Copper Episode 01.02: “Husbands and Fathers”

Last week, in the debut episode of BBC America’s Copper, we found out who murdered poor, innocent little Kate Reilly. (It couldn’t have been telegraphed more clearly if Samuel F.B. Morse himself had been at the controls.) So this week, our hero Kevin “Corky” Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones), Metropolitan Police detective, is out to avenge Kate’s death.

We know Corcoran wants to see justice done. He wouldn’t be our hero otherwise. But he has a second reason for seeking revenge: The show’s posh bird Elizabeth Haverford (Anastasia Griffith) has begged him to make Kate’s killer pay for the crime—even though Kate’s killer happens to be Elizabeth’s insufferable rich boy husband Winfred Haverford (Rick Roberts). Naturally, because all posh birds like a bit of rough, Elizabeth is now smitten with Corcoran and his toned boxer’s physique. Corcoran hasn’t specifically expressed interest in her yet, but I think it’s safe to assume that he will; and that we should prepare for culture clash/worlds colliding plots in future episodes.

Contemplative Molly
Eva (Franka Potente), Corcoran’s main squeeze, was written out of this episode. (Why? Who knows?) So Corcoran’s left to work with Molly (Tanya Fischer)—another prostitute and the best girl of his pal Francis Maguire (Kevin Ryan)—to keep Annie Reilly (Kiara Glasco), child prostitute, safe and to avenge her sister Kate Reilly’s death. In the process, he runs afoul of some Pinkerton detectives who rough him up pretty seriously. And lucky us, we get to watch. (Cover your eyes and ears, delicate viewers!)

But shattered bones can’t stop our hero! A nice big shot of morphine from trusty doctor pal Matthew Freeman (Ato Essandoh) has Corcoran ready for action. Soon he’s scaling walls, wrestling bad guys to the ground, and leaping out of second-story windows. Not since Kerri Strug’s final vault at the 1996 Summer Olympics has more been accomplished on a bum leg. 

It’s a peculiar plan that Corcoran and Molly devise to exact revenge. Apparently, the best way to help a ten-year-old heal from the trauma of being pressed into prostitution is to turn her into a murderer and instruct her to lie about the crime. Yep, Annie’s surely on the straight and narrow now. And Elizabeth—trusting, love-starved Elizabeth—has volunteered to take in little orphan Annie and raise her as her own. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?

In other storylines: Corcoran pummels a lowlife sailor for information, but remains no closer to learning the truth about his wife’s disappearance and his daughter’s death. We’re told a bit more about the relationship between Corcoran, Dr. Freeman, and rich man’s son Robert Morehouse (Kyle Schmid), but we could use more help in understanding why Freeman’s wife, Sara (Tessa Thompson), is so skittish. And just one female character who qualifies as a well-rounded human being would be most welcome. (I don’t really expect her to arrive, but I’ll continue to hope.)

After this week’s derring-do, I’m starting to think Copper would have played better as a pastiche. Certainly it would benefit from a sense of humor. One crack about New Jersey hardly qualifies, except, perhaps, as an example of the low-hanging fruit Copper seems eager to cultivate. If only the show’s creators would reach higher.   

Leslie Gilbert Elman is the author of Weird But True: 200 Astounding, Outrageous, and Totally Off the Wall Facts. Follow her on Twitter @leslieelman.

Read all of Leslie Gilbert Elman’s posts for Criminal Element.


  1. Terrie Farley Moran

    You are exactly on target. This is a show which can’t make up its mind. Is it historical drama or soap opera? I’ll try to keep watching because I am ever hopeful that shows that start off slow or lumpy will eventually find their place, but they need to give us actual entertainment.

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