Friday, May 23, 2014

Vera Season 2 (2012)

In Season Two of Vera DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn) is still nosing out nasty murders in Northumberland with subordinate DS Joe Ashworth (David Leon) and I'm still enjoying following along the track.  I've been blogging about the Great Detective tradition of late and Vera certainly does have Great Detective qualities, such as social isolation and eccentricity, but, on the other hand, in Season 2 she starts, in the modern fashion, to get more of personal back story (character development) and there are hints that she may "grow."  We gets more glimpses of Joe's home life too, with his wife and kids.  Also DC Kenny Lockhart (Jon Morrison) happily becomes less a cipher this season (DC Holly Lawson, on the other hand, leaves Vera's force after the first episode).

Once again, the season has four episodes:

The Ghost Position

Vera with an old friend moments before a tragedy

A former colleague of Vera's in the police force commits suicide in a horrific and spectacular way after his daughter has been put into a coma by a firebomb attack on his house.  Who was the bomber and why did this person bomb the house?

This was a good opening for the series, moving in rather an unexpected direction.  I did not find the characters quite so interesting as usual, however, the most compelling one having committed suicide in the first ten minutes of the episode.

Silent Voices

Joe lends a thoughtful presence

The only one of the four episodes based on an Ann Cleeves novel, this episode, dealing with the deliberate drowning of a seemingly beloved middle-aged female social worker, has a typically intricate, clued Cleeves plot, but, once again (see my Season One review), I had some trouble buying into the motivations and behavior of the murderer.


Vera conducts a campaign

This episode, about the murder-staged-as-suicide of an Afghanistan veteran, has an interesting milieu among soldiers and a believable plot, but here we face just the opposite problem from that in Sandancers: the plot is too straightforward, leaving little of a surprise element.

A Certain Samaritan

On the beach: Vera and the beekeeper (Sean Campion)

As in Season One, I think, the best episode in Season Two of Vera is the finale.  I found this quite a moving and intricate tale about the stabbing death of a young man.  The emotions of his survivors--and Vera's suspects--are powerfully portrayed (especially memorable are Phyllis Logan as the young man's mother and Sean Campion as his older male beekeeping friend). As in the best modern mystery, the solution of the puzzle arises organically out of a believable, if horrible, human situation and gives us something to think about after the light from the television has faded

the mother of the dead man (Phyllis Logan)

We are also left with a tantalizing fragment of back story concerning Vera's life, brought to us by the splendid Judy Parfitt in an interesting cameo appearance.  I'll certainly be getting Season Three.


  1. I am glad to hear that you like these so much. I want to read a few of the books first, then watch Season 1.

    1. Tracy, I definitely recommend it. Not all the mysteries are equally good, but it is an interesting crime series overall, with some good character. Blethyn and Leon are great!