“HAPPY VALLEY” & BBC

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This BBC series stars Sarah Lancashire as a Yorkshire police sergeant, Catherine Cawood. The combination of brilliant script writing and seasoned actors combine to make a layered performance including: Yorkshire politics, family conflict, raising an angry grandchild, a sister who’s a recovering addict, and the lingering grief over the loss of a child. The subplot involves an abduction. The “bad guys” aren’t just psychotic killers, but your next door neighbor under pressure, a middle-class businessman distributing drugs, and an ex-con.

Sally Wainwright, the writer and creator, of this series portrays the story like an expert crime novelist. The characters drive the action and every line of dialogue makes sense, cause and effect.

If you read your story out loud and the transitions from one scene to another bring to mind “and then” rewrite, author Jessica Lourey told a packed Sister-in-Crime (SinC) writing workshop last weekend at the Decatur Public Library. What you want is a “therefore or but” to ring through and connect the scenes.

If you want to watch a gritty, heartwarming, trying-to-do-the-right-thing police officer,  do her job without a duty weapon, this crime drama is for you. Sergeant Catherine Cawood is over fifty, nobel, and flawed. She makes many mistakes, but she regains her footing and gets on with it.

By my standards, she is a shero.

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