|Portrayed by||Sarah Lancashire|
|First Appearance||Series 1 Episode 1|
|Spouse||Richard Cawood (ex-husband)|
|Daughters||Becky Cawood (deceased)|
Sergeant Catherine Cawood is a determined, respected hard-working, tuff cookie police community officer for the West Yorkshire Police Department. As a divorced 47 year old woman with an ex drug-addict sister, a daughter who is dead and a son who doesn't speak to her, Catherine is still able to crack a good sense of humour while on the job to make sure that bad people are locked away from the good of the country.
Catherine had been happily married to Richard, and the mother of two children, the highly intelligent, grounded Daniel and the reckless Becky. Becky got into "the wrong crowd", and ended up involved with the violent, woman-hating Tommy Lee Royce, who raped her, resulting in pregnancy. It was too late for Becky to have an abortion, and she gave birth to a son, Ryan, in 2006, but found herself unable to bond with him due to being constantly reminded of Royce. She committed suicide shortly after Ryan's birth, which led to Catherine deciding to raise Ryan. Richard found himself unable to be around Ryan, seeing him as the reason Becky died, and subsequently divorced Catherine; this also led to Daniel not speaking to her.
Catherine is 47, and living with eight-year old grandson Ryan and supportive sister Clare, a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict, in Hebden Bridge. At work, Catherine is loved and well-respected by all of her colleagues, particularly young PC Kirstin McAskill, who seems to see Catherine as a motherly figure, and looks up to her.
In the first episode, Catherine discovers that Tommy Lee Royce has been released from prison, and is supposed to be living at his mother's address in a rougher part of town. Clare already knew this, as Royce had visited the Missionary she volunteers at on several occasions. Catherine's mood is worsened when she has to have a talk with Ryan's teacher due to his unruly behaviour.
Catherine is secretly embarking on a sexual relationship with her ex-husband Richard, and after hearing about Royce's release, Catherine goes for dinner with him, primarily to take her mind off Royce. It appears that the recently redundant journalist Richard is using the meeting not just for sex, but also to obtain information from Catherine about a suicide she prevented, so he can write about it, whilst Catherine in return tries to obtain Royce's whereabouts.
Unbeknownst to Catherine, Royce is working for Ashley Cowgill, a caravan park owner and drug dealer. Cowgill has recently agreed to kidnap the wealthy Nevison Gallagher's daughter Ann, in exchange for money, with the idea being the brainchild of Gallagher's timid accountant Kevin Weatherill. who is trying to fund his daughter's education. Royce, and another of Cowgill's employees, Lewis Whippey, are effectively forced by Cowgill to participate in the kidnapping. They succeed in kidnapping Ann Gallagher, after crashing into her car, and take her to a derelict house in Cowgill's possession. As Catherine is returning from the arrest of an abusive drug addict, she recognises Royce outside a Chinese takeaway, but he has disappeared by the time she has turned her car around.
Catherine becomes convinced Royce is up to no good, and in the meantime is visited at the police station by Kevin Weatherill, who no longer wishes for the kidnapping to go ahead. Weatherill is too afraid to speak up, and flees, but Catherine gets his car registration plate, and discovers he is a neighbor of Richard and his new wife, Roz.
Elsewhere, Clare and Catherine are invited by Daniel and his wife for dinner, and discover Richard and Roz will also be attending. After his friend has to cancel their sleepover, Ryan has to attend, much to the visual dismay of both Richard and Daniel, who still see him as the reason Becky died. There also appears to be unresolved tension between Catherine and Daniel.
Catherine discovers, from the takeaway owner, that Royce was seen entering a property in a street opposite the takeaway, and, claiming to be checking out a report of drugs, Catherine attempts to gain access to the house, but Royce spots her and doesn't open the door. Cowgill, aware of Catherine's visit, orders Royce and Whippey to take Ann Gallagher to one of his caravan's. Royce has been raping Ann, as he did Becky, and failing to give her food, and has violently attacked Whippey when he tried to help her. En route to the caravan park, Whippey's van is stopped by Kirsten, due to a broken brakelight. Kirsten can hear Ann's screams from the back of the van and tries to gain access but Royce, who had been following in Ann's car, runs Kirsten over and then repeatedly drives over her unconscious body, killing her instantly. Catherine is distraught over Kirsten's death, but also feels guilty as she had berated Kirsten the day previous for not following procedure.
Catherine then visits Royce's drug addict mother, Lynn Dewhurst, to enquire about his whereabouts, and when Lynn reveals she has found out Royce is Ryan's father, Catherine is horrified, as Royce and his family had previously been unaware Becky had a son. After he realises that Ann may know too much, Cowgill orders Royce to kill her, and Royce takes her to his mother's cellar, where he intends to repeatedly rape her before murdering her. As Catherine pays another visit to Lynn, she can hear noises from the cellar, and breaks in, to find a heavily malnourished Ann gagged and tied up. Catherine attempts to free her, but they are interrupted by Royce, who knocks out his own mother, before viciously beating Catherine, which leads to Ann breaking free and knocking him out. Ann refuses to leave Catherine, and helps her out of the house, but Catherine's injuries are so severe she collapses in the street.
Now hospitalised, Catherine's injuries have led to her spleen being removed, and after regaining consciousness, she is distraught to learn that Royce got away, and along with Lewis Whippey is now on the run, after their part in the kidnapping was uncovered. Although Cowgill was arrested, he has received bail after giving information about drug dealers, though Cowgill is later shot dead in a revenge attack.
Catherine sinks into a depression, and loses her temper with Ryan after he gets involved in a fight at school. She then argues with Clare, and ends up throwing the kettle at the wall. Realising that her family are only trying to help her, Catherine agrees to have a party for her birthday, though this descends into chaos when Daniel gets drunk and insults Ryan, Catherine and Richard.
Elsewhere, Royce has murdered Whippey and a friend they were staying with, after they suggested he hand himself in, and, despite being stabbed in the stomach, goes back on the run. Royce breaks into a barge moored near to Ryan's school, and approaches Ryan as he visits a sweet shop, introducing himself as his dad. Ryan, now being allowed to make his own way home on his bike, starts visiting Royce on the barge, and even brings a friend, whom Royce is rude to. Royce then decides the only way out of the situation is to kill himself, and he decides to take Ryan's life as well.
After Ryan fails to return home from school, a worried Clare calls all of his friends parents, and discovers that Ryan has been visiting Royce on a nightly basis. Clare calls Catherine, and the pair quickly drive to the canal, where they hear Ryan's screams after Royce poured petrol over him. Catherine breaks into the barge, where Royce is threatening to light himself and Ryan, but Catherine punches him, causing him to drop the lighter, and allowing Ryan to escape. Catherine then beats up Royce, and refuses to comply with his pleas to kill him, deciding instead to let him suffer.
A few weeks on from the drama, Catherine walks on the hills overlooking the town. Looking on at the place she fiercely protects, and seemingly reflecting on all of the recent events, Catherine eventually smiles, and holds her arms out, seemingly finally content with her life.