WRITER’S ROOM: How I Met Corky

‘Copper’ writer Kevin Deiboldt reminisces about his first run-in with Detective Kevin Corcoran, and recounts the show’s development journey from script to small screen.

Greetings, Friends of Corcoran,

My name’s Kevin and I’m one of the writers on Copper. Corky and I first met about four years ago. I was working for Tom Fontana at the time (as I had been since 2004), and he was in the midst of developing the show with Will Rokos. The two-hour pilot script crossed my desk, I picked it up. My first glimpse of the good Detective was much the same as yours — standing there in a half-burned stable, appearing “lean with a hard look, loading his revolver.” I liked the steely bastard immediately.

When Copper finally made it through the long, harrowing gauntlet of development (and into the loving arms of BBC America) I was thrilled. When Tom offered me the opportunity to write for the show, I was euphoric. Fast-forward to twelve months later, and I was surrounded by friends and family, watching as the countdown clock ticked by on the screen, in subtle disbelief that Copper was actually about to be let loose upon the world. It’s a strange thing — to start with forty-seven pages of text, to have those pages molded by hundreds of artists and technicians, to ultimately have it appear, fully realized and brimming with life, on a flickering screen.

The response thus far has been quite humbling. From the history buffs who squealed at a glimpse of the Five Points Mission, to the fans channeling their inner Corky on Monday morning — muttering “You can talk, or you can pray…” to anyone who crosses them — we thank you all. Copper has been a downright pleasure to work on, from those first words on paper to the very last moment we filmed (a shot that, coincidentally, appeared in last night’s episode). It tickles me to no end that we’ve created a world that seems to excite you — even after only one episode. And to which I must say…

Tare an’ouns — wait until you see episode two.

Have questions or comments for Kevin? Leave them below! And for more of Kevin’s “Copper” musings, check out his personal blog, Ithaca Mafia.

  • Minnie Mama

    …when a 70 yr old Grandmother in Memphis, TN gives it 5 stars you know you are a success!!! Keep em comin..

  • Dianne

    I am addicted already. I watched it 4 times that night to get all of the details and its wonderful! All of you should be very proud. I love history and its a reality TV show world we live in and this is SO refreshing and realistic. THANK YOU!!!! My only problem will be getting up to go to work on Monday’s HAHAHA

  • bhogan1965

    Why the title Copper?

    • http://www.ithacamafia.com Kevin

      Copper was a common slang term for a police officer at the time.

      The popular belief is that it originated from the metal that the badges were made out of — copper. (Although technically, the badges were made of copper only from 1845-1857. The Metropolitan Police had switched to white metal by the time our show begins.)

      According to my fellow writer, Kyle — still other theories suggest that it stems from the phrase “to cop” (steal), which comes from the original latin word capere: “to seize, capture or take”.

  • Colleen

    Great, great show! Can’t wait to see more! The characters, actors, storyline….simply amazing! My Irish family lived in the five points during this time so I had to see this ..perfect!

  • jane Singer

    As a Civil War author and historian, I am thrilled by your show. Five Points with all its grime, gore and corruption are wonderfully captured. Bravo! May the show have a long, long life.
    Jane Singer

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.koenig.35 Peter Koenig

    So far, brilliant. (I’m the squealing history buff sort)
    Questions:
    In which regiment did Morehouse serve in the War? Corcoran and Morehouse were apparently together in an as-yet unnamed battle. Which one?
    I know that Corcoran served in the 71st NY Volunteer Infantry (Excelsior Brigade), which is historically correct – and not in the 71st NY Militia (National Guard). The 71st NYVI was largely Irish. The 71st NYM was definitely not: it was composed sloely of US-born Protestants.
    My guess is that Morehouse would have been in the 7th NY Militia (the Kid Glove Regiment) – but (1) I doubt the 7th and 71st were ever brigaded together and (2) someone of Morehouse’s pedigree would have made an unlikely junior officer for the predominantly Irish 71st NYVI.
    Also, a hint: beware how you deal with the Draft Riots, Corcoran amd Morehouse. The 71st NYVI was at Gettysburg at the time (or near there) whereas the “wrong 71st” (the Militia unit) was in NYC suppressing the riots along with the 7th NY Militia.

  • Kim B.

    My husband and I joke quite often that “we love a good period piece” and this is no exception! I love that this series is gritty, dark, and seems very real; so many times we think of this period in time and many of us immediately think of Victorian London. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I really like the perspective of this show, and the focus on something we don’t often hear about.

    As an admirer of the Steampunk genre, I enjoy any opportunity for being visually stimulated by fine costumes and scenery – I find it very inspiring from that aspect – but the show also serves as a great reminder that while things seemed so prim and proper in the Victorian England many Steampunks hearken to, things were quite unstable, gritty, and dangerous here in the States (be it from the disease-ridden poor littering the streets, the deadly gunfights and crimes, or the general unhealthiness of the brothels). (I’m not saying the show is inherently ‘steampunk’ but certainly those familiar with the genre can appreciate my thoughts on that.)

    A long-winded reply to merely say, well done indeed.

  • Katrina

    Did you model Kevin Corcoran off any other characters out there? Love him!

  • Chiana Star

    This is one show that I will never fail to watch an if/when it becomes available to own I will definitely buy this an all following seasons.

  • Cuero Marshal

    I love the show. The name of your main character does sound Irish, but it is also the name of the child actor from Disney’s Old Yeller and Swiss Family Robinson. Was this just a coincidence? Did you have to get his permission to use his name?