Vera is a gripping British crime drama with an excellent lead actress, based on the Vera Stanhope series of novels written by crime writer Ann Cleeves. The show first aired on ITV in 2011; to date, twelve series have aired, with the latest concluding in February 2023.
The show stars Brenda Blethyn as Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope. Vera is a nearly retired employee of the fictional ‘Northumberland & City Police’, obsessive about her work and driven by her own demons.
Vera’s character resembles other older TV detectives such as Inspector Morse and Rebus. Like these characters, Vera is a straight-talking, work-obsessed loner with caustic wit and singular charm. She leads her team as they face a series of captivating murder mysteries set against the breathtaking Northumberland landscape. There is no doubt that Vera’s setting is one of the most important components of the show – beautiful and yet bleak – with vast moors and rugged coastlines providing the backdrop for each episode. The show’s creators have done an excellent job of capturing the essence of Northumberland’s unique landscape. They’ve meticulously managed to create a sense of place that feels authentic and lived-in.
Brenda Blethyn, the show’s lead actress, delivers a remarkable performance as Vera Stanhope. She is an adept older woman in the main role who can balance the character’s strengths and weaknesses with various gestures that are simple to ridicule but difficult to achieve. Critics have lauded her performance.
Unlike most TV shows that air weekly or in seasons, Vera airs yearly in four 90-minute movies that loosely tie together. This format allows for more extended story arcs that can be explored over several episodes. In each dark and atmospheric episode, Vera leads and berates (in equal measure) a major crime team to solve a murder. There is a classic “crime of passion” story where tension is ramped up to be brought down to a cathartic conclusion. Vera doesn’t rely on gimmicks or special effects that often detract from the acting. Instead, it focuses on character development and storytelling. In a TV landscape where crime dramas are ubiquitous, shows such as Vera stand out because they expertly thread dark storylines with engaging and relatable characters and have outstanding production values.
Vera has developed into a must-watch crime drama series on our screens. The filming and locations are always top-notch, rewrite this sentence The filming and locations are always top-notch, Newcastle and the surrounding areas are wonderful, and the moors are jaw-dropping. Brenda Blethyn is an unbelievably talented actress who has made the role her own and does not need to be nipped and tucked into a completely unnatural creature. Vera looks like an actual human being, and I confess to a sense of excitement each time she closes the door of the ageing Land Rover that she drives to a crime scene.