12 top Netflix shows for Happy Valley fans

shows like happy valley

Brutal, uncompromising and tremendously well written, Happy Valley has been a huge smash hit for the BBC over its two seasons. When it’s on, Sally Wainwright’s West Yorkshire-set crime drama is the highlight of many a TV fans’ watching week and anyone who’s seen it will know exactly why. It’s a tense, taut and gripping revenge thriller unlike anything the Beeb has produced in years.

A third series is currently in the pipeline, but Happy Valley fans will have to wait until the end of 2018 to see it. That’s an awfully long time to wait for the return Sergeant Cath Cawood, we know. But all is not lost. There are plenty more TV fish in the sea. Especially in the vast Netflix UK ocean…

We went fishing for some shows we just know Happy Valley enthusiasts will love. Here’s what our catch looks like.

12 top Netflix UK shows like Happy Valley:

netflix shows like happy valley

Line of Duty

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve already seen Line of Duty. But if you’ve somehow managed to let Jed Mercurio’s adrenaline rush of a bent copper series slip through your net, you need to address that as soon as possible. There are four epic runs of this BAFTA-nominated work of genius to catch up on. You’ll soon discover that the line of duty isn’t as straight as you might think. There are twists and turns abound.

IMDb Rating: 8.5

netflix shows like happy valley

Last Tango in Halifax

There may well be a lot less violence and swearing in this romantic comedy/drama about a couple of elderly widowers finding love, but there are still shades of Happy Valley here. That’s all because they both come from the same keyboard, The two are written by Sally Wainwright. And, for good measure, Last Tango in Halifax also features the ever-brilliant Sarah Lancashire.

IMDb Rating: 8.3

Netflix shows like Happy Valley

Doctor Foster

A strong, scary but weirdly lovable female lead out for revenge. If you dig Happy Valley, you’re almost guaranteed to adore Suranne Jones in the surprise BBC hit, Doctor Foster. A second series has just aired on BBC One, but you can see the first now on Netflix. We’d recommend you dip in and see just what all the fuss was about.

IMDb Rating: 7.9

Netflix shows like Happy Valley


He’s many people’s choice to play James Bond next, but to us, Idris Elba will always be genius crime solver DCI John Luther. The plot twists come thick and fast in Luther and – admittedly – it’s not the most realistic police procedural you’ll ever see, but this wildly successful and popular BBC production is never anything other than fantastically entertaining. Even when the plot veers towards the dafter end of the dramatic spectrum.

IMDb Rating: 8.6

shows like Happy Valley


Co-created by big-time film director Danny Boyle and Peep Show writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, this razor-sharp satire follows a PR consultant as she attempts to ‘rebrand’ the Metropolitan Police. It’s part comedy, part drama, part police thriller, part political dig. Boyle made Babylon for Channel 4, casting Brit Marling as the new American hotshot ‘Director of Communications’ and James Nesbitt as the top dog Met cop. Like Happy Valley, it has some viciously off-colour humour at times.

IMDb Rating: 7.0

netflix shows like happy valley

The Widower

Another dark British drama here, but with an actor you might not expect to see in a straight role. The League of Gentleman’s Reece Shearsmith stars as Malcolm Webster, a black widow murderer type, who’s slowly poisoning his wife to death. Shearsmith is excellent, but it’s The Moorside and Cilla actress Sheridan Smith, as Webster’s long-suffering wife, who really steals the show.

IMDb Rating: 7.4

netflix shows like Happy Valley


This Finnish drama series follows National Bureau of Investigation detective Kari Sorjonen as he, like Cath Cawood, struggles to balance his police career with his turbulent home life. Rapes, assaults and murders should just thing for the big city, thinks the jaded and burnt out Sorjonen. Which explains his move to Lappeenranta, a remote town on the Finnish/Russian border. But, as you can well imagine, he’s wrong on that front. The best thing about this Scandi noir is the sweeping shots and artistic cinematography which really makes the most of its stunning setting.

IMDb Rating: 7.7

netflix shows like happy valley


Music fans will know Steve Van Zandt as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. TV crime drama fans will know him as Silvio Dante from The Sopranos. Or, perhaps, as Frankie ‘The Fixer’ Tagliano, the gangster-on-the-run he plays in Lillyhammer. Frank’s an ex-mob boss who rats out his former employees and gets put into the Witness Protection Program. In Norway. Cue a huge fish out of water scenario that’s funnier and fresher than it might seem. The first series made exclusively for Netflix, it’s amusing, but a top rate crime drama at the same time.

IMDb Rating: 8.0

netflix shows like happy valley


Originally devised as a one series programme that would deal with a team of detectives investigating a Jack the Ripper copycat, reviews and viewing figures saw to it that a further three series would follow. Spooks actor Rupert Penry-Jones stars as lead detective DI Joseph Chandler and after solving the ‘new’ Whitechapel murders, he has to deal with Jimmy and Johnny Kray, heir to Reg and Ronnie’s criminal legacy in the gripping second run.

IMDb Rating: 8.0

netflix shows like happy valley


An American student studying in London is accused of murdering her roommate after she is brutally murdered. Guilt might not be a stone-cold TV classic, but this ten episode series – with its shades of the infamous Amanda Knox case – has more than enough twists and fresh ideas to keep it from being too cliched and silly.

IMDb Rating: 6.1

netflix shows like happy valley


Morse. The classical music-loving, Jaguar-driving Oxford detective is a TV detective legend. This prequel series, set in the 1960s, follows the man’s early years as a police sleuth. The title, in case you were wondering, comes from Morse’s forename (who knew Morse’s first name wasn’t ‘Inspector’?!). Silk, Whitechapel and The Take actor Shaun Evans stars.

IMDb Rating: 8.6

netflix shows like happy valley


A ‘Netflix original programme’, Fauda is set slap bang in the middle of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict kinds of forces Fauda (Arabic for ‘chaos’) into being somewhat political. It follows the work of an elite ‘mista’arvim’ deep-cover unit of the Israeli Defense Forces and really does its level best to show both sides of the story. Expect violence, grit and plot twists aplenty.

IMDb Rating: 8.4

If Happy Valley makes you happy, we’re sure you’ll be ecstatic after watching any one of these twelve top drawer televisual offerings. Forget Netflix ‘n’ chill. This is all about Netflix ‘n’ thrill…

Have we missed any excellent Netflix cop shows like Happy Valley from our list? Let us know in the comments below!

Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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