Happy Valley: Season One Guide

By Kitin Miranda | 2 years ago
Happy Valley: Season One Guide

“Happy Valley” Season 1 aired on BBC One from April 29, 2014 to June 3, 2014. It was released on Netflix for the American and Canadian public on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, and was renewed recently for a second season which will premiere in 2015. The first season followed Yorkshire Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), as she struggles to do her job, recovers from the death of her daughter and raises a young grandson in an area where drugs, smuggling, murder and kidnapping are rampant. Read on to learn more about Season 1.

The series opened with Police Sergeant Catherine Cawood and Kirsten McAskill (Sophie Bundle), as they tried to calm down a man who was threatening to set himself on fire.  It is revealed that Catherine is forty-seven years old, divorced, with one of her two children dead and that she has a young grandson that she is raising by herself. Her sister, Clare (Siobhan Finneran), also lives with her and is a recovering heroin addict. Later on, it was revealed that her ex-husband, Richard (Derek Riddell), a journalist might be losing his job and that her daughter, Becky, had committed suicide, after giving birth to a son, Ryan (Rhys Connah). The Cawoods believed that Becky committed suicide as she had been raped by a criminal named Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), who was just recently released from prison after serving a term of eight years for drugs. It was also revealed that Ryan was always involved in school trouble, especially as he has dyslexia. As Catherine felt sorry for Richard for losing his job, they both decided to see each other again secretly.


Meanwhile, accountant Kevin Weatherhill (Steve Pemberton) asked his employer, Nevison Gallagher (George Costigan), for a raise so that he could send his eldest daughter to a better school. However, Nevison, after thinking about it for some time, refused. Kevin was furious at this as Nevison and his father were old friends and partners who had started the company that Nevison runs a long time ago. However, Steve’s father left the company for a while; and when he returned, he was not welcomed back as a partner but as a mere employee.

The Weatherhill family then decided to go on a short vacation at a farm with rented caravans. They went to this particular place as the place has game rooms and facilities that were convenient for those with disabilities that bind them to a wheelchair, as Kevin’s wife, Jenny (Julia Ford), has a sickness in which she uses cane and a wheelchair from time to time. The place was owned by their friend, Ashley Cogwill. However, when Ashley confronted Kevin regarding the payment for the rent of one of the caravans, one of his young employees, Lewis Whippey (Adam Long), accidentally allowed the soil from a bag he was carrying to spill, revealing several bricks of heroin and that Ashley was a drug dealer. Kevin told them that he did not see anything and that their secret was safe with him after being intimidated by Ashley, Lewis and Ashley’s new hire, ex-convict Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton).

After thinking about the matter some more, Kevin decided to ask Ashley’s help to kidnap Nevison’s daughter, Ann (Charlie Murphy), and demanded a high ransom in order to earn some money. Ashley agreed to help out and said that he could take care of the operation himself.

However, the next day, Nevison summoned Kevin to his office and decided to help pay for the tuition of his children. Then it was discovered that Nevison’s wife, Helen (Jill Baker), had cancer. Desperately, Kevin tried to call off the entire operation, but it was too late. Then he tried to inform the police and was greeted by Catherine. However, he decided not to spill the beans and left hurriedly.

Catherine became obsessed with finding Tommy Lee Royce after she learned that he was just released from jail. Ann, who was kidnapped, was tied up in one of the cellars of one of Ashley’s unused properties. Lewis became enraged when he learned that Tommy had raped Ann while he was keeping an eye on her. Catherine, on the hunt for Tommy, spotted him outside a Chinese restaurant right after he left during his “shift off.” However, she failed to go after him but became extremely suspicious about that particular area.

Bothered by the entire situation, Kevin confided to Jenny on what had happened. Shocked, she told him not to touch the dirty money Ashley would give him. Ahsley called Nevison, who asked for some money to be delivered by Kevin. When Kevin got there, Ashley gave him some of his share, which he stashed at the bottom of his trunk.

