Happy Valley S3:E01 A Very Experienced Sergeant Recap

Well HELLO. It’s been a minute since I’ve written a thing but also since Sarah Lancashire has been back on our screens as Sgt. Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley: who’s excited?? ME TOO! I love Sarah Lancashire in pretty much anything (she’s a genius) but this series has my heart because it was the beginning for me. Without further ado, let’s roll into my recap of Happy Valley S3:E01 A Very Experienced Sergeant; the first episode of the last season of Sally Wainwright’s Happy Valley.

We open on a dismal stretch of road, a small police car the only splash of colour against unrelenting grey mist when a phone rings in a…sci-fi theme? Hahaha. It’s for Sgt. Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire!), looks like one of her junior officers is in a bit of a pickle. You know how she told them not to park right next to the flats? Well.

It’s young PS Shafiq Shah (Shane Zaza) calling and somehow the fact that there is a microwave crashed through his police windshield is a surprise to nobody but me.

After a lovely and genteel conversation with Dispatcher Readyough we leave this and go with Catherine to a scene where bones have been found, it’s a reservoir being drained.

Why are there so many cars??

Oh. It’s not just bones, a sheep or an alien life form as discussed, it’s a person with…screws in their jaw? Covered in a muddy rope still showing bright blue.

Catherine surveys the area on suddenly full alert.

(With the mention of a sheep and a cold case file, I can be forgiven for thinking of Unforgotten, can’t I?)

Is that a VLT??

There is a barrel filled with concrete and an empty space.

DSU Andy Shepherd (Vincent Franklin) is called to scene with an unidentified colleague, both rolling their eyes and smirking at Catherine’s assertions of time of death and identifying information about the corpse. Shepherd even makes comments about Catherine’s impending retirement, looks like we’ve got an old hoss about to be put to pasture as she’s in her dotage, amirite?

When she gives chapter and verse as to exactly who the dead person is based on positive identification of all that painful looking dental work, her in depth knowledge of the criminal scene and rumours in the Valley and her own arrest of same several years ago: all they can do is stare after her.

It’s so good to see her again!

We cut to Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) looking much less pretty than usual with a large, infected looking grouping of stitches across his forehead. He slicks back greasy ginger hair into a low pony and waits as we hear the jangling of keys announcing the arrival of a guard.

He has visitors.

It’s not his son and Catherine’s grandson Ryan Cawood (Rhys Connah) but rather police there to arrest him for our cold case murder. He’s brought to the court house in handcuffs to be processed and interviewed.

In interview his hair is down in loose waves, Tommy is Jesus with his cross stitched poorly across his forehead. He remembers nothing of the dead Gary Gacowski and denies any involvement in his murder. Nazeem (Saba Amini), incarcerated with Tommy, tells a different story. It will be tough to ignore the specific details that only someone at the murder could have known.

Tommy’s solicitor has more bad news, Tommy apparently confessed some of this to the prison chaplain and I shouldn’t be shocked that a man of the cloth ratted Tommy out but here we are. He even said it three months before the body was discovered.

Tommy has no comment to that either. Nor his wearing of a St. Christopher medal in 2014 that Tommy doesn’t remember but something similar showed up at the crime scene.

His affect completely changes when he sees the medal itself, there’s something there…

More important than spooky St. Christopher’s medals is a ballistic report tying the 9mm Glock used to shoot Gary with the gun that killed Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong).

Oh that brings up my own feelings, remember that horrible first season when poor Nevison Gallagher (George Costigan) was betrayed in the worst way by his (he thought) loyal colleague and kidnapper Kevin Wetherill (Steve Pemberton) in collusion with naive Ashley Cowgill and hapless Lewis Whippey (Adam Long), two of whom were murdered by Tommy?

This situation is more sticky than Tommy being Tommy, Shepherd tries his best to sell this murder AND Ashley’s as part of the criminal past of Bradford city council member Darius Knezevic and his brother but DA (whatever the UK equivalent is, sorry!) who looks a whole lot like one of the singers of O’Hooey and Tidow, is skeptical.

While I am a big fan of taking down corruption in government, I am one hundred percent certain I saw Tommy Lee Royce murder Ashley all on his lonesome without even one sneezy-sounding henchman, let alone one with murdering people in a team with his brother.

