From the moment we first see Yorkshire police sergeant Catherine Cawood (played by Sarah Lancashire with stunning skill), we know that she is a force to be reckoned with. As she tries to talk a drugged out, suicidal young man out of lighting himself on fire by revealing herself in a nutshell ("I’m Catherine, by the way. I’m forty-seven, I’m divorced, I live with me sister - who’s a recovering heroin addict - I have two grown-up children, one dead and one who don't speak to me. And a grandson...so..."), we see her humor, her tenacity, her wit, her integrity, and her ferocity. And it all gets better from there.
Season One has a six-episode arc and I must say that, while obviously a quality production, I was a little thrown off at first by the close resemblance to the Coen Brothers' film "Fargo," a fact I have seen mentioned by many other entertainment journalists. And like them, I must say that I quickly forgot the resemblance as the story unfolded in its own time and vernacular, sucking me in to an oppressive place and dark circumstances that are, well, harrowing. Turns out the resemblance is superficial.
As the kidnap-ransom-idiot thug story unfolds, we are presented with a beautifully rendered and acted family drama that is not quite a B plot since it does directly involve our A plot! Without saying much more, I will heartily recommend "Happy Valley." Take a look at the marvelous trailer below and know that this is not a typical "cop show."
I can't wait to start watching Season Two...and word is that there may or may not be a Season Three since series creator and writer Sally Wainwright is very busy with other commitments. That's ok. We'll wait.