That night, the Cawoods attended a family dinner at Richard’s house. It was revealed that Lucy (Amelia Young), Daniel Cawood’s (Karl Davies) wife, was pregnant. However, the dinner quickly turned sour as Richard did not acknowledge his own grandson, who was sitting right in front of him. Later at home, Ryan asked Catherine if Richard was his grandfather, to which she said yes. He then asked if he could one day visit Richard and play football with him. The next morning, Catherine asked Richard if he could do so, but Richard still refused to acknowledge Ryan as his grandson. It was also revealed that one of the reasons they divorced was because Catherine took Ryan in, which Richard disagreed with. As she left Richard’s house, she saw Kevin getting out of his car. She asked him if everything was alright as he had left in a hurry the other day, but he reassured her that everything was fine. Afterwards, she got a phone call from the Chinese restaurant where she saw Tommy hanging around. She looked around the area and stumbled across the house where Ann was being kept in. Ann tried to scream and alert Catherine that she was in the cellar, but to no avail.

Tommy then called Ashley to tell him that the police had just been there. Ashley then instructed Lewis and Tommy to move Ann, which they did. Lewis drove a white van with Ann at the back, and Tommy drove her Mini Cooper. However, because Lewis was speeding and his rear taillight had gone out, Officer Kirsten McAskill stopped him on the road in order to inform him about it. Prior to that, the day beforehand, Catherine had scolded Kirsten as she allowed herself to be bullied by a councilman who she tried to arrest as he was driving under the influence of alcohol. Lewis and Kirsten got out of the car to check the rear taillight. However, as they did so, Ann grabbed Kirsten’s attention by moving around in the van and making some noise. Kirsten, who did not believe Lewis when he said that there was just a dog inside, tried to get Lewis to open it. In order to avoid that from happening, Tommy ran her over twice. She died, but not before activating her radio and alerting Catherine that something had happened. Catherine, overcome with guilt because she had scolded Kirsten the day before, started hallucinating and started seeing her dead daughter.

The entire police force, in shock at what had happened, tried to rise above the situation to continue with their daily duties. Later on, they found out that there were two cars involved in the accident — a white van and a green Mini Cooper with the exact same description as Ann’s car.


Helen, Nevison’s wife grew more and more anxious about the safety of their daughter, and wanted to involve the police. However, Nevison refused to alert the authorities as he wanted to play it safe. It turned out that Helen goes often to the Mission Cafe, where Clare works, to help out. There, she tried to confide to Clare and asked if she could stop by their house in the evening to talk.

Richard and Catherine met up at a cafe after Catherine’s work. They talked briefly about Ryan and Catherine persuaded him to write about the heroin that gets smuggled into the United Kingdom, as most of the disturbances they handled were caused by the influence of drugs. He then later took it on as a project, as per Catherine’s advice.

Nevison got another call from Ashley asking for the last payment, which would be delivered again by Kevin. His wife, Helen, tried to persuade her husband to involve the police. But because Ashley had sent him a proof of life photo of Ann and had said that the kidnappers might be swayed to release her already, he did not want the police involved.

That evening, they received a phone call from Helen, who did not show up at their house. She just said that she was overreacting and did not need  police help in the matter anymore.

Kevin visited the farm again in order to give the last installment. He and his wife had decided to split the money into different amounts and use it to buy things, as Kevin had originally wanted. Before he left, Lewis confronted Kevin as Lewis believed that Kevin had something to do with why Ann had to be moved from the abandoned house. He then revealed that it was them that had killed Kirsten and blamed Kevin for it. Due to this revelation, Kevin decided to inform Nevison that he did know who the perpetrators were, except he could not find the courage to do so.

The next day, Catherine wen to the abandoned house which she had visited the day before. She broke in and found traces of blood and duct tape on the floor, indicating that someone had been held there against their will. She then had a team to analyze the area.

She was able to trace down the address of the property to Ashley Cogwill and his wife, Julie Mulligan, who owned a salon. She visited Julie at her salon in order to ask her if they had rented out the property to anyone, and Julie said that they hadn’t. As Catherine was on her way to visit Ashley, Julie informed her husband that a policewoman was coming to ask him some questions. He instructed Lewis and Tommy to stay in the caravan where Ann was in order to make sure that she would be quiet. However, to Lewis’ surprise, Tommy had given Ann some heroin in order to sedate her. Catherine questioned Ashley, specifically asking if he had hired any newly released convicts such as Tommy Lee Royce. However, he denied everything.  The trio realized that keeping Ann alive would be dangerous as she had seen who they were, especially as Lewis had slipped up and mentioned Ashley’s name and the farm.

