First look at Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn

Based on the Vera Stanhope novels by Ann Cleeves, Vera is the latest crime drama from ITV, starring none other than the wonderful Brenda Blethyn. ITV originally ordered only one episode, based on the novel Hidden Depths, back in 2009 and planned to air it as a stand alone in 2010, but it turned out they liked the pilot so much¬†they went ahead and ordered three more episodes (two of which are also based on Cleeves novels,¬†Telling Tales and The Crow Trap). And now, at long last, Vera airs this Sunday – in the U.K., at least. Sadly us U.S. types will have to wait until it comes round on Masterpiece Mystery (hopefully this season, but it’s too soon to know – PBS hasn’t announced their full line-up yet), but in any case, this is one crime drama that looks well worth the wait.

Hidden Depths Jacket:

A hot summer on the Northumberland coast, and Julie Armstrong arrives home from a night out to find her son murdered. Luke has been strangled, laid out in a bath of water and covered with wild flowers.

This stylized murder scene has Inspector Vera Stanhope and her team intrigued. But then a second body – that of beautiful young teacher Lily Marsh – is discovered laid out in a rock pool, the water strewn with flowers. Now, Vera must work quickly to find this dramatist, this killer who is making art out of death.

Clues are slow to emerge from those who had known Luke and Lily, but Vera soon finds herself drawn towards the curious group of friends who discovered Lily’s body. What unites these four men and one woman? Are they really the close-knit, trustworthy unit they claim to be? As local residents are forced to share their private lives and those of their loved ones, sinister secrets are slowly unearthed.

And all the while the killer remains in their midst, waiting for an opportunity to prepare another beautiful, watery grave …