Academy Award® nominee and BAFTA-award winner Brenda Blethyn (Secrets and Lies; Atonement) stars as Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, an experienced and brilliant murder investigator in the North East England county of Northumberland. Kind-hearted but an inherent loner, Vera freely admits she can become obsessed with her job. Driven by her own demons, the detective faces the world with caustic wit, guile and courage.
Vera is partnered with her trusted and long-suffering colleague, Sergeant Joe Ashworth (David Leon), who serves as both her right-hand man and surrogate son. Together they approach each case with unparalleled gusto and professionalism.
Based on the novels by best-selling author Ann Cleeves, Vera is an arresting and intriguing police drama from ITV Global Entertainment offered through American Public Television. Vera is currently shooting its third season in the UK.
Season One Episode Descriptions
Episode #101 - "Hidden Depths" airs Nov. 4
After two beautiful young people are killed in the same manner - placed in water and surrounded by flowers - DCI Vera Stanhope knows that she must find the murderer before he strikes again. With the help of her trusted team, primarily Sergeant Joe Ashworth, she unpicks the complex and dysfunctional relationships amongst a group of bird-watching friends. As they protect and ultimately betray each other, she gradually discovers that an innocent act of teenage blackmail, and an illicit affair involving one of the group, has driven someone to kill in order to preserve the status quo.
Episode #102 - "Telling Tales" airs Nov. 11
It was only after Jeanie Long's suicide hit the headlines that evidence came to light exonerating her for the murder of 15-year-old Abigail Mantel 11 years before. Jeanie had always insisted she was innocent but no one, including her own family, believed her. Vera sets out to retrospectively resolve the mystery of Abigail's murder, delving into the secrets and lies of a small community. In her inimitable style, Vera strips back the varnish disguising the truth, but not before the case takes a violent and unexpected turn with another -- potentially connected -- murder.
Episode #103 - "The Crow Trap" airs Nov. 18
Spooky and elemental, "The Crow Trap" is set in the dramatic Northumberland countryside. A murder at a remote cottage takes DI Vera Stanhope back to a place full of childhood memories and an unsolved case from her earlier career. Delving into the local politics surrounding a controversial proposal to dig a quarry, the detective team finds motives in the unlikeliest of places, shadowy liaisons and conflicting sympathies, until they realize that the truth could be hidden within the land itself.
Episode #104 - "Little Lazarus" airs Nov. 25
A woman is brutally murdered in a hedgerow. Her son escapes the violent attack, only to fall through the ice of a frozen pond, where Vera finds him many minutes later. She wades in and pulls him out and, against all the odds, the boy survives. Vera and her team unravel deadly secrets and their murderous consequences -- fuelled by power, money, and above all a mother's love. Usually awkward and disinterested around children, the loner detective finds a kindred spirit in the boy and begins to realize along the way that the key to the investigation lies deep in the child's memory.
Season Two Episode Descriptions
Episode #201 - "Ghost Position" airs Dec. 2
Vera is reunited -- under tragic circumstances -- with her first ever sergeant, Stuart Macken. When his house is fire bombed, Stuart is left badly burned while his 18-year-old daughter, Stella, fights for her life in intensive care. Vera is shocked to see that Stuart is a shadow of the man she knew 20 years before and, when her investigation leads her into unpleasant revelations about his personal life, she is faced with long buried memories of her own.
Episode #202 - "Sandancer" airs Dec. 9
DCI Vera Stanhope and DS Joe Ashworth investigate a suspicious death in an army barracks. Although designed to look like he committed suicide, Vera quickly establishes that Staff Sgt. Dev Deverson has been murdered. Sensing a connection to a soldier named Ollie who was killed in Afghanistan, Vera interviews Dev's loyal comrades Vin and Budgie, and Ollie's grieving family. She establishes that there is a deeply concealed trauma at the heart of the crime, and exposes the complicated turn of events that led to an act of revenge and the death of more than one soldier.
Episode #203 - "Silent Voices" airs Dec. 16
DCI Vera Stanhope investigates the case of murdered social worker, Jenny Lister. Jenny is considered to have been principled and popular but, in an overworked and understaffed social work system, a notorious case involving the death of a child appears to hold the key to solving the investigation. Through her innate empathy and intuition, Vera pursues the truth until she discovers the real secret at the heart of Jenny's death, and the killer who will stop at nothing to keep a secret.
Episode #204 - "A Certain Samaritan" airs Dec. 23
DCI Vera Stanhope investigates the murder of 29-year-old Niall Coulter. With those closest to Niall intent upon obscuring the truth, it is not until the body of a drug dealer is found washed up on a Northumberland beach that the dreadful truth begins to emerge about Niall's past. While coping with revelations from her own past, Vera sifts through evidence of the grief, love, and addiction that characterized Niall's life and deduces that his murderer acted through a selfless and unrequited love of their own.