Tommy Lee Royce makes a statement! He was present during the murder but only thought it was a warning and besides, he was just doing his job.

DC Stead (Jason Merrells) asks Tommy who did the murder; he and Shepherd wait with bated breath as Tommy draws out the moment as long as possible before identifying the shooter as…Chris Oxley. Otherwise known as NOT Darius Sneezypants.

Only Tommy is happy with that answer, he’s sent back to prison with a smile on his face and we cut to six months later.

Young Ryan Cawood is no longer so young, he’s a strapping teenager with his grandmother’s mouth, shouting at soccer teammates to ‘tackle him, you twats!’

Ryan lets in a goal and earns a talk from his coach Rob Hepworth (Mark Stanley) while Catherine and his aunt Clare Cartwright (Siobhan Finneran) laugh up their sleeves with Clare’s boyfriend Neil Ackroyd (Con O’Neill) at all the goals flying into that net. Until Catherine listens more intently to Ryan’s shouting at his coach, she’s always been worried that Ryan would turn out like his dad…


Imagine growing up with your grandma, who was estranged from your mum so has a skewed perspective on who she was when she died, who you didn’t know regardless, and every time you put a foot wrong your grandmother is ready to slap on handcuffs! I ask you.

Catherine notes the altercation between coach and grandson, asking about it after but Ryan doesn’t rat out Hepworth for calling him a ‘shitstain’), I wonder why. Perhaps that same kind of weird loyalty Tommy has.

Or he wants to get his own back later, it’s certainly possible. We hear all sorts about Hepworth’s romantic persuasions, perhaps he’s a Betty Both-Ways! Perhaps I am as well!

They return home for a meal with half of the Valley, including our Nev! Is PC Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy) there as well?? Oh. Well. We’ve got…Catherine’s ex-husband Richard (Derek Riddell) there for Ryan’s birthday party, ah, okay that makes sense then. Also making sense: Richard not bringing his new-ish wife Ros, ten bucks says he and Catherine are still at it.

It’s very emotional, seeing everyone together like this! Neil is a right part of the family, high-fiving here over video games with Ryan.

Catherine’s son Daniel Cawood (Karl Davies) is there with his wife, interesting!



Is Ann married to Daniel?? IS THAT ANN? NO! Did this come up before?? I swear. I thought Daniel was married to someone else and I am so CONFUSED. That looks like Ann! Am I going mad??

Someone asks about the vehicle out front, is that Catherine’s? Yes, she’s going to drive to the Himalayas upon retirement, in a giant green Range Rover.

She and Clare have a cigarette in their spot outside, now with an umbrella! Staring at the large ungainly workhorse of a machine, Catherine isn’t the least worried about retirement and not having anything to do.

Amen, sister. Testify!

Clare supports her sister as always.

Suggesting pilates, zumba, maybe yoga but the farts, see. Polar ice cap melting, they proper are.

It’s not all farts and giggles; Clare tells Catherine what Hepworth said to Ryan and Catherine is very much not happy.

I shall miss our sisters after this series.

Wow, okay, our Hepworth is not just a coach having a bad day, there are some serious cracks in this man. There are rumours flying that he’s been sleeping with a teacher named Mrs. Oates, when Ryan and a friend joke about it while leaving school Hepworth completely forgets that he’s:

A) a teacher

B) on school grounds

C) trying to run over anyone ever is 100% illegal

What an interesting face on our man on the edge.

He gets a call about his wife; is she perhaps drinking and not taking care of their children? He rushes home, his wife Joanna (Mollie Winnard) hearing the car and rushing to get out of bed and curtains open and the drugs hidden before he makes it upstairs past his children.

He is violent and angry, treating her more like a poorly behaving child than a partner but it’s much much worse than that.

I think he was going to rape her but instead choked her, scared her and in the end called the police. He goes to the kitchen to call, where we see that everything is locked up and only he has the keys. The fridge, the cupboards, all locked by him and only unlockable by him and he’s a full on abuser.

Guess who takes the police call? NO, GUESS??!

Maybe Sgt. Catherine Cawood, someone with the beginning of understanding that there is something not quite right about Ryan’s football coach.

