NYC plays role in drama

Civil War police show, ‘Copper,’ has

tangle of plot lines

McClatchy Newspapers

While the first season of BBC America’s Civil War-period police drama “Copper” started with some child abuse, the second starts with a wedding — and a murder.

The second season, beginning tonight at 10, opens Feb. 5, 1865, when the war is drawing to a close — though, of course, no one knows that.

It is evident that the writers are more comfortable with the time period this season as opposed to the last. They entwine the history of New York City and the lower-Manhattan Five Points slum with the changes brought by immigration, particularly of the Irish. The city itself plays a character in this series, with its brothels, docks and elaborate mansions on the upper end of the island being crucial settings for the plot.

And because of the nature of cable channels, the dialog is salty and profane, and scenes are graphic and showcase occasional female nudity.

However, in order to fully enjoy the show’s tangle of plot lines, it’s helpful to have seen the first season. BBC America’s website also has posted an episode guide ( ).

Last season, Detective Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones) of the Sixth Ward found his missing wife, Ellen (Alex Paxton-Beesley), and discovered the truth that she’d had an affair with his best friend, Francis Maguire (Kevin Ryan), who narrowly escapes from Corcoran’s vengeance with his life.

This season, the wealthy Maj. Robert Morehouse (Kyle Schmid) marries the equally rich widow Elizabeth Haverford (Anastasia Griffith), who turns out to have secrets about last season’s near-burning of New York City and her opium consumption.

Their friend, African-American physician Matthew Freeman (Ato Essandoh), and his wife, Sara (Tessa Thompson), have moved back to the tumultuous Five Points despite the fact that Sara’s brothers had been murdered there during the draft riots.

In season one, Sara was haunted by the murders; in the second season, she takes action to conquer her fear.

New characters will include general-turned-Tammany Hall politician Brendan Donovan (Donal Logue) and former slave Hattie Lemaster (award-winning actress Alfre Woodard).

In season two, episode one, reality immediately strikes. With the end of the war being nowhere in sight, the Union Army needs soldiers to help fight against the Confederacy.

In New York, recruiters are going the extra step by kidnapping boys to provide fresh troops for the front. Or as a grizzled sergeant major (Jim Byrnes of “Wiseguy”) callously tells former soldier Corcoran, “Perfumed generals don’t win wars, Corporal. Cannon fodder does.”

It’s up to Corcoran to save the missing teens and find out the truth.

In doing so, he misses his friend Morehouse’s wedding.

Later, Corcoran finds him drunk at the local brothel.

Why is Morehouse not home with his new wife? Well, it’s complicated.

Find out on the new season of “Copper.”

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