"Vera" season 8 premieres June 13 at 9:00 p.m. on KCET. Catch it every Wednesday at 9:00 p.m.
For those of us Anglophile Angelenos who look forward to KCET’s new season of “Vera,” season 8 will be well worth the wait (and for some of us, the withdrawals). Award-winning actress Brenda Blethyn is back as the unusual and independent curmudgeon DCI Vera Stanhope, who is part of these wonderful sleuthing characters from writer Ann Cleeves. Vera’s trusty and younger sidekick DS Aiden Healey (Kenny Doughty) joins her again, as well as the rest of the police station in Northumberland’s desolate countryside. For those who haven’t binged on this show yet, it’s a classic good drama to relax and sink into, while having a cup of tea. And you can escape daily life for 90 minutes each week.
Check out below why you should be getting excited for season 8 of "Vera!"
1) A Quick Look at Season 8
Vera and her team tackle four tough cases. Episode 1 “Blood and Bone” opens up the season with the body of a fellow cop, DC Harry Fenton (John Sumner) in Northumberland’s Fraud Unit. The episode can be a bit complex to follow, but that’s another excuse to rewatch each airing though, isn’t it? Aidan also gets noticed by a top cop in that division, enough that she tries to suggest he leave Vera. For fans of David Leon (DS Joe Ashworth), he’s back this season. But he’s behind camera, as the director on Episode 2 “Black Ice.” While there are only four episodes each season, Episode 4’s final scene between Vera and a mountain biker is both satisfying and riveting, as well as a bit of a scare for Aidan, watching as his boss is on the edge of a cliff practically.
2) Workaholic Vera is Back, and Cantankerous and As Sharp (And Sharp-Tongued) As Ever
Vera can get impatient, especially when she’s interviewing a possible suspect across the table. We love how Vera isn’t just tough, but she always has a quick retort, calls someone “pet,” or flashes a smile, batting her eyelashes humorously while interviewing these murder suspects. This season includes all of that and more. There are more scenes where we’re reminded of the lack of a life and down time she has, when she’s having a sandwich on the run as she’s trying to crack a case. There are those brief moments of levity we look for, as a breather between scenes of gruesome murder cases, between Aidan and Vera. And the new season offers a few such scenes sprinkled throughout, including a nice slice of domestic life and contrast between the two when they are at their individual homes preparing dinner. Vera also puts people in their place this season, as only she could.
3) The Same Characters are Back As Well As New Ones — And Some Familiar-Looking Guest Stars
Aidan is back of course, joined again by DC Kenny Lockhart (Jon Morrison), who we love as well and often wish he got some more air time with Vera. For those who missed the little repartees between Vera and pathologist Dr. Marcus Sumner (Kingsley Ben-Adir) last season, he’s back again. DC Jacqueline Williams (Ibinabo Jack) joins the team this season, and she’s smart and steady. “Broadchurch” fans will enjoy seeing the guest starring Carolyn Pickles, who was editor Maggie Radcliffe in that other desolate and beautifully landscaped detective show. Pickles plays Rita Fenton on “Vera,” the wife of the dead cop in Episode 1. Laura Halcombe (Jemima West) will be familiar to “Indian Summers” fans. She shows up in Episode 4, where she plays an art teacher that the dead teen Ethan Dewley was obsessed with.
4) The Northumberland Scenery and Other Regular “Characters” Are Back
With most of us living in crowded cities, Northumberland’s beautiful greenery is the perfect backdrop for our Anglophile escapism, isn’t it? It’s almost unreal. But there are very real scenes of places this season of haunting, derelict-looking boats added to the mix of visual candy to take in. Part of the success of “Vera,” aside from the stellar acting and chemistry between the main cast, is this expansive backdrop that these characters call home. Another inanimate character is Vera’s reiable old blue Land Rover. And you can bet, always the pilot, she does not not let Aiden drive it. He’ll always be her co-pilot in that other seat on the left.
5) We love the Back and Forth Between Vera and Aiden
A perfect example of the continuing relationship and chemistry between Vera and Aiden is shown to us early on in Episode 1 in a particular telling moment:
Vera: What do you make of DI Chandra?
Aiden: Rising star by all accounts.
Vera: Ambitious copper, what was it she called him? Old school? Well, that could make for a dysfunctional relationship.
Aiden: I wouldn’t know anything about that.
The end of Episode 1 offers another warm moment between the two when Aiden admits DI Sunetra Chandra (Shereen Martin) tried to poach him away. Also, as we don’t often see texting and devices as a regular feature in Vera’s life, there’s another light moment between the two co-workers this season when she catches Aiden texting.
6) Episode 3 is Especially Top Notch
While we’re thrilled for every episode we get from Vera, Episode 3 is particularly stellar and captivating. Everything comes together in this episode as the best episode of Season 8. It has the perfect mix of comic timing, especially a scene where Vera and Aiden show up at the right time, and everyone seems like they’re a suspect in the death of Alison Glen. There’s a lot going on here suspect-wise, including her own husband, a prison guard, and her estranged father and brother.
Sit back and take it all in. It’s a good one.