Happy Valley 2014, 2016 / This BBC thriller series takes everything that's great about small-town police thrillers and takes it to the next level

9.0

While the BBC is famous for making some great understated drama series about the dark side of detective work (Luther, Line of Duty, Broadchurch), it has raised the bar with Happy Valley. It’s so good, it successfully breathes new life into the middle-aged but strong-willed small-town police officer trope, taking it to some uncomfortable and difficult places with exceptional writing.

Said small-town police officer is Catherine Cawood from West Yorkshire, impressively portrayed by Sarah Lancashire. Cawood has a hard time coming to terms with the release of a man from prison, who she is connected to in a fateful way and whose comeback coincides with a kidnapping attempt by a local drug kingpin. These events reveal the criminal underbelly of a seemingly quaint small town. Hidden behind its ironic title, Happy Valley will keep you on your toes with understated suspense, dry humor, and a quietly devastating storyline.

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