1969-2013: Life before Emmerdale
She went into an undercover operation for five years, faking a relationship for known drug dealer Will Taylor under the name "Michelle". She, Will and Will's daughter Dawn Taylor became a family and Dawn took a big liking to "Michelle". Harriet eventually collected enough evidence to get Will sent down, and Will was arrested following a sighting from someone else. Dawn was left heartbroken and blamed "Michelle".
During her time at the force she worked with bent copper Mark Malone, unaware he was corrupt and the ruthless leader of Will's gang. Despite him being married and sleeping with anyone with a pulse, he and Harriet embarked on an affair. Years after their affair was over, Harriet decided to transfer, sick of all the gossip and people assuming she owed her success to Malone. At some point, she ended up working for Mark Bails but later left the force.
2013-2016: Arrival in Emmerdale
Harriet Finch arrives in Emmerdale in November 2013 to see her mother's cousin Edna Birch. Harriet is soon announced as the new vicar for the village. In 2014, Harriet befriends Dom Andrews and helps his daughter Gemma with a school project. When Gemma goes missing, Harriet, Ashley and many other locals help Dom find her. Harriet is the person who spots Gemma lying in a ditch and demands that Zak Dingle calls for an ambulance. Harriet goes to the hospital with Dom and is devastated when the doctors reveal that Gemma has died. Harriet blames herself as she was with Dom the night Gemma died and took his phone off him so she could kiss him. Harriet tries to help Dom through his grief, but he is having none of it and throws her out of his house. Harriet is the vicar who performs Gemma's funeral later in March. Dom later apologises to her for his actions.
In July 2014, Harriet becomes curious when Ashley begins talking about a woman he met named Carole. Harriet believes that Ashley is making Carole up, so she texts Carole from Ashley's mobile phone to meet him in Emmerdale village. Harriet is later shocked when Carole arrives in Emmerdale and is jealous as she secretly has feelings for Ashley. In December 2014, Harriet and Ashley officially become a couple after he finds out she has feelings for him, making him realize he feels the same way. Harriet officiates an unauthorised wedding blessing for Ruby Haswell and Ali Spencer at St. Mary's church and is later sacked by the bishop.
However, in April 2016, Harriet is reinstated as vicar of St.Mary's Church, after Ashley retires following his diagnosis with dementia. In May 2016, Harriet is devastated to hear that Edna Birch has died of ovarian cancer.
2017-2018: Relationship with Cain Dingle
In 2017, she falls for local bad boy Cain Dingle and the pair begin a secret and steamy affair. Cain calls it off with her because he didn't want her to get hurt down the line and was scared of falling deeper for her. However, Harriet is then stabbed by two drug dealers during an altercation. Thankfully, Finn Barton calls an ambulance and Harriet is rushed to hospital, where she recovers. Cain hears about this and realises his true feelings for her, nearly killing Ross Barton for his involvement. As Harriet wakes from her coma, she finds Cain by her bedside. Asking "Why are you here?" he takes her hand and responds with "Why do you think?" He then lovingly kisses it as Moira Barton and Emma Barton look on, confirming their relationship.
In October 2017, Moira gives birth to Cain's son Isaac and Harriet selflessly tells Cain he belongs with her and that he needs to be there to support Moira and his son. Harriet declares her love for Cain before walking out and leaving him. Later that month, Cain overhears Harriet telling Ross she's considering moving to Oxford to a new parish. Cain tries to talk Harriet round to staying and tells her he doesn't want her to go. They end up sharing a passionate kiss before Harriet pulls away and walks off.
In November 2017, Harriet returns from Oxford and Cain greets her. She has to remind Cain they are no longer together. Cain later follows her to the church and insists there is still an 'us'. She tells Cain that Moira needs him but he demands he doesn't need Moira, He needs her. Cain tries to talk Harriet around and they end up sharing another passionate kiss. Harriet continues to remind Cain he belongs with Moira but he tells Harriet he belongs with her now. Harriet dismisses Cain and he angrily storms off. A few days later, Harriet calls round to see Cain and he is looking after Isaac. She is concerned about him and when Cain asks why, she insists she still cares about him as a friend which prompts Cain to snap at her, Harriet storms off, upset and hurt. Harriet walks back into The Woolpack later on and Cain apologises for the way he spoke to her. She asks if they can still be friends, he said that's not what he's thinking and they end up kissing. They are back together.
