There’s another case for Vera

Vera (ITV1, 8pm)

Brenda Blethyn’s detective is well known for solving mysteries.

However, there was one puzzle that loyal fans of the fisherman’s cap-wearing sleuth wanted answering more than any other in 2022.

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Just where did the missing episodes go?

Early last year, with the popular crime drama two thirds of the way through its latest season, it was strangely pulled by ITV to make way for the return of The Good Karma Hospital and the launch of Trigger Point.

It’s safe to say that viewers weren’t happy and they scrambled around for answers, wanting to know if and when the final two episodes of the series would be aired.

Then, they became even more annoyed when they heard Americans had the chance to watch the rest of the series, via the Britbox streaming service, before them.

Nevertheless, good things come to those who wait, and UK viewers are now finally getting to see the conclusion of series 11, before a brand spanking new season starts next Sunday.

In last week’s fifth show, Vital Signs, DCI Stanhope was called in to investigate after a woman’s body is found in the back of a burned-out car.

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And the job doesn’t get any easier for the detective tonight in The Way the Wind Blows, as she heads to the banks of the River Tyne, where the body of another young woman has been washed up.

Initially, the victim, Lisa Mullworth, appears to have been a popular manager at a local green energy turbine company, as well as a loyal friend and a loving mother and wife.

However, Vera uncovers a web of intrigue, betrayal and lost promises as she attempts to unravel Lisa’s complicated personal and professional life and find her killer.

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The detective also has to deal with a mountain of lies from the victim’s family about their whereabouts and knowledge of the overall situation.

The exploits of Vera, taken from the pages of author Ann Cleeves’ popular books, have been on screens on ITV for nearly 13 years, and the iconic character’s popularity shows no sign of waning.

The fourth of the upcoming 12th season’s episodes, The Darkest Evening, will be the show’s 50th, and according to Blethyn it will see viewers “learn more about Vera and her family” as she visits Brockburn House, where she has memories of visiting with her father as a child.

“I feel rather proud of having reached the landmark of 50 episode – a great achievement for everyone involved,” Blethyn adds.

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DCI Vera Stanhope, DS Aiden Healy, DS Kenny Lockhart, DC Mark Edwards and DC Jack Williams

It’s going to be a packed year for Vera fans, as there’ll also be another new episode – an adaptation of Cleeves’ latest novel The Rising Tide – premiering later in 2023.

“Who would have thought when we made that Vera pilot 13 years ago that we would be talking about having made 51 films?” Blethyn adds.

“I know the character better than anyone so when we have new writers coming in, I just look at the scripts for tiny anomalies.”

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As long as the scriptwriters and ITV bosses keep any surprises in the show itself, rather than in the scheduling, everyone will be happy.