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Vera - Series 1 [DVD]
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Introducing this major new detective franchise Vera starring Academy Award nominee and BAFTA winner Brenda Blethyn (Secrets and Lies; Atonement) as Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope. Middle-aged Vera is an experienced, not to mention brilliant, murder detective. Kind-hearted but a loner, she freely admits she can become obsessed with her job.
Vera: The Pilot
In this feature-length debut, Vera takes on her first murder case since the death of her father. Julie Armstrong (Gina McKee, Notting Hill; The Forsyte Saga), is distraught when she discovers the lifeless body of her teenage son, Luke. He has been strangled and then carefully placed in a bath decorated with wild flowers. Vera and Sergeant Joe Ashworth (David Leon, RocknRolla), have barely begun their investigation when another body turns up and the signs point to a serial killer. When, Luke's sister Laura provides a vital clue and then goes missing, Vera and Joe have a race against time to find the murderer and save Laura's life.
Plus 3 more cases.
Few would suggest that television is crying out for a new detective to solve the crimes of Britain, and thus the original announcement of Vera hardly set tongues wagging. But this is a show that has a special weapon in its midst, namely Brenda Blethyn.
Blethyn is a terrific actress, and here, in the title role, she gets to play an obsessive murder detective. Vera is based on the novels of Ann Cleeves, and in truth, the stories themselves are hardly radical additions to the genre. But they are intriguing ones, and the cases in this maiden series are significantly lifted by Blethyn’s investment in the title character.
Vera, inevitably, doesn’t have life very easy. And working in tandem with Sergeant Joe Ashworth, she battles not only the crime in front of her, but the challenges in her own life.
Boasting good quality production values, a strong cast, and cases that hold the attention, Vera is a fine piece of television drama. But the main reason to watch it? That’d be its exceptional leading lady. Just watching Blethyn take on such a meaty role is worth the time and financial investment in itself. --Jon Foster
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