With only one episode of Happy Valley left, viewers are frantically trying to figure out how the hit BBC drama will finish. We know it's the third and final season and we know there's a "face-to-face showdown" to come, but could that also mean a main character's death is on the horizon?


While many viewers think Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) is the frontrunner for the character who could meet his demise in the finale, others think that Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) could die at the end of the series. Let’s not beat around the bush – it’s a devastating theory.

But in episode 5, we saw Tommy outline that he’s got his eyes well and truly fixed on Catherine for one last revengeful act. So, the sad possibility is looking more likely than we’d have hoped.

Will Catherine die in Happy Valley?

Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley. BBC/Lookout Point/Matt Squire BBC/Lookout Point/Matt Squire

While it may not actually happen, as of right now, it’s certainly a major possibility.

We finish episode 5 with Tommy – now a fugitive – hunkered down in Surroje’s (Matthew Zajac) house waiting to carry out the rest of Darius Knezevic’s (Alec Secareanu) engineered escape plan.

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Earlier in the episode, when we found out that it was Darius who had been behind the escape plot from the start, Tommy asks him for a gun to take care of his “little bit of business”. The overall plan includes getting passports for Ryan and Tommy, going to Dover, driving to Brussels and then boarding a plane to Malaga, to then meet someone else in Marbella and start a new life.

But it’s a plan that has also been set up with a window of time in Halifax so Tommy can sort out the “business” that he’s kept from Darius. Darius surprisingly tries to speak Tommy out of killing “the policewoman”, but he remains intent on carrying out his plan, saying: "Yeah but getting even with this b***h is as important as getting to Marbella."

He continues: “I’m going to find her, I’m going to follow her, I’m going to bide my time. I’m going to look for an opportunity but it’d sure as s**t help if I had a gun.”

In a way, the one good thing to come from this conversation is the fact that Darius refuses to supply Tommy with a gun and after the conversation, seems more wary of Tommy than ever.

If looks could kill, it’s certainly looking like Darius could easily kill Tommy himself – he is somewhat of a liability to his burgeoning political career after all. But also, without a gun, there’s no guessing what Tommy’s new plan for Catherine could involve.

With Tommy now also in contact with Ryan, he could attempt to coerce the teenager’s location out of him and thus, be closer to finding Catherine to kill her. Undeniably, Tommy’s escape has made Catherine nervous. Even her superior, Detective Superintendent Andy Shepherd (Vincent Franklin), said she should take an officer with her because “you shouldn’t be on your own”.

The sense of doom and fear is palpable in the fifth episode, with Nevison (George Costigan) even saying he’ll fly the Cawood family out and let them stay in his Marbella villa until Tommy is found. But even though she may be scared, Catherine refuses to hide out and “watch f**king telly”, instead stating she’s going back to work. But will her determination to track down Tommy mean she gets too dangerously close to him?

Unfortunately, the events of the fifth episode were somewhat foreshadowed by Catherine herself. When speaking with Inspector Mike Taylor (Rick Warden) about Tommy’s bungee-jumping plans in episode 4, she explained how she thought the criminal was making plans to flee.

James Norton as Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley.
James Norton as Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley. BBC/Lookout Point/Matt Squire

In an unusually vulnerable moment for her, she also said: "And what about me? I need protection because if he gets out, he's coming for me. You need to find out what sort of escort he's got and whatever it is, they need to triple it."

It’s been confirmed that there’s going to be an ultimate confrontation between Tommy and Catherine. Happy Valley creator Sally Wainwright previously told Radio Times magazine: "In season 3, there’s a very big face-to-face showdown. The kind of cathartic showdown that people have waited for. It’s pretty dramatic."

So, will this showdown lead to a tragic death? Fans certainly seem to think so.

One user tweeted: "Catherine will die. I just feel that’s where we are heading. It’ll be a massive showdown, hopefully between Catherine and Tommy. Tommy will die as well. Ryan and Clare will have to live with the guilt of bringing Tommy back into their lives."

Another Twitter user posed the question at the start of the season: "Anyone else think Catherine is going to die at the end of this series?"

Other fans have also been quick to note the fact that in the past, when we thought Catherine could die, she hasn't. Although Catherine is just days away from retirement, her last day seems like a distant prospect with Tommy now on the run.

Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley. BBC/Lookout Point/Matt Squire BBC/Lookout Point/Matt Squire

Throughout season 3, Catherine has also been hallucinating and seeing visions of her dead daughter Becky, could it be a sign that Catherine may not be in for a happy ending in the Himalayas after all?

We know that Tommy’s next steps involve speaking to Ryan again and obtaining a phone. He’s not only going to carry on trying to convince Ryan to run away with him, but in doing so, will likely try to manipulate the teenager to reveal the whereabouts of his family. He’ll probably continue pestering Darius for a weapon too, but will he succeed in getting one?

Tommy hates Catherine almost as much as she loathes him so there most certainly will be an epic showdown – but who will come out of it alive?

Something tells us that Tommy definitely won't be going back to prison anytime soon, especially since the notorious Knezevics are helping him. And seeing as the Halifax gangsters are involved, it could definitely spell trouble for Tommy – but also possibly for devoted police officer Catherine.

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Happy Valley season 3 continues on Sunday at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The first two seasons are available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.

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