I recall learning to love the first series of Vera and coming to the conclusion that it was somehow ingenious. On my second stab at the show (no pun intended) I found that I had hit the ground running without any snags whatsoever. No shallow character introductions, no slow building chemistry between characters, not even an episode that rubbed me the wrong way. For all intents and purposes Vera Set 2 is magnificent.
The series kicks off with The Ghost Position. When a former colleague of Vera’s has his house burned with a petrol bomb, while his daughter is trapped in the house, Vera rushes to visit him at the hospital. After a chat he jumps off of the third floor balcony and kills himself. This is extreme motivation for Vera and her crew to dig deep and discover what happened? Was it someone Vera’s colleague had arrested back in his day on the force? Maybe his ex-wife’s new husband who is in a tug of war for the daughters affection. Maybe it was all a case of mistaken identity. When Vera and her crew finally get a lead they chase their suspect all over, but he’s like a ghost, there one minute, gone in the next. Can they crack the case and get to the bottom of why a former cop committed suicide and who firebomb his home, and if it was purposeful?
Next up is episode 2, Silent Voices. When a social worker is found dead, drowned, but not before being hit over the head with a blunt object, her death opens up a web of other tragedies that may all be linked. A woman in a mental hospital for killing her baby, a former case worker ousted by society and in hiding since the trial ended, a doting mother who doesn’t like the fact that her son is romantically involved with the murder victims daughter. To make matters worse one murder turns into several, all of them linked. Whose the murderer? Why did they kill the first victim? What was their motivation for continuing to kill?
Sandancers takes place on a military base where a solider has been found, apparently the victim of a suicide, but not everything is adding up. Aided by MP Captain Shepherd, Vera and Joe find their efforts being blocked at all ends by the loyalty of military brotherhood. No one wants to talk so it takes everything Vera, Joe and Shepherd have in their arsenal of detecting skills. Unfortunately as they move slow through the process of uncovering the truth, more soldiers die by what looks to be self inflicted suicides, but are they? Claire Calbraith (Downton Abbey) co-stars.
Finally the set ends with A Certain Samaritan. A woman on a train sees a mugging and calls it in. When the police arrive all they find are a shoe and bloody prints stretching on for a ways. With only a shoe to go on things move slowly, but a body is found miles ways away and the shoes missing partner is upon the victims foot. Now the ball is rolling and Vera and Joe hit the streets with assistance from DC Kenny Lockhart (Jon Morrison; High Times) and DC Bethany Whelan (Cush Jumbo; Torchwood: Children of Earth). Shady characters come out of the woodwork and it’s up to Vera and her team to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Meanwhile more is revealed about Vera as Joe uncovers the name of an acquaintance of her fathers. Joe takes it upon himself to uncover info about this acquaintance which leads to huge revelations that could mean even bigger character development for Vera in the next chapter of the series.
Vera and Joe didn’t really feel like main characters in this particular series. We get flashes of information now and again but the show moves forward with story first, character development slow as it goes. This worked for me. One of the problems I had with the first series was that Vera was so vulnerable and weak. She had emotional issues as well as health issues that played with the flow of the episodes before it all came together at the end. The first series still could have gone on without them but they worked in the end.
This set, it’s like those issues never happened. Every once in awhile we’d see Joe attempting to get Vera to eat right and Vera responding to that idea, but for the most part her health issues are left in the dark. Even her personal issues take a backseat to the series 2 mysteries that come at you heavy and disorienting. I loved that I was kept guessing either almost all the way to the end or simply to the end. At best we find Vera and Joe comfortably humorous with one another and Vera very much caught up in studying the clues. Taking the human factor out almost completely seemed to do it for me this time around. As a mystery show Vera has hit it’s stride. Looking forward to they handle the obvious return of more personal issues for the cast in season 3. Should be interesting. Enjoy.