Happy Valley: Season 1 (2014)


Season 1
Happy Valley

Critics Consensus

Dark, edgy, and surprisingly suspenseful, Happy Valley dispenses some of the more oddly liberating violence on television.



Critic Ratings: 22


Audience Score

User Ratings: 458
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Happy Valley: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

When Kevin Weatherill reports the crime to police sergeant Catherine Cawood, it transpires that the mastermind behind the scheme was Kevin himself. Now in over his head with co-kidnapper and local drug kingpin Ashley Cowgill, Kevin panics and confesses. But is it too late for Catherine to find young Ann Gallagher alive?


Sarah Lancashire
as Catherine Cawood
Steve Pemberton
as Kevin Weatherill
James Norton
as Tommy Lee Royce
Adam Long
as Lewis Whippey
Joe Armstrong
as Ashley Cowgill
George Costigan
as Nevison Gallagher
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News & Interviews for Happy Valley: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Happy Valley Season 1

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (11)

Happy Valley... suggests just how much story can still be found in the life of a middle-aged, female law enforcement official, a less played-out counterpart to the grizzled, seen-it-all-detective.

Aug 20, 2014 | Full Review…
Top Critic

In this job, I watch an awful lot of first episodes -- shows I review, deem to be awful and then avoid for the rest of their run. But I can't wait for the second part of Sally Wainwright's Happy Valley.

Sep 24, 2014 | Full Review…

It was with the bad guys that Wainwright really made things interesting, and again this was achieved though the characters' carefully built-up histories.

Sep 24, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Happy Valley is an impressive reminder of the myriad ways good writing, better acting, and, above all, a unique sense of place can make even the shaggiest story feel surprising and vital.

Sep 15, 2014 | Full Review…

I regret that so much writing and acting talent is being channelled into crude and overblown melodrama dubiously justified as "real life."

Aug 20, 2018 | Full Review…

You know it's good when you care, and want to know what happens next.

Jul 23, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Sarah Lancashire is perfect in the lead role and should give masterclasses in the art of understated acting.

Sep 24, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Happy Valley is a quiet, devastating, and ultimately deeply satisfying watch.

May 16, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It seems like we're constantly taught by the Brits how we could be making better television shows and this has all those lessons rolled up into one neat little package.

Aug 21, 2014 | Full Review…
Top Critic

There's enough depth and complication in the performances alone to buoy the six-episode run, and given the intensity of the criminal specifics, the slow burn feels more like a feature than a bug.

Aug 21, 2014 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Happy Valley: Season 1

  • Jul 29, 2019
    i love this it is amazing smartly written everything connects the intensity increases it is hard to watch in all the right ways
  • Feb 14, 2019
    Sarah Lancashire's performance was just crazy good. Never took a false step in the fast, fluid and intense twists and turns. Great series.
  • Oct 23, 2018
    one of the best shows I've seen. draws you immediately; truly captivating.
  • Oct 08, 2018
    Happy Valley is anything but cheerful. This fantastic crime drama, TV series stars Sarah Lancashire is now available on Netflix Streaming. The Brits may have once terrorized us Americans with their monarchy, but, hands down excel in gripping, crime drama television. After the initial giggle over Cawood's sergeant hat (played by Lancashire), one will quickly realize that Lancashire is a tough as nails law enforcer who is mourning after her daughter's suicide. Nonetheless, there is a kidnapper on the loose! For those of you who wonder if a series can be gruesome enough with its lead headed up by a British female, this series may convince you. Having said that, so much of the action happens off screen but it's the follow up scenes that stay with you and add to this suspenseful show. Deep into the series Lancashire is brutalized and much of it isn't seen; however, the scenes after that show Cawood's eye clearly bloodied up. I can still see it. Yes, it's worth the couch time.
  • Sep 18, 2018
    Sarah Lancashire is the bomb. So wonderful to see a strong women detective as the star of a suspenseful, edgy series.
  • Jul 13, 2018
    SPOILER SPOILER: what ruined a compelling and fairly complex story for me is the lazily written final episode in which Sgt, Cawood gives permission to her grandson to come home alone from school. Is this likely, given what she knows about the brutal Tommy, and in particular given that he has met the child and knows himself to be the father. Surely this could have been written better. Frankly, it infuriated me.
  • Jun 23, 2018
    Great writing and grat cast.
  • Apr 13, 2018
    Happy Valley is a gritty, realistic BBC police procedural worth the time. No clever detective work, no brilliant deductions, just working-class Yorkshire people, well portrayed. It starts slowly, but will grab you. Sarah Lancashire is great as the middle-aged police sergeant lead with an ax to grind -- and with good reason.
  • Jul 23, 2017
    Loved this series. A little hard to follow with the agents if you are not familiar with them.
  • Nov 30, 2016
    Simply fabulous, and an excellent source of good brit slang, e.g., "scrote."

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