Vera: Series 4


On DVD: 
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I’ve been reviewing the Vera franchise since the first series was released on DVD in 2011 and it’s been a rough ride. My love for Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope went from absolutely hating her downer persona to loving her somewhat more aggressive approach to the character in these later seasons. Even David Leon as DS Joe Ashworth seemed, at first, to be a stuttering representation of his character. Was he important or was he simply a device to open Vera up as a character? In series 4 he stands out as his own single entity, which is really a shame as he won’t be returning for series 5. 
All the same, Vera Series 4 was the first time I watched a complete series of the show and felt compelled to keep watching. Even felt a bit disappointed when the series ended. 
Vera is less of a downer and more a woman who seems a bit unchallenged by the “been there, seen that” simplicity of her job. She sighs when she’s forced to move seasoned detectives in the direction of the truth, bewildered by the office flirtations of new forensic lab man Dr. Marcus Summer and DC Rebecca Sheppard, and is somehow still manages to offer up a distanced approach when trying to relate to her wingman DS Joe Ashworth as he discusses his family life with her. 
The cases in this series seemed to build on a life of their own, unlike in the first few seasons where Vera Stanhope was s depressing drinker completely alienated from her own humanity. She’s given a dose of human life in the first episode when Joe Ashworth’s daughter witnesses a murder and must comfort the child, but also remains sharp and tactful as she glides through investigative work all the while proving her character is witty, intelligent and strong. Great characteristics for this type of show. Not too flashy, but not underwritten. I highly suggest checking this season out and if you like it, work your way backwards. Enjoy.  
AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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