New drama 'Copper' follows Irish American detectives in 19th century NYC - VIDEO


“My character isn’t racist as much as ignorant and that’s how I play it,” says Ryan. “It takes him a while to warm up to Detective Corcoran. Over time my guard goes down and I let him in.”

The sets for the show are phenomenal, Ryan enthuses. “I’m a history buff and I love period detail, and I was blown away by the scale of the sets on Copper. They have rebuilt the entire Five Points,” he says.

“You can walk into any store on one of our streets and just open a drawer and it will be filled with working props. Can you imagine that? When you have that level of detail you actually don’t have to use your imagination, it’s all there on the set.

“Over the course of time the streets even started to smell a bit thanks to all the horses now. It became closer to real life, and that just helps the show.”

Oscar winning director Barry Levinson has taken the reins, and the advance buzz on the show is off the charts. BBC America has been enjoying massive hits in the U.S. with cult dramas like Doctor Who and Sherlock, but this is the first time they have bankrolled a series on this scale and it’s proof they expect it to be a hit.

“For me the irony of all this is that I have spent the last three years in Hollywood working with world famous acting coaches to get my American accent down, and my first breakout role is playing an Irishman in my own voice. You can’t make this stuff up and I’m grateful for it!” says Ryan.

“I’m also glad to be working with a cast and crew this accomplished. I would say that the biggest thrill for me is watching an untold part of the Irish story come to life on the screen like this.”

Copper premieres on BBC America on Sunday, August 19, at 10 p.m.

Here's the trailer for 'Copper':