OPINION: Why Redemption’s DI Colette Cunningham is the new Catherine Cawood!

17 Mar 2023, 22:02
17 Mar 2023, 14:24

Happy Valley, Paula Malcomson, Redemption, Sarah Lancashire

If you’re still missing Happy Valley’s badass Sergeant Catherine Cawood, DI Colette Cunningham in Redemption might help fill the hole.

The new ITV series Redemption started on Friday night (March 17, 2023) and is now available to binge watch on ITVX.

And we’ve fallen hard for lead character DI Colette Cunningham…

Here’s why we think she’s the next best thing to Happy Valley’s Sergeant Cawood!

***Warning: possible spoilers from episode 1 of Redemption ahead***

Paula Malcomson as DI Colette Cunningham in Redemption (Credit: ITV1)

Why DI Colette Cunningham in Redemption has won our hearts

Belfast-born Paula Malcomson leads the cast of Redemption as unflappable DI Colette Cunningham.

DI Colette Cunningham is a dedicated cop working serious crime in Liverpool.

She’s unflappable and tough, but there’s something likably vulnerable about her, too.

In the first episode of the ITV drama, Colette is floored when she discovers that her estranged daughter has been found dead in Ireland.

She arrived in Dublin to identify the body, and learnt that she has two grandchildren she didn’t know anything about.

Understandably, Colette makes the decision to move to Dublin for a while to get to know her new family members – and to uncover the truth about her daughter’s mysterious death.

DI Collete Cunningham is good at her job, is dogged at uncovering the truth, and she does all this in a quiet and steely manner.

And it’s clear she has been moulded by past heartache…

You’ll find no spoilers here beyond Redemption episode 1,  but we do know she lost contact with her only daughter.

DI Colette Cunningham is the new Catherine Cawood

DI Colette Cunningham’s no nonsense approach to policing has earned her the respect of her Merseyside Police colleagues.

Sound familiar?

She seems unflappable with a spine of steel, but she has a heart of gold and is extremely kind to her colleagues.

Exactly like Happy Valley‘s Sergeant Cawood before her, DI Colette Cunningham has been shaped by tragedy.

While Catherine’s daughter killed herself after being raped by Tommy Lee Royce, Redemption’s DI Colette Cunningham’s daughter has been found dead – also a suspected suicide.

The trauma has shaped who they are, and undoubtedly made them better cops.

Both Catherine and Colette are human, relatable, and fallible – they’ve both made mistakes and learnt from them.

Unlike the often ridiculously glamorous heroines in the likes of Vigil, Marcella, Agatha Raisin, The Fall, and The Bay, these coppers feel comfortingly real.

Did you EVER see Kate Fleming with a hair out of place in Line of Duty?

Could the attraction be because both Catherine Cawood and Colette Cunningham are more mature?

One fan nailed it when they wrote: “The acting [in Redemption] is brilliant, and it’s great to see a story written around a woman in her fifties.

“The casting is inspired, everyone is 100% believable, and the whole thing is surprisingly moving.”

We couldn’t agree more!

Sarah Lancashire as Sergeant Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley (Credit: Red Productions/Ben Blackall)

What Redemption and Happy Valley got SO right

The writing on Redemption is very different to Happy Valley – less dark, less funny – but still gripping and thought-provoking.

But they both focus on mothers who could teach Grant Mitchell a thing or do about toughness.

Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) may have answered to a man, but she was about 10 times as brave and resilient as him.

Catherine – and her iconic one-liners – was a groundbreaking female TV police officer.

Meanwhile, Colette has had to take a demotion of sorts to move to Dublin.

But does this dent her ego at all, like it might a male officer?

Not one jot!

She inspires us, and that’s what good TV characters should do.

We are very much hoping for a series 2 of Redemption, so watch this space!

Read more: Redemption on ITV1: Why it’s THE new drama to watch this week!

Redemption series 1 is currently available to watch on ITVX. Happy Valley is still available on BBC iPlayer.

What do you think of DI Colette Cunningham in Redemption? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

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