*Stephen Bishop (“Moneyball”) has been upped to a series regular on BET’s “Being Mary Jane,” which stars Gabrielle Union as a successful TV news anchor. Bishop stars as David, an ex-boyfriend Mary Jane will soon bring back into her life to work things out. Bishop will next be seen in the film “Miss Meadows” opposite Katie Holmes.
*Season 3 of the British series “Luther,” starring Idris Elba, won’t premiere in the States until September 3, but it begins tonight in the UK on BBC One.
The season will play out on four hour-long episodes and has DCI John Luther (Elba) once again on the hunt for a murderer in the capital – this time, a copycat killer whose murderous spree is reminiscent of an unsolved case from the 1980s.
Luther’s focus is divided when a reluctant Schenk assigns him to another case – a malicious Internet tormentor found murdered in his home, with all his possessions stripped from the flat. With multiple potential suspects, Luther must apply brute force to a key witness for more information, unaware that his every move is being watched.
Luther season three premieres on BBC One tonight at 9 p.m., and BBC America on Sept. 3 at 10 p.m.
Watch a preview of the first episode of “Luther” season three below:
*Alfre Woodard has found herself a steady gig on BBC America’s crime drama “Copper,” which is currently prepping for the summer premiere of its second season.
As previously reported, the show is set in the Five Points area of New York in 1865, the year slavery was abolished. In season 2, Woodward has a five-episode arc as Hattie Lemaster, “a former slave who has recently arrived to the Five Points to start anew,” the network states. “Jarred by raucous city life, Hattie must reconcile her past against hope for a future.”
Meanwhile, “Chicago Fire” star Eamonn Walker will guest star as abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
“Copper,” BBC America’s first original scripted series, premieres its sophomore season on Sunday, June 23 at 10 p.m. The new season picks up shortly before Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, again chronicling the the struggles of Detective Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones).
Other guest stars lined up for season 2 include Lee Tergesen (“Army Wives”) as a new criminal foe for Corcoran, and Andrew Howard (“Burn Notice”) as the manager of a budding criminal organization.
Looking for a nice change of pace on TV? Perhaps a break from the reality shows?
Consider BBC America’s first original scripted series “Copper,” a drama from executive producers Tom Fontana (“Oz,” “Homicide: Life on the Street”) and Barry Levinson (“Diner,” “Donnie Brasco”), set in New York’s Five Points, Fifth Avenue and emerging African American community of Northern Manhattan in 1864 – immediately after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Premiering Sunday (Aug. 19) at 10 p.m., the series unfolds from the point of view of Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones), an Irish-immigrant police detective in the crime ridden slum of Five Points. After fighting in the Union Army during the Civil War, he returned home to find his wife missing and their daughter murdered. His drive to find out what happened to them motivates his quest to seek justice for the powerless as a cop – or “copper,” as he is called in the neighborhood.
A secret from the battlefield has him linked to fellow former soldiers Robert Morehouse (Kyle Schmid) now a part of Manhattan’s upper class, and Dr. Matthew Freeman (Ato Essandoh), an African American physician who was Morehouse’s valet during the war (pictured above).
Yes, you read right – an African American physician in 1864. Essandoh admits he was equally as shocked.
“The first thing I thought of when I got the script and I was given the part – or even before unfortunately, because of the history of our country – was there were no black doctors back in 1864. That was impossible,” Essandoh told us at the recent TCA Press Tour. “So for an actor, you need to feel grounded in the reality of what you’re doing. I looked it up, and there were actually, I think, six or seven that existed in New York. And the one that I sort of grounded myself with was this guy called Dr. James McCune Smith, who was about 60 in our time frame. So that’s where I found my anchor, and I found the reality of what I could do. Because, unfortunately, the first thing I thought was this doesn’t sound right.”
Dr. Freeman assists Corcoran in murder investigations by using modern scientific methods that were considered nonsense at the time. But all of his work for Corcoran had to be on the down low, as the police precinct supervisors would automatically discount a Negro’s pathology findings. Corcoran, therefore, is forced to take all the credit for Freeman’s work.
Dr. Freeman’s wife, Sarah, has an interesting history of her own. Her two brothers were lynched during New York City’s Draft Riots of 1863. At least 100 black people were estimated to have been killed during the three days of rioting – mostly at the hands of Irish immigrants. It is Sarah’s subsequent fear of white men that prompts their move from Five Points to the African-American community of Carmansville. (The area encompassed the upper part of present-day Harlem and lower part of what would become Washington Heights.)
Below, Fontana explains why Essandoh’s Dr. Freeman character and his forensics work is so fun to write.
Watch the trailer below.
*BBC America has committed to co-produce and air a four-episode third season of the Idris Elba-led “Luther” this year reports The Chicago Tribune.
The UK’s BBC One greenlit a third season a few months ago, the question remains when in 2012 they will actually get around to filming them, reports Dark Horizons.
Though she was a major character in the second and had a small appearance in the third, Ruth Wilson isn’t expected to return as Alice for this season. The actress is currently committed to the Disney film, “Lone Ranger.”
Earlier this month, Elba picked up a Golden Globe award for his portrayal of John Luther in the series.
*If you’ve slept on BBC America’s intense mini-series “Luther,” the network is offering yet another chance to catch the latest season in its entirety, thanks to the Golden Globe win of its star Idris Elba.
As previously reported, Elba won the 2012 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture for Television during Sunday’s ceremony.
He stars as John Luther, the near-genius detective struggling to cope with his own demons, in two distinctive crime stories which make up the four-part series, which also picked up a Golden Globe.
Devastated by the brutal murder of his wife, John Luther returns to policing in a different world. His old unit has gone and he’s working in the newly created Serious and Serial Unit, headed by former police complaints officer Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowley, Babel, Bleak House).
Luther quickly gathers together his team, rescuing his old partner Detective Justin Ripley (Warren Brown) from uniform. It’s not long before they’re dealing with their first case. A masked man wanders the streets of London, carrying out ritualistic murders in historic locations, working his way up to one final masterpiece.
The “Luther” marathon airs Sunday, Jan. 22, from 11 a.m. ET to 3 p.m. ET.