Catherine then decided to pay Tommy Lee Royce’s mother a visit and gave her her card, saying she would like to speak to Tommy. The mother, recognizing the surname Cawood, revealed that she had heard that Catherine’s grandson Ryan was Tommy’s son. However, Catherine told her to remember that Ryan has nothing to do with Tommy.

Back at the farm, the Tommy convinced Ashley that the best solution regarding Ann was to kill her because she knew too much. Since Lewis and Ashley are inexperienced in killing, they agreed to let Tommy kill her and gave him five grand and a van.  Ashley then told Lewis and Tommy that they needed to disappear afterwards.

Catherine was able to catch Helen at the Mission Cafe and asked if her husband was hurting her. She reassured Catherine that Nevison would never hurt her. Later on, she admitted that her daughter had been kidnapped and had been missing for four days already.

Catherine then asked Detective Phil Crabtree (Alan McKenna) to come aboard the case as it is more in his area of expertise. During the questioning, they realized, based on how the kidnappers referred to Kevin, that the kidnappers and Kevin knew each other. However, both Catherine and Phil were know fearing for the worst.

Tommy visited his mother, asking if he could borrow her cellar for a dog that he had to take care of and keep muzzled. His mother agreed after he had paid her some money to buy her silence. She also mentioned that Catherine had visited her. She also revealed that Becky Cawood had died and that she had left behind a son named Ryan.

While this was happening, Richard stopped by and decided to bond with his grandson by playing football with him.

The next day, Tommy followed Ryan and Catherine as they went home from school. He told Ryan that he was his father, and told Catherine that Becky and he were together. However, Catherine refused to believe this and pushed him away. Shaken, she informed Clare of what had happened. Based on the description of the scene in the cellar, Clare deduced that it seemed like somebody had been kidnapped and raped there and feared that it might have been Ann. Catherine decided then to fast track the results of what their team found in the cellar.

Kevin decided to inform Nevison that he knew who the kidnappers were so that he wouldn’t be blamed entirely for the whole thing. Phil and another detective came into the office and started questioning Kevin, asking him specifically for his plate number and where he passed and went when he dropped off the money. After double checking traffic cameras, they found out that Kevin never passed the roads he had mentioned, and he had never been anywhere near the drop off points. He was then arrested and taken away.

Catherine decided to pay Tommy’s mother a visit again to tell Tommy never to come near her or Ryan ever again. However, after Tommy’s mother mentioned that he had a dog and couldn’t enter her own cellar, Catherine decided to investigate. Inside the cellar, she found Ann, tied and bound up. As she was freeing her, Tommy came home and a fight ensued between the three of them. He managed to knock Catherine around a lot, causing her to lose a lot of blood. However, Ann was able to hit him with a set of weights nearby, and Catherine was able to spray him with pepper spray. She managed to get Ann into the police car and tried to radio for an ambulance  before she collapsed on the street. Ann, who noticed the noisy walkie talkie in the car, also used it to call for help. However, when the police got there, there was no sign of Tommy.

Tommy, who hid nearby, asked Ashley if he could help him, but he refused. He then appealed to Lewis, who was hiding in his friend’s apartment. Lewis, although they had disagreed a lot in the past, decided to help him.

Catherine was escorted to the hospital and remained in surgery for five whole hours, in which her spleen was taken out. Finally, after the surgery,Clare and Daniel, Catherine’s son, were informed that she would be alright. While she was at the hospital, Richard stepped in and did his duty as Ryan’s grandfather by taking him in while Catherine was still recovering.

The detective, Phil, informed Catherine, much to her disappointment, that Tommy was still in the wind. Ann visited her in the hospital and asked Catherine if she could be the one to tell her father that she was raped by Tommy. As her mother did not have much long to live, it was unlikely that Helen would be alive in time for an eventual court case, and she wanted her mother to die without knowing about it.

Several weeks later, they learned that Ashley had cut a deal that would land him and his family in Witness Protection as he could supply some names high up in the smuggling operation that allowed heroin to be smuggled in England. Kevin did not fare so well behind bars and ended up in the hospital as his cell mates ganged up on him. Tommy and Lewis were still in the wind, although officers have been telling Catherine that they have been doing their best to apprehend them.

