Copper: A Vast and Fiendish Plot Recap and Review

“We’ve all committed our share of sins. Some of them part of the job, some of them part of us, but you confessing now don’t make the worst go away.” ~ Kevin “Corky” Corcoran

Last time on ‘Copper’, on Thanksgiving Day, Corky finally manages to track down Francis Maguire and learns the awful truth behind his daughter’s death. Francis had an affair with Ellen, which resulted in her pregnancy. They paid for the abortion with Ellen’s locket, but Ellen was affected by what she had done and constantly heard the non-existent baby crying. When Maggie caught Maguire and her in bed together, Maggie cried about it and called for her father. Ellen attempted to get her to stop crying, but when that didn’t work she pushed her away, causing Maggie to fall down, hit her head and die, after which Maguire hid Ellen away in the asylum. Meanwhile Kennedy forced Robert Morehouse’ hand to fund his plan to blow up the city by blackmailing Robert’s father with some intelligence about Norbert’s assistance to the confederacy.

In ‘A Vast and Fiendish Plot’ Morehouse informs Corky about Mr. Kennedy’s plans to burn the city. While Morehouse and Corky go to stop the shipment of Greek fire, Mr. Kennedy prepares more within the city. Corky, Morehouse, members of the sixth precinct and Maguire join forces to stop Mr. Kennedy and save the city from burning. Meanwhile, Sara is having problems adjusting to pregnancy and takes a cure-all elixir that nearly kills her and the baby while Eva watches over Ellen and Annie.


‘A Vast and Fiendish Plot’ opens with Robert Morehouse at Corky’s door informing him about the confederates’ plans to burn the city. Robert tells him to gather his men to join him in meeting Mr. Kennedy and Kennedy’s men and stop the delivery of the Greek fire. Corky agrees but first has to find someone he can trust to watch Ellen and Annie while he’s away. He heads straight to Eva’s to get her to return to his house and watch Ellen and Annie to which she reluctantly agrees.

Morehouse arrives at the creek and finds the men unloading the shipment, but Mr. Kennedy is nowhere in sight. Just as Robert begins to worry that Corky won’t make it on time, Corky and his men arrive and arrest Kennedy’s men, keeping them alive as informants. At the tombs, Corky takes one man into a separate room as Andrew tells them that they kill traitors who kill real Americans. A gunshot is heard and Corky comes back for another man. Andrew sends another man with him where another gunshot is heard and Corky returns for yet another man. When Andrew grabs another one, the man freaks out and talks. He tells them that the shipment at the creek was just a ruse. Mr. Kennedy is making Greek fire right under their noses in the city and has a bigwig, rich old man working for them. When he tells them the address of the rich man, they quickly realize he’s referring to Robert’s father, Norbert. After the man finishes telling them everything he knows, Corky sends the “shot” men back in with the rest of the prisoners and they leave to find Norbert.

At the Morehouse home, Norbert is nowhere in sight while they discuss the possible repercussions of the Greek fire as Norbert’s man sends messages on the wire. Corky notices that the last message said, “The rocket’s red glare. 8:30. Signed RCK.” When he asks Norbert’s man about the message, he lies and tells him it was about business. Corky informs him that he learned Morse code in the army and threatens to break his fingers if he doesn’t tell Corky everything he knows about Norbert’s and Kennedy’s plans. When the man doesn’t start speaking right away, Corky breaks his fingers, but as he’s about to hit him a second time, Robert steps in and tells Corky that Norbert’s man will tell him everything he wants to know. Corky let’s Robert takes over and heads to Kennedy’s hotel to search it for a list of targets while Robert stays behind to wait for his father to return.

A short while later, Norbert and Kennedy arrive at the Morehouse home. Kennedy notices something is wrong and ducks behind the door while Norbert walks in and Robert confronts him about helping Kennedy and ruining the Morehouse name. Norbert argues that he saved it, at which point Kennedy steps in aiming a gun at Robert and tells him he’d love to shoot him, but promised Norbert he wouldn’t harm his son.

After searching Kennedy’s hotel room and coming up empty handed, Corky returns to Morehouse just after Kennedy leaves while Robert – with his hands bound – is escorted to the carriage by Norbert. As they wait for someone to get the horses, Robert and Norbert argue about Norbert’s actions when suddenly Corky appears holding the stable boy and aiming a gun at Norbert. Robert takes Norbert’s gun away, Corky cuts Robert free and they tell Norbert to inform them about Kennedy’s plans. After Norbert talks, Corky and Robert head to the precinct gather the men and work out a plan to stop the fire. Shortly after directing his men on the locations Kennedy plans to hit, Maguire shows up and offers to help. Corky tells him to get away from him, but Maguire fights to stay saying he’s a good copper and he needs to help. Corky reluctantly agrees and they head to the city to stop the fires. Robert gets to Kennedy’s location first and as he runs into the room, Kennedy throws some Greek fire at him, setting Robert’s jacket on fire and runs out of the room as Robert tears his flaming jacket off his back. With the room blazing, Robert has no choice but to fight the fire and let Kennedy escape.

