I’m kind of woozy with love of Vera right now. I just binge-watched the first three seasons of this British detective show on Hulu, and I’m wiped out. Vera has all the moody moors, wet weather, and windowless police station interiors I crave, plus it has Vera, played by Brenda Blethyn.
I first saw Blethyn in Mike Leigh’s 1996 film Secrets and Lies, in which she gave a legendary, shattering performance.
I haven’t done all my homework on Vera, but I’d bet my Addis that the writers are consciously channeling aspects of Columbo in the character of Vera. Her raincoat probably has its own dressing room. It’s a world-weary raincoat. She calls everyone “pet,” the great and the small, the feckless and the downright nasty. It’s disarming and irritating at the same time. She has a lovely, lilting voice, except when she roars in anger, which is when she is most magnificent.
Also: she knows how to run a damn investigation, which is more than I can say for some of these TV detectives these days. Vera has her staff jumping at all times.
Vera has a handsome sidekick, Jo, played by David Leon. He worships her like a puppy.
Vera has a sad backstory. She doesn’t dwell on it. We only get little peeks. Jo would like her to open up a little more.
Vera dresses like no other TV detective I’ve ever seen. Shirtwaist house dresses! The likes of which I haven’t seen since my grandma Mabel finally converted to trousers in the early 1970s.
Anyway, I simply love Vera. So much so that I am willing to endure Hulu’s clumsy commercial breaks and my local PBS station’s long hiatuses.
Vera is lovely to knit to. If you haven’t discovered her, and you like This Sort of Thing, you’re in for a treat.