We have been watching Vera, the ITV detective series, not some random lady down the road. It’s amazing how fast everything moves in a detective drama. The other night was one of my favourites for speed. Vera wanted ‘armed response’ and ‘all units’ to some remote location. Because it suited the plot, they didn’t want Vera on her own at that point. Vera was in front, driving her beat up old Land Rover, she led the convoy of marked and unmarked cars including armed response. Obviously, that’s how it would happen in reality. If you need ‘armed response’ they would take up the rear and let an unarmed, and unprotected Vera go first. They had all responded, gathered and lined up behind Vera on a country lane in time to charge off after the criminals within minutes. At least she called on her radio and next thing they were there. Perhaps they ‘beamed in.’ You can’t buy that kind of entertainment; oh, wait a minute, yes you can.
At other points, forensics comes through faster than the speed of light or so slow you think it’s been held up by a ship on The Suez Canal. All depending on the plot needs. Bits of information turn up at just the right moment. Vera has blinding flashes of inspiration. Although, I do think she should have more blinding headaches given that she seems to drink more alcohol than she has food. Which is another point. This is a current police drama, yet she seems to be allowed to drink on duty, including at work! No one seems to be above her, yet she’s only a chief inspector. She breaks rules and is never brought to book. One time she actually said she can do what she wants. I bet Morse wished that was true for him.
For all of it’s plot and character weaknesses I love the series. It feels like they have taken a police procedural series from the 1970’s, added a dash of amateur detective to it and then a whole heap of fun. They are not bothered about accuracy or time lines. It’s just a good old fashioned murder mystery romp. That seems a very strange thing to say about a series that is about murder, but it is fiction and very obviously so.
Another reason I love watching it is the locations. Being filmed around the North East I often recognise the places. They stick Hartlepool in very often and in very incongruous ways. Of course, it’s not meant to be Hartlepool. The other week they used a couple of Hartlepool General Hospital Wards in an episode set in Northumberland.
If you have never seen the series, I hope I have piqued your interest. It is worth watching, it’s light entertainment. It’s certainly stranger than truth.
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