CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Sergeant Sarah is back…now watch the lowlife tremble!
Happy Valley (BBC One and iPlayer)
Tell Vera not to worry about it. Ted Hastings can stay at home too. Telly’s most capable cop is back – and she’s in no mood for nonsense.
If Sergeant Catherine Cawood ran the police force, all major crimes would be solved by lunchtime, and afternoons would be free to clip the ears of the local yobbos.
Almost seven years after the end of the previous series Happy Valley (BBC1), the grandmother played by Sarah Lancashire is still holding back the tide of drugs and violence in her West Yorkshire town.
She talks about retirement. She even bought a Land Rover for a celebratory trek in the Himalayas. But she doesn’t count Tommy Lee Royce, the rapist and murderer who tried to destroy her family.
No nonsense: Sarah Lancashire as Sergeant Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley
James Norton is a formidable menace as Royce, sitting in his prison cell with a roughly stitched scar across his forehead, staring into space with psychotic calm. Long-haired and smiling, he looks like Satan dressed up as Jesus for a costume party.
Even if you don’t remember the convoluted complexities of the previous series — and the two-minute precision with which this episode opened didn’t help much — it’s clear to everyone that Royce is the embodiment of evil.
Sergeant Cawood must face him alone. Her bosses are wetter than a weekend in Huddersfield, and her family is a bunch of walking liabilities.
Clare, her sister (Siobhan Finneran), is a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict – sticking together these days but not being of much use in a crisis.
And life for the Sarge is still a series of crises. Her defiant grandson Ryan (Rhys Connah) appears to be secretly obsessed with Royce, his birth father.
Meanwhile, a pair of Plastik Kray twins from Eastern Europe are taking over the local drug trade.
“James Norton (center) is superbly menacing as Royce, sitting in his prison cell with a roughly stitched scar on his forehead.”
Each Happy Valley series has highlighted the endemic threat of drug abuse on Britain’s poorest streets. This time the focus is on the black market for prescription drugs and addicts like Jo (Mollie Winnard) – a tormented young mother married to controlling, tyrannical Rob Hepworth (Mark Stanley), who is Ryan’s gym teacher.
Rob’s attack on Jo, grabbing her by the throat as he physically and verbally hit her while their young daughters huddled below, was a truly shocking and upsetting moment.
In one gripping scene, Sergeant Cawood visits the Hepworths and slowly asserts her authority over the husband without flexing her muscles. His raging bounces off her, his attempts to dominate and then ingratiate himself leave no traces.
“It is clear to everyone that Royce (left) is the embodiment of evil”
She’s seen his guy so often that after she introduces herself she hardly ever has to speak to him — overriding his attempts to do all the talking.
Equally satisfying is the opening sequence out on the moor, where the sarge is summoned when workers emptying a reservoir uncover human remains. “Nice again,” she comments, borrowing George Formby’s catchphrase.
She takes a long look at the skeletonized torso, noting the bullet hole in the skull, checking the jaw and, when the coroner arrives, casually announces that she can identify the bones: “I would recognize those teeth anywhere, I stole it once for one.” offense against public order, and he bit me.’
Writer/director Sally Wainwright’s wonderfully tight screenplay never wastes a word underlining Sergeant Cawood’s most important quality – her experience. As a grandparent, as a veteran police officer, as a pillar of her community, she brings a strength that cannot be matched by shortcuts. It lasts a lifetime.
Sergeant Cawood will never be considered for promotion. To her peers, especially the senior officers, she is a middle-aged woman who has been around forever. But that is exactly what makes them so effective – and so irreplaceable.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-11590745/CHRISTOPHER-STEVENS-Sergeant-Sarah-watch-lowlife-tremble.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Sergeant Sarah is back…now watch the lowlife tremble!