TCA: BBC America Announces ‘Coppers,’ Its First Scripted Original

The period drama about an Irish police officer will be executive produced by Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana

BBC America has greenlighted its first-ever scripted original, "Copper," a drama about an Irish policeman in 19th-century New York, the network announced at the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday.

"Copper" will launch in summer 2012 with a 10-episode first season, and BBC America exec Perry Simon told the assembled throng of critics that the series is an ideal way to enter the scripted-original business.

“I really didn’t want our first original to be a London cop who gets transferred to Las Vegas," he joked.

The series will be co-created by Tom Fontana ("Homicide: Life on the Street") and Will Rokos ("Monster's Ball"), who will also executive produce with "Rain Man" director Barry Levinson and Cineflix Studio's Christina Wayne. Wayne helped guide "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" to the air during her time at AMC.

Production begins in Toronto this fall with a cast to be determined.

BBC America's TCA session also featured panels with the casts and producers of its imported series: the 1950s newsroom drama "The Hour," which stars "The Wire" alum Dominic West (who spoke from the U.K. via satellite hookup that had an unfortunate time delay); the Sky TV supernatural thriller "Bedlam," which debuts in October; and "Friday Night Dinner," a sitcom which debuted on the network in June.

Additionally, the network previewed "24 Hours in the ER," a tearjerker of a reality show that depicts a single day at a busy British hospital.