After settling in back home, I've caught up with the final two episodes of Sally Wainwright's Happy Valley. Suffice to say that they lived up to the quality of the first four instalments. If there is a better crime series on television this year, I'll be surprised and impressed. I was gripped from start to finish.
A word about the acting. Sarah Lancashire was brilliant as the appealing yet damaged police sergeant, and is sure to win plenty of awards for demonstrating a remarkable range of very believable emotions. The supporting cast was also excellent. James Norton played a chilling and psychopathic villain, yet he managed to endow Tommy Lee Royce with one or two redeeming qualities. He was such a plausible loser,you would never guess that Norton is a product of Ampleforth and Cambridge. His shifting relationship with scheming villain Ashley (Joe Armstrong) was superbly done. Those two men really can act to a very high standard.
And now for the writing. Sally Wainwright delivered an outstanding script that drew on some of the better elements of soap opera dramatics, without compromising on originality, and created credible characters with whom it was all too easy to empathise, even in some cases (Kevin the accountant springs to mind) where the empathy was barely deserved. There were several lines that were genuinely memorable, a few that were brilliantly witty, and a number of scenes that were poignant without being contrived. You could never be sure what was going to happen next. It was even more striking than Broadchurch, my favourite cop drama of 2013.
A few plot strands, especially about police corruption, were left unresolved, a whopping clue to the fact that a follow-up series is likely. Will it be as good as this one? I have no idea, but if it is, it will be unmissable.