Why Sergeant Catherine Cawood Is My Surprising TV Crush

Why Sergeant Catherine Cawood Is My Surprising TV Crush

Nine years later, as we’re halfway through the third and final series, like any long-term relationship, that love has settled and deepened. And it’s a love that pretty much divides the whole country.

It’s hard, if not impossible, to speak of Catherine Cawood and Sarah Lancashire in different breaths. Because Lancashire is Catherine, she’s walking in her boots, at least for these months. Happy Valley creator Sally Wainwright wrote the role of Catherine for Lancashire after Last Tango in Halifax. The magic at work in what Lancashire then conjures up from the page, the performance has been hailed as a ‘masterclass’ each week (on one of those rare occasions when that’s not a superlative but a fact).

It’s a performance full of power and strength, but also steeped in sadness, pain, sorrow and that humor (by God, it’s funny). Even after, perhaps because of, everything she’s endured, she still retains room for vulnerability and empathy, heartbreaking for kidnapped Ann (Charlie Murphy) and for Alison (Susan Lynch) who shoots her own son. From those big dramatic set pieces to the small moments never thrown away and everything in between, not a second, not a word is wasted in Lancashire’s hands. There’s nuance, subtlety and delicacy even when she has the most brutal material on the tongue.

Take the “stew” moment in last Sunday’s episode: Wainwright’s brilliant dialogue delivered with Lancashire’s naturalness, a musicality and a rhythm that is both human and entirely her own. The Two-Handed Cafe Opening Starring Sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran): A single tear slices through her sizzling, silent rage. Decades of trauma in the flint of her eyes locked in the brace of her shoulders.

This may be the best achievement of his career, but a Lancashire has cultivated her whole life. From her beginnings in the local theater to Raquel on Coronation Street (nothing shows her comedic genius quite like she accidentally asked Ken Barlow to sleep with her in French), her time in musical theatre, Halifax, countless high profile British dramas ( Kiri, Five Daughters and now HBO’s internationally acclaimed Julia). Every performance, every character, an exercise in immersion as Lancashire sheds her own skin to wear hers.

Now, as the love continues to spread, so have the calls from adoring viewers for Oscar-worthy movie roles and worldwide stardom. But just as Catherine, now almost 60, only dreams of taking her battered new Land Rover on a solo trip to the Himalayas, you can sense that Lancashire really just wants work (and probably after this series – a break). She may have won BAFTAs and taken on film roles, but she’s always known that she loves television (long before everyone else did) and has absolutely no interest in fame and glory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *