Kate McKenzie, Last Tango in Halifax
Kate McKenzie (Nina Sosanya)
On British romantic drama Last Tango in Halifax, Kate was introduced in the first season as a teacher who started to fall for her colleague and headteacher Caroline. Kate waited patiently while Caroline was struggling with a divorce from her husband and coming to terms with her sexuality, but by the end of the season they were together.
At the beginning of season 2 Kate decided that she wanted to have a baby before she was too old. Kate explained to a hesitant Caroline that she had tried to have a baby before, when she was married to a man, but miscarried four times. She then went on to say that she wanted her old friend Greg, with whom she had slept with before, to be the sperm donor. Finally, Kate suggested that instead of going through all of the medical procedures she and Greg could just have sex and conceive “the old fashioned way”. In episode 4 the two of them went away on a vacation, and also to meet Greg, but ended up fighting over the fact that Caroline booked two separate bedrooms for them, and Kate accused her of being uncomfortable being with her in public. Kate then ended up staying with Greg for the two nights she was there, and she and Caroline broke up. A week later Caroline asked if she and Greg went through with their plans and Kate said they did before promptly leaving again. In the next episode Kate revealed that she was 12 weeks pregnant. Kate and Caroline then got back together in the season finale after Kate had a pregnancy scare and Caroline kept her company at the hospital, and they ended the season making out on the dance floor at Caroline’s parents’ wedding.
At the start of season 3 Kate and Caroline were happily planning their wedding and the coming birth of their daughter. However, their happiness only lasted until episode 3 when Kate was killed by a car driving up on the side walk. Not only was she killed, but she was killed the day after marrying her wife, while pregnant with the couple’s baby that had to be pulled out of her dying body, and for no other reason than to give Caroline and Caroline’s mother Celia (who’s homophobic views had caused a rift between them) a reason to reconcile at the funeral. Last Tango in Halifax is also a show where no other character had ever died before.
Wainwright’s narrative decision to make Caroline a widow drew wide criticism; Katie Welsh writing in The Guardian felt the writer had decided to “privilege a toxic biological relationship over a happy queer marriage.”
When lead writer Sally Wainwright was questioned, in an interview with Diva Magazine, about her decision kill of Kate she stated that while she had been conflicted over the decision, she felt that it was ultimately the best one for the drama and that it allowed “the performances with the people left behind to become increasingly magnetic and extraordinary.” In answer to a question regarding why it’s always the lesbian getting killed off, Wainwright responded: “I think that’s a myth! People get killed off all the time.” However, later the same year during the Hay Festival (a festival for writers of all kinds) she admitted that she did regret killing of Kate, something she confirmed again a year later during the Edinburgh TV Fest, where she admitted that killing Kate had been a mistake.
- 18 episodes.
Female love interests:
- Caroline Dawson (Sarah Lancashire, bisexual, regular)
Relationship story arc with a woman: Yes
Male love interests:
- Greg (Marcus Garvey, recurring, 5 episodes)
Relationship story arc with a man: Yes
Male love interest after being identified as a lesbian? Yes
Filter Relationship Arc:
Storyline during sweeps? No
 A relationship story arc is defined as explicit, developed on screen, and lasting more than 3 episodes. It is listed as questionable or subtext if romance is only implied, mentioned instead of shown on screen, part of a dream sequence, or otherwise not explicit for the viewer.
 Sweeps episodes air in February, May, July and November, the periods when advertising rates are set. A character is marked as "sweeps" when there is a very limited number of episodes that address their sexuality, all air during sweeps period, and the storyline is otherwise ignore/dropped.