Harriet soon becomes jealous of the amount of time Cain has been spending with Moira. Their relationship hit a rocky patch over the Christmas period, as Harriet also found out it was Moira who killed Emma and that Cain has been lying to her. In January 2018, Cain booked a table at The Grange B&B for himself and Harriet to make things up to her and try to re-ignite their spark. Harriet wasn’t having any of it and got up to walk away from their relationship until Cain confessed he was in love with her. The pair were then seen later in bed together. Cain suggested they get a place together. Harriet was delighted and they shared a passionate kiss. However, Harriet soon becomes jealous of the amount of time Cain has been spending with Moira. Their relationship hit a rocky patch over the Christmas period, as Harriet also found out it was Moira who killed Emma and that Cain has been lying to her. Cain and Moira end up spending the night together and the next day Cain tells Harriet he's finishing with her and she questions why but know it's to do with Moira. Furious Harriet blames Moira for her throwing away her life. Cain reminds Harriet that Moira did nothing to her, it was him who asked her to lie. Harriet accuses Cain of using her to protect Moira. Cain insists she's talking rubbish and spells it out to her that he doesn't love her like he loves Moira. Harriet is devastated Cain would give up what they had on the off chance of getting back with Moira. Putting on a brave face, Harriet labels Cain a "spineless, useless joke" before storming out but when she gets outside, she breaks down in tears.
2018-2019: Reuniting with Dawn and Will
2020-: DI Malone
In February 2020, Dawn's son Lucas is allowed to stay with them at Woodbine Cottage for a night. While Dawn is out, Harriet, Will and Dawn's boyfriend Billy Fletcher plays with Lucas but the situation turns serious when Lucas finds a real gun in the house and starts waving it in their faces. Billy gets the gun off him but he and Harriet are furious to discover the gun belongs to Will. He opens up to Harriet about needing it to feel safe, still scared someone from his old life will come back to get him but Harriet tells him there is nothing safe about having a gun in the house. When he refuses to get rid of it, Harriet follows him and steals the gun, asking Cain to get rid of it for her. She convinces Will that it was for the best and he agrees to go to counselling. However, a few days later, they panic when the gun is used in Cain's accidental shooting of his son Nate Robinson causing police to investigate but Cain treasures Harriet he has gotten rid of the gun.
In March 2020, Harriet's old colleague DI Mark Malone gets on the case after the gun is found to be related to a criminal gang. Without Harriet's knowledge, Malone reveals himself to be the leader of Will's old gang who the gun originally belonged to and starts threatening Will to work for him again, eventually dragging Cain and Billy into it as well. Harriet starts getting suspicious of Will's behaviour and all the time he's spending away from the house and work.
In May 2020, Harriet finally learns the truth from Cain after Malone attempted to set Billy and Cain up by sending them out on a job and having police search their car for drugs. Will finds out and ropes Dawn into helping them so they get away but a furious Malone has Will beaten up, landing him in hospital. After knowing the truth Harriet angrily ends things with Will but sets up a meeting with Malone to get him to leave them all alone after learning of Dawn's involvement. He tries to wriggle out of it, but she threatens to turn him in, saying he isn't the only one with friends in high places, he agrees to back off. He later came back and we find out that he and Harriet had an affair when they worked together but she quit the department. They then slept together in the church.
- Harriet is the first cousin once removed of Edna Birch and Lily Butterfield.
- Harriet is the only other villager aware of the true circumstances regarding the death of Emma Barton.
"I'm up for a quick one, if you like. A chat, obviously." (first line)
"Step back unless you want to get insulted."
"Kickass vicar and her nerdy sidekick."
"Oh... and I would love to give you one. Didn't mean that how it sounded."
"We all have buttons, you just need to know which ones to press."
"I have a faulty motor. Someone needs to get it turning, it may as well be you."