Four novel copper(II) complexes of the composition [CuLX] where L = 2,6-bis(benzimidazole-2yl)pyridine, X = dipyridophenazine (L1), 1,10-phenanthroline (L2), hydroxyproline (L3) and 2,6-pyridine dicarboxylic acid (L4) were synthesized and characterized by using elemental analysis, FT-IR, UV–vis, ESI-MS, molar conductance and magnetic susceptibility measurements. The complexes [CuLL1](NO3)2 , [CuLL2](NO3)2 , [CuLL3](NO3)  and [CuLL4] (NO3)  are stable at room temperature. In DMSO the complexes  and  are 1:2 electrolytes,  and  are 1:1 electrolytes. Based on elemental and spectral studies five coordinated geometry is assigned to all the four complexes. The interaction of four copper ion complexes with calf thymus DNA were carried out by UV–vis titrations, fluorescence spectroscopy, thermal melting and viscosity measurements .The binding constant (Kb) of the above four metal complexes were determined as 5.43 × 104 M , −1 2.56 × 104 M−1, 1.21 × 104 M−1 and 1.57 × 104 M−1 respectively. Quenching studies of the four complexes indicates that these complexes strongly bind to DNA, out of all complex 1 is binding more strongly. Viscosity measurements indicate the binding mode of complexes with CT DNA by intercalation through groove. Thermal melting studies also support intercalative binding. The nuclease activity of the above metal complexes shows that 1, 2 and 3 complexes cleave DNA through redox chemistry.