Hepworth does not recognize Catherine, even though she’s been to every one of Ryan’s matches. He’s too busy complaining about how long it took the police to get there to punish his erring wife

Catherine explains that what he called about wasn’t really an emergency, was it? But he’s got a very experienced sergeant here to help, let’s find out what’s going on.

Our experienced sergeant notices the bruises all over Joanna first, then the padlocked fridge and food cupboards.

Let’s just say Catherine does a lot more listening with her eyes than her ears.

Hepworth answers every question Catherine gently lobs at Joanna; Catherine has no choice but to arrest Joanna based on what is said. She thought she might get something out of Joanna alone in the car but not until she asks about the bruises, later.

Catherine explains all this to Clare, telling Joanna about coercive control and how Clare runs a group for recovery. Clare says her group gets more of Joanna’s types these days, those dealing with prescription drugs, rather than heroin as she struggled with.

Joanna wouldn’t give up the name of who gave her the diazepam, so Catherine couldn’t let her off with a caution. Down the block we hear the Bhatti family discussing the police intervention, patriarch Faisal Bhatti (Amit Shah) with more interest and mounting horror than seems necessary for neighbourhood gossip. I’m guessing he is

A) connected to Joanna

B) connected to the drugs

C) all of the above

I wish for at least one of those things for her, that she has someone kind and not hurtful in her life. I take that back, he is the one giving her the drugs and they are having an affair but you can’t call someone giving you illegal drugs just randomly not hurtful. I think the police having his drugs has put a cold shower on his libido as I imagine impending arrest does.

He drives in to work at the pharmacy to provide some drugs to one of his dealers, he’s quite the mild mannered kingpin, isn’t he?

Back to the day to day at the station, Joyce (Ishia Bennison) is trying for Catherine’s buy-in for her retirement ‘do, but Catherine is fighting it. Joyce insists, Catherine is quite popular in some circles!

None that matter, love.

We leave this highly entertaining conversation (one of the best parts of Happy Valley is Sally Wainwright’s ability to slide these gems in among the muck) to sit with Inspector Mike Taylor (Rick Warden) who asks Catherine about Samantha Greenwood, who’s been talking about Ryan visiting his DAD. What?

But Samantha Greenwood is not wrong, somehow Ryan got to see his dad with a man and a woman, who could.


Not Clare and Neil. Please don’t be Clare and Neil, Catherine would never forgive that but it’s just the sort of thing Clare would do.

Catherine tosses Ryan’s room and finds nothing, Catherine tells Richard. She’s driving herself nuts trying to figure out who the couple could be.She doesn’t want to just ask Ryan, because she doesn’t want to put ideas in his head if they’re not there already.

She asks after Ros, Richard not-quite-regretfully says Ros has been sleeping in the spare room. Catherine casually mentions that Nev has asked her out on a date, Richard’s response tells us he and Catherine are definitely at least WANTING to be sleeping together.

That would just be too weird if Daniel and Ann were married and then Nev and Catherine, I mean. I wish I knew for sure about Daniel and Ann, someone help a sister out!

So remember when our Nev and eventually our Kevin were held up by the criminal element by virtue of being in completely over their heads? This is how we end this first episode of series 1 of Happy Valley with Faisal Bhatti fully comprehending that he has no understanding of the kind of mess dealing drugs brings into his life. He’s threatened in his office by a young thug who will be taking all the money he makes from selling and throws in a threat about Faisal’s daughters for good measure.

Okay, almost end it, really we leave on a cliffhanger of Mike Taylor coming to Catherine with news from the prison that she’s not going to like.

It absolutely has to be Clare and Neil, doesn’t it? Clare said earlier that she never knew when to tell Catherine things or not and we’ve seen how thick as thieves Neil and Ryan are. Hm.

I am loving seeing Sgt. Catherine Cawood back on my small screen to end off this series, I love Sarah Lancashire in this role and I love that they made the choice to properly end it without leaving us hanging.

I understand that it’s important to show some things so that we can fully grasp the extent of someone’s good or bad character, but if I can go the rest of my life without seeing a woman being violently assaulted by a man, sexually or otherwise, I will be content with that.

Until next time everyone! Cheers and thank you for reading along.