Happy Valley - Netflix
Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) is a strong-willed police sergeant in the Yorkshire valleys, still coming to terms with her daughter's suicide. Just as she seems to be getting back on top of her life, she spots Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), the man she believes is responsible for the brutal rape that drove her daughter to suicide, standing on a street in her town. She soon becomes obsessed with finding Royce, unaware that he is involved in the kidnapping of Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy), a plot instigated by Kevin Weatherill (Steve Pemberton) and orchestrated by Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong). Things quickly take a dark turn as the abductors scramble to keep the kidnapping secret, although Catherine is on to them. (Source: Wikipedia)
Why I'm watching:
I actually binge watched this a few months ago. I love British television. I think, with a few rare exceptions, that they get it right when it comes to authentic characters and story telling. This BBC/Netflix collaboration is no exception. I don't think Happy Valley would never be made this way on American television. We tend to *Hollywood* everything up with young, beautiful actors and the violence/sex is either glamorized or used as plot device to give the hero something to do.
The main character here is a flawed 40-ish grandmother and police Sargent. The subject matters are dark and intense but never fetishizes the violence or veers into torture porn. There’s a solid, layered story and everyone has depth and complexity. No-one is a mere villain or victim. Women in particular are developed exceptionally well in this series.
It’s good stuff if you can handle darker fare. It's a bit like Fargo. It follows working class town with secrets and slightly fumbling (yet still very dangerous) villains that allow for some dark humor. But this is no comedy.
There are 6 episodes total and this particular case is closed by the end, while still leaving room for the series to continue and it was renewed for a second season.
*Watch it on Netflix.