees two Irishmen harassing Reverend Garland and Mr. Freeman at the front door of his all-black orphanage. There was a dispute with one of the men about a horse in a stable. Race will of course play a big role in Copper, since it's 1864. Race riots seem to be the norm.

When one of the men, O'Connor, is found hung in a stable, Corcoran brings the body back to Mr. Freeman to examine the body. Freeman finds that the man was stabbed in the neck with a large needle and then hung to attempt to cover it up. Garland is arrested under suspicion for the hanging.

Ever since episode one, I have noticed that as much as Freeman and Corcoran work together, the relationship is still strained by racial lines, even though blacks and Irish in 1864 weren't too different in the eyes of decent natural born Americans.

Even still there is an uneasiness to their situation, that it seems only Freeman's wife can see. At one point Corcoran even intimates that since he fought in the war between the states that he can't be racist, a point that Freeman finds laughable since he was merely trying to defend himself in combat.

Meanwhile Molly, one of the prostitutes that Corcoran and his partner Maguire visit, finds Corcoran's daughter's locket in a jewelry shop and buys it the hopes of impressing the mourning Corcoran, who has been looking for the lost bauble since he returned back to the Five Points. She seems to be very jealous of her coworker Eva's relationship with Corcoran.

Rich kid Morehouse doesn't seem to be trusted either, running enough awkward money and land schemes in the background of Copper to deserve his own show. These passages are confusing and only add more "Huh?" and "Wha?" to an already convoluted and busy show.

Sometimes I just wish that Copper would stick with meat and potatoes crime and criminal science. The scene with Freeman testing a bloody rag found at Garland's home was fun, and I would like to see more old-school forensics at work, instead of the widow Haverford longing for Corcoran to kiss her hand and staring at one another coquettishly.

When a slow man named Jasper steals the suit off of the dead O'Connor we find that his sister Bessy had made him the suit while he was alive but had refused to pay her for it. When Jasper and Bessy came to collect the money a fight broke out and O'Connor was stabbed and then hung, revenge for Bessy's father who was lynched in an earlier riot by another Irishmen.


Morehouse steps in to say that Garland was with him at the time of the murder, giving Garland a much-needed alibi and O'Connor's death is ruled a suicide in order to keep the peace in the Five Points and to stop a potentially deadly and brutal riot.

Trust me, it played better on TV than how I am describing it, but that doesn't make it all any less pat and too clean of an ending. Meanwhile let's just wait for Corcoran and the widow to finally have sex -- it's even teased in the show's sepia opening -- and for Eva to show her true angry and vengeful whore side. That locket is still in the mix.

Copper, less talk, more rock.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty