By Emily Rome
Updated June 17, 2013 at 01:00 PM EDT
Credit: Steve Wilkie
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When BBC America’s Copper wrapped up its first season last October, we left Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones) in a pretty dark place. The Civil War-era New York police detective had just suffered betrayals from his wife and his best friend, and the last scene of the finale had Corcoran turning to drugs to deal with his despair.

Copper‘s sophomore season picks up four months later, a jump that new showrunner Thomas Kelly decided to take “to get a fresh start but not move ahead too far out so we wouldn’t have any drastic changes to explain.” The struggles Copper‘s characters faced at the end of season 1 are still present in their lives, but they’re also moving on — season 2 has a theme of reconstruction, both for individual characters and for America, as the Civil War comes to an end.

Below is an exclusive clip from the first few minutes of Copper‘s season 2 premiere, which starts off with a rare serene moment outside the city, but fair warning: It gets bloody and violent pretty quickly.

Kelly told EW he wanted to start the season premiere with “something that visually establishes the greater world we’re dealing with, but then we plunge right back into the claustrophobic” New York City location.

As for how bloody things get here, Kelly said, “It was a violent time and place, and we didn’t want to shy away from that. … We use [violence] to advance story or to find character.” He also explained that the writers very deliberately limit the characters’ use of guns because “back then, before handguns were so readily available, there was still a lot of murders, but you had to put your hands on something to kill it, whether it was a deer or it was another person, so it’s a much more intimate human act when the violence involves the actual laying of hands.”

The raw, gritty, bloody fight scenes were a new experience for Kelly, who comes to Copper from CBS procedural Blue Bloods, where there were far more limits on violent images than on cable. “I’m like a kid in a candy store now,” Kelly admits.

Copper‘s season 2 premiere airs Sunday, June 23, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Among the returning cast are Anastasia Griffith, Kevin Ryan, Ato Essandoh, and Kyle Schmid, while Alfre Woodard and Donal Logue play two new characters.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyNRome.

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