Meanwhile, some officers conducting a door-to-door search knocked on the apartment where Lewis and Tommy were hiding. However, thanks to Lewis’ roommate and friend, they were able to escape detection.

Catherine, who finally picked up Ryan from school after several weeks of not being there for him, let out all her frustration at him and Clare, after she learned that he was in trouble in school again. Not only was she upset and depressed, but she also blamed herself for Kirsten’s death and was even more upset as she was not able to attend Kirsten’s funeral. She was mad at Clare because, in an attempt to cheer her up, especially with her birthday coming around, she was trying to get her to celebrate it. Later on, after she cooled down a little bit, she agreed to have a small celebration for her birthday.

At the apartment where Lewis and Tommy were hiding, Lewis’ roommate came home to find Lewis in a pool of blood, as he and Tommy had fought during the night. Lewis, fed up with Tommy, had tried to kill him and succeeded in stabbing him in the stomach. When Lewis’ roommate went to check on him, he discovered that Tommy had killed him. Moment later, Tommy suffocated Lewis’ roommate and left the apartment, taking on a disguise in order to follow Ryan and Catherine to be close to his son.

Ashely, on his way home from a site that he was developing, ended up being killed by a gunman on a motorcycle during some traffic on the road.

Catherine’s birthday celebration happened that night, and it turned sour when Daniel, who had too much wine to drink, revealed that he was upset that Richard and Catherine were sleeping together again and that Richard was acknowledging Ryan’s existence. He revealed that he was jealous of all the attention they had given to Becky, thinking that she was an angel, when she was not. He also said that Becky did hang around with scoundrels and pillheads and that she really loved Tommy. He also revealed that he hadn’t forgiven Catherine, who, in a moment of grief over Becky’s death, had wondered why Daniel hadn’t died instead of Becky. Afterwards, Catherine blamed Clare for all the unpleasantness that happened during the party.

Tommy, in the meantime, was able to obtain a disguise, watch Ryan from a distance and found a place to stay in an abandoned boat near the Hebden Bridge. He managed to talk to Ryan on his way home from school, as he was not being brought by Catherine or Helen. Ryan was allowed to bring a bike to school and back home. The father and son managed to bond a little bit as Tommy let Ryan into the boat he was staying in and told him not to believe the bad things that were being said about him. Tommy also told Ryan to keep their visits a secret and warned him not to tell anyone. However, the next day, Ryan brought a friend with him, as his friend did not believe that he had a father.

Catherine returned to work, and was disappointed as the district commissioner did not seem to take her suggestions on how to find Tommy seriously and that he and the detective inspector had told her to look the other way and not to continue investigating on the councilman they had found in possession of heroin. In frustration, she turned in her badge.

On her way home, Clare called to tell her that Ryan was late and had not come home yet. Clare had also found out from Ryan’s friend’s mother that they had been visiting Ryan’s father who had a boat under the Hebden Bridge. Catherine immediately leaped into action and requested for backup.

Tommy, who had promised Ryan that they would go on a journey once he had petrol for the boat, informed Ryan that they would be going on a different kind of journey. Ryan got frightened and tried to escape but was pulled back by his father, who doused himself and Ryan with petrol. Ryan screamed, alerting Catherine where they were.

After a brief struggle, Catherine managed to knock out the lighter from his hand and overpowered him.  He begged Catherine to let him die, but Catherine refused and doused him with the fire extinguisher.

Later on, she and Daniel reconciled as she apologized for not treating him well after Becky’s death.

In the end, she was able to reconcile with her ex-husband, son, sister and grandson. Moreover, she finally came to terms with Becky’s death. She also managed to track down Tommy Lee Royce and, in having Ashely arrested, was able to bring into light the problem the United Kingdom was having with smuggled heroin.

At the end of the series, Catherine stood overlooking the Hebden Bridge with a smile on her face.

“Happy Valley” was written and created by Sally Wainwright.

And that’s it for the “Happy Valley” Season 1 guide. For more news and updates on “Happy Valley” and other television shows, keep on following Movie News Guide (MNG).

Watch out for “Happy Valley” Season 2.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/dalekhelen