Copper wastes no time in shaking things up in its second episode. After last week’s predictable opener, which saw Detective Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones) investigate the death of a young girl and find – much to shock of everyone in 1860s New York – that the wealthy folks in power are a little bit massively corrupt. Things start off equally cliched in Husbands and Fathers but, credit to Copper where its due, end up somewhere completely different.
With ickle Kate’s demise still looming, Corky is now trying to protect her twin sister, Annie. Her rich killer, Winfred Haverford, who is so obviously evil he might as well be called Dastardly McDastard Sleazeball II, is hunting down Annie too. He’s so hell bent on finding her that he even interrupts Corky’s attempts to find out what happened to his dead wife and daughter. Interfering with our hero’s dramatic back-story? That Dastardly McDastard!
Taking time out to interrogate someone who saw his family before they joined the great New York in the sky, Weston-Jones does his best to instil some kind of depth to his lead – although the most defining thing about him remains his rather nice hat. Despite the unsubtle characterisation, though, Copper does some good work in establishing more of the Five Points on screen: hopping back and forth between nuns and brothels, Corky’s only option for protecting the child winds up with the prostitutes. Franka Potente has fun as Prussian madam Eva and – proves a valuable companion as Molly. The sets may still look low-budget, but the atmosphere is seedy enough.
Indeed, the episode climaxes in Contessa Pompadou’s parlour, a finale that starts off looking like a double-cross before something happens that’s far more surprising: a morally satisfying showdown that sees Dastardly McDastard cut down to size – and lets Annie be the one holding the knife.
It often takes a few episodes to get the measure of a new TV show. Episode 2 of Copper does little to ease the concerns of Episode 1, but Husbands and Fathers has a stab at doing something unexpected. That’s enough to hold our interest in custody for another hour.
Copper is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.