Loved Happy Valley? Here Are 10 Similar Shows You Will Also Enjoy

Happy Valley’ is a British crime drama series that revolves around Catherine Cawood, a police sergeant in West Yorkshire. On top of leading an entire team of police officers, Catherine also has to contend with her role as a single mother of two, as well as her grandson, who was given birth by her eldest daughter, who took her own life. Created and written by Sally Wainwright, it chronicles the antagonistic relationship she has with a criminal, Tommy Lee Royce.

The series is driven by compelling performances by talents like Sarah Lancashire, Siobhan Finneran, Charlie Murphy, James Norton, George Costigan, and others. Over three seasons since its premiere in 2014, it garnered massive critical acclaim and even went on to win multiple BAFTA awards. If this is the kind of show you enjoy watching, then here is a list of recommendations that we believe you would like.

10. Detective Inspector Irene Huss (2007-2011)

‘Detective Inspector Irene Huss’ is a Swedish crime drama that centers around Irene Huss (Angela Kovacs), a detective working on high-stakes murder investigations while trying desperately to maintain a normal family life at the same time. The series deals with themes such as suicides, social isolation, racism, and fascism through the cases that fall in Huss’s lap. Based on the ‘Irene Huss Investigation’ book series written by Helene Tursten, the show is similar to ‘Happy Valley’ in the way that both Irene and Catherine try not to let their work bleed into their already strained private lives.

9. Motive (2013-2016)

‘Motive,’ created by Daniel Cerone, follows Detective Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman) as she tries to piece together the motive behind a crime in order to catch the killer. But while the police conduct their own investigation on screen, the viewers are also shown bits and pieces as the outside observers that send them on their own investigation into how and why the killer did what they did. The show, much like ‘Happy Valley,’ reveals who the criminal is to the audience beforehand, and the suspense is created by the uncertainty of the police’s investigation.

8. The Responder (2022-)

Chris Carson (Martin Freeman) is an urgent response officer working the night shift in Liverpool. On top of everything else, Carson is under investigation on corruption charges for which he has been demoted, but the intentions of the investigative officer assigned to him aren’t all that pure either. His only source of reprieve in an intense and chaotic job is a drug addict whom he’s trying to help. The series, created by Tony Schumacher, showcases the way police officers’ mental health is affected by their high-pressure jobs and how it leaks into their personal lives as well, similar to ‘Happy Valley.’

7. Four Lives (2022)

Based on the true story of the killing of four gay men in East London, ‘Four Lives’ revolves around the victims’ families and their quest for justice against their killer, as well as the botched police investigation that let him roam free. The series showcases how, despite the killer calling the police to report the first victim and having been linked to as being near the other victims, the police focused on the kind of character these four young men had. After the police’s incompetent way of handling the case was clear to the victim’s families, they took it upon themselves to collect evidence and put the killer behind bars. Created by Neil McKay, the mini-series echoes ‘Happy Valley’ in the way that the police chase down the wrong leads while the serial killer hides in plain sight.

6. Sherwood (2022-)

Created by James Graham, ‘Sherwood’ takes inspiration from real-life events to explore two cases of murder in a small mining village. Leading the investigation are DCI Ian St Clair (David Morrissey) and DI Kevin Salisbury (Robert Glenister). ‘Sherwood’ is based in Nottinghamshire and is loosely based on the murder of trade unionist Keith Frogson in 2004 in the same place. The story also looks into how the miner’s strike in the 80s divided the community long before the murder took place. The series is similar to ‘Happy Valley’ in its small-town setting, as well as in the way crime is explored by a police officer who is part of the community and knows the people well.

5. Unforgiven (2009)

‘Unforgiven’ follows Ruth Slater (Suranne Jones), a woman who was convicted of killing two police officers as a teenager and has just been released from prison. Wracked with guilt over her actions, Ruth searches for her little sister, who was adopted shortly after her incarceration. But unbeknownst to Ruth, the children of the police officers she killed are hunting her for revenge. This Yorkshire-based drama series has similar themes of family and revenge to ‘Happy Valley,’ albeit with a different tone, as it is written and produced by Sally Wainwright as well.

4. The Fall (2013-2016)

‘The Fall’ revolves around Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) as she hunts down a serial killer whose victims seem to be limited to young women. Newly assigned to the local police force from London, Stella is faced with all sorts of challenges, not the least of which is the attitude of her colleagues about the sexually motivated serial killings as they have no experience with similar crimes. But she pushes through it all with the singular purpose of catching the killer. The antagonist in ‘The Fall,’ created by Allan Cubitt, only targets women, much like Royce in ‘Happy Valley.’

3. Vera (2011-)

Created by Ann Cleeves, ‘Vera’ follows the titular character (Brenda Blethyn), a detective chief inspector who is close to retirement but does not want to give up on either her work or her colleagues. Although easily angered by the inane mistakes that her subordinates make at times, Vera shines through and proves her value again and again by picking up on these and ensuring that the case is not pulled towards a false lead. Much the same as Catherine in ‘Happy Valley,’ Vera is advanced in age, something that is very unlikely in most crime-related television and film productions.

2. The Killing (2007-2012)

‘The Killing’ is a Danish police procedural series that centers around Inspector Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl), who is sucked into an investigation into the gruesome death of a young girl. Unlike many other police procedurals, ‘The Killing’ does not simply focus on the police and their investigation — it also spends an ample amount of time exploring the stories behind the victim’s family, and the political scenario surrounding each murder. Much like ‘Happy Valley,’ this Søren Sveistrup creation sees the police follow a single, overarching case over a single season and not a different incident every episode.

1. Broadchurch (2013-2017)

A small seaside town awakens to the discovery of the dead body of a young boy, seemingly murdered. Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) is put in charge of solving the case as Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) follows close behind. But unknown to Hardy, the small town keeps some big secrets close to its chest – secrets that risk revealing should the case be solved.

The show, created by Chris Chibnall, is set in a small town in which everybody is seeming involved one way or the other, much like the involvement of seemingly innocent residents of West Yorkshire in criminal activities in ‘Happy Valley.’

Read More: Is Happy Valley a True Story?