Series nine of Vera has already aired in the UK; ITV aired four feature-length episodes on Sundays from 13 January.
Watch the trailer for Vera series nine below.
What will happen in the new series of Vera?
Plenty! The return of Vera kicks off with Blind Spot which sees Brenda Blethyn once more as DCI Vera Stanhope, investigating the death of newly qualified forensic psychologist Joanne Caswell who was working in Newcastle when her body was found dumped on a landfill site a good distance from home.
Vera soon discovers that Joanne had been looking into the crimes of a one-time patient who had recently taken their own life. Can she follow the trail to uncover a suspect with a motive to kill the victim?
In episode two, titled Cuckoo, a teenage boy is found stabbed to death at the boatyard of a quiet seaside town after bolting from his care home. This is a case that really gets under Vera’s skin as she unearths a world of drugs and gangs and exploitation.
This is followed by episode three, Cold River, which begins when a successful businesswoman behind an empire of beauty salons throws a lavish boat party – only for her sister to be found dead in the water.
The Seagull is the title of the fourth and final episode, which has been adapted from Cleeves’ latest book of the same title. This episode sees Vera re-open a cold case after uncovering not one but two skeletons hidden near Whitley Bay.
One appears to belong to a missing person – Robbie Marshall – but when one of Robbie’s old acquaintances is murdered in the present, Vera must try to connect the two deaths.
How many episodes are in Vera series nine?
There will be four standalone episodes, each of them two hours long.
Who is in the cast of Vera series nine?
Brenda Blethyn, of course, as the eponymous Vera, alongside Kenny Doughty returning as Detective Sergeant Aiden Healy who has worked hard to prove himself as DCI Stanhope’s trustworthy partner.
Rounding out the investigative team are Jon Morrison as DC Kenny Lockhart and Riley Jones as DC Mark Edwards. And then there’s Ibinabo Jack who portrays DC Jacqueline Williams, a transfer from the Fraud Squad in series eight.
Paul Kaye joins the cast as pathologist Dr Malcolm Donahue (above). “Paul brings a very interesting dynamic to his character and the show,” Blethyn says. “Malcolm is very stern which can often come across as him being rude. He is there to get a very serious job done so he doesn’t hold back if he feels Vera is overstepping the mark or cross examining his work.”
There’s also a bunch of stellar guest stars signed up for series nine – chief among them former Doctor Who star Peter Davison. Viewers should also keep an eye out for James Atherton (Coronation Street), Jodie McNee (Britannia) and Adrian Lukis (The Crown).
Vera has gained a reputation for its breathtaking landscapes and backdrops, and series nine is no exception.
Filming locations for the new run of episodes include Holy Island, Lindisfarne, and Spanish City in Whitley Bay.
Blethyn, who was born in Kent, says: “I can honestly say I love the beauty of Northumberland, whether it’s a seascape, landscape, the moors, or the city. It’s stunning.”
One slightly less glamorous location for the new series was the rubbish tip we see in the episode Blind Spot. “Working on the second biggest landfill in Northumberland in the summer is not really the best place to be!” Blethyn reports. “The methane was overwhelming. We all had specific instructions to wear special boots in case a nail went through our footwear.”