At another hotel, Maguire breaks into a room as it is being lit on fire and the man spreading it quickly shoots him. Maguire falls down and the man escapes. Corky runs in shortly after Maguire hits the floor and sees Maguire struggling and dying. Corky watches Maguire suffering and hesitates to save his life unable to forgive him for everything he had done and knew about Ellen and Maggie. Just after the alarms blare and a play that Captain Sullivan and Elizabeth Haverford are attending is interrupted, Corky emerges from the hotel with Maguire and hands him over to some EMTs. The fires are successfully out and the city is safe for another night.
As Kennedy attempts to flee the city before being captured, he runs to Mrs. Haverford’s home. When she greets him at the door, he tells her to let him hide out and when it’s safe they can run off to Canada together, but much to his chagrin, she tells him to leave as burning the hotel and endangering lives was not part of the plan he had told her, no matter how just the cause. When she continues to refuse him after his protests, he escapes into the night.

At the tombs, Robert meets his father and tells him that due to Robert’s sacrifice during the war and exposing the plot to burn the city, Robert has managed to save his father from hanging for treason. Norbert won’t even spend any time in jail for his part in the plot. Robert then tells him that Norbert will be relocating to Atlanta and assisting in the recovery of Atlanta as Norbert will now have an opportunity to reinvent himself as a small business entrepreneur and will even be given enough capital to start the business. As he steps away from Norbert’s cell he tells him that they will not see one another again, which as far as he is concerned is not long enough.

At the hospital, Maguire lays on a table with the gunshot wound as Corky and Andrew stand with him waiting for the doctors. Maguire tells Corky that he intended to tell him everything, but lost his nerve. When he was unable to get the ledger back from Mme Grindle, he killed her. Unaware that she lived on 14th St., Grindle’s sister found the ledger. Maguire demanded it from her, but when she also refused to give it to him, she met the same fate as her sister. He tells Corky that he’s not asking for forgiveness, he just wants Corky to know the truth. Corky steps forward and tells him, “We’ve all committed our share of sins. Some of them part of the job, some of them part of us, but you confessing now don’t make the worse go away.” Just then the doctors enter the room to operate on Maguire and Corky leaves.

Corky returns home and relieves Eva from watching over Annie and Ellen as she had agreed to do earlier. He thanks her for everything she has done and is about to tell her they need to cease their “other” activities when she interrupts him and tells him she’s known their tryst was never going to last. She tells him she needs to find a man who won’t slip off in the night, perhaps a business partner, and jokingly suggests the mayor. She bids Corky farewell and heads out. Corky checks in on Annie and Ellen who are both sound asleep, stokes the fire and then takes some drugs. He sees a vision of Maggie, but instead of going to him as she had done before, she heads to the door and walks out, leaving Corky in solitude to suffer his loss.

Meanwhile, Sara is struggling with her pregnancy. Finding it difficult to adjust to the changes happening within her, she asks Freeman to give her medicine to make her feel better. Freeman tells her it’s part of the natural process and offers to make her tea, but refuses to give her anything stronger. She reluctantly agrees and Freeman leaves to check on a patient. While he is gone, Sara gets sick and frustrated with feeling ill all the time, flags down a peddler as he drives by with his cart full of a “miracle cure-all” and buys it from him. When Freeman returns home, he finds Sara unconscious on the floor. He takes care of her and when she awakens she cries for her mother whom she had left behind when she ran away from slavery. Worried about Sara’s condition, Freeman promises he’ll find her mother. After ensuring Sara and the baby are fine, Freeman finds the peddler and beats him for nearly killing Sara and his unborn baby and then threatens the man’s life if Freeman ever catches him selling the cure-all around his wife again before destroying the man’s supplies.


This was another great episode and I’m glad to see that Robert helped save the city. There have been many times in this season that the man has just confused me about his motives, but by the season finale, I feel safe to say he’s a good man…. almost. I do still wonder about the business ventures and buying up Five Points, but that’s another story for another time. I also wonder if Robert knew anything about Elizabeth’s involvement in Kennedy’s plot. Elizabeth was meeting Kennedy well before she was involved with Robert and Robert’s involvement was to expose the plot, so did he know? I’m guessing not…. but he has confused me before. Also, Elizabeth couldn’t really be that naïve, could she? Believing that Kennedy just intended to burn the docks and Barnum and not put anyone in danger? Come on, that seems a bit ridiculous to believe, though it did surprise me that she was involved since I completely missed that Kennedy was the southerner she had met with before, it seemed a bit naïve to believe a man that wants to burn the city would only burn a couple uninhabited places. Wouldn’t send much of a message to anyone either, would it? Elizabeth strikes me as far too cunning to be that foolish, then again I have been wrong about her before.

I was glad to see Maguire back in the finale and looking, by all accounts, as though he’ll survive. I just wonder what Corky meant exactly when he told Maguire they’ve all done bad things, but confessing doesn’t make the worst of it go away. Was he implying forgiveness or saying he’ll never forgive him for what he’d done because it was far too bad to forgive or forget? It was also nice to see someone finally tell Annie to “cut the bullshit.” So yeah, it wasn’t my favorite person (Eva) but she’s right. Annie really needs to “cut the bullshit” or she will end up all alone. I’m also curious about Eva’s comment to Ellen. “In my experience a true monster doesn’t regret.” She doesn’t seem to have much regret for killing Molly. Does that mean she’s a true monster?

Then there’s Sara. Did anyone else want to slap that woman while watching this episode? I swear all she did was whine and complain (like she seems to do every tie we see her) and then she went and nearly killed herself and the baby. Talk about naïve…and stupid and annoying and…Freeman should just find someone else. Though it sounds like an interesting plot to find her mother, Sara needs to toughen up…. a lot.

‘Copper’ returns to BBC America in summer of 2013.

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