Could it be Sean Balmforth, the white van driver?
Nope. Too obvious. Balmforth (Matthew Lewis) gave a genuinely stunned response in hearing the charges of murder that led to his arrest. He clearly didn’t recognise any of the names of the victims he is accused of killing and his shocked reaction provoked sympathy in viewers. Again, it would be too obvious for Sean to be the killer; they won’t have caught him yet, it’s only episode four.
Could it be Darryl, the sheep farmer?
Probably not. But, chances are he’s killed the local hoodlums who abused his sheep. Where else could that large dent in his car have come from?
Could it be Nevison?
Nevison Gallagher could potentially be the killer. No one would see it coming. But why would Nevison want to mutilate and murder prostitutes? Sure, he’s a broken man; his wife’s just died and the trauma he experienced in the first series as a consequence of Tommy Lee Royce’s role in his daughter’s kidnapping would inevitably have left some serious psychological damage. But surely his daughter’s struggle at the hands of a kidnapper/rapist would more than likely be reason enough for Nevison not to abuse women in the same way. This leads me to the conclusion, therefore, that although it would be a shocking twist, Nevison can’t be the killer. And thanks to the process of elimination (providing that the killer is someone the viewer already knows), I will now explain who I think the killer is…
Could it be Neil Ackroyd?
Neil Ackroyd (Con O’Neill) is an old friend of Catherine’s sister, Clare. He’s friendly, good-humoured and likeable. Or in other words, the ideal candidate for a shock reveal at the end of the series. He’s too normal. I think Neil Ackroyd is ‘the broken bottle killer’. There aren’t as many pointers to Ackroyd being the killer as there have been to other suspects, but a few hints have been dropped. Firstly, that Neil moved to the area recently having just “got divorced”; coincidental since the corpses of mutilated prostitutes were only discovered in the village recently. Episode four, however, threw a spanner in the works. Ackroyd reported that he was “humiliated” by John Wadsworth’s mistress Vicky Fleming in a similar way that John nearly was. This would probably explain the divorce. But Ackroyd isn’t in the clear yet.
Hearing about Vicky Fleming shocked him. In the fourth episode when Clare and Neil were about to sleep together, he broke down about how he used to know her. Now this is an interesting reaction on the assumption that he is the killer, because if he is the killer then he knows that Vicky was killed by someone else attempting to imitate the ‘broken bottle murders’. This could explain his outburst.
Yes, I know that these points are all based on judgement of character, but there’s little else to go on in this season. And through the process of elimination, it does seem likely that Neil could be the killer.
And if I’m right about all this, then Clare is extremely vulnerable; especially since Catherine has so much else to focus on (the trafficking gang, Royce’s lunatic admirer, the sheep rustlers, etc.). You might say that I’m reading too much into it, but I even think that Happy Valley’s writer, Sally Wainwright, could reveal Neil to be the killer just to bring more misery to the Cawood family. And that’s what this is all about, isn’t it? Seeing Catherine and Clare looking miserable with a cuppa in one hand and a cigarette in the other?
Happy Valley continues next Tuesday (08/03/16) on BBC One at 9pm.