Vera Stanhope, the most unlikeable detective on TV

I’ve binge-watched all the British cop series that I like (some of them a couple of times) so I’ve been scraping the bottom of the barrel and that has brought me to Vera. What a bitch that woman is. Holy cow- I thought Inspector Morse was a cranky bastard, but she is worse and without even a molecule of his (scant) charm.

She is rude to her staff, sarcastic, mocking and insulting to people she’s questioning, and hasn’t any charisma of any sort. It’s a feature of her character that she doesn’t like children and doesn’t want to be around them They seem to have gone overboard (successfully) in an effort to make her completely unattractive-- bad hair, bad clothes, frumpy-dumpy walk. She never seems to lighten up.

Her sergeant Joe is a mopey sad sack, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile. Occasionally he calls her out on her rude behavior and makes half-hearted, pathetic attempts to civilize her, but she talks back and shuts him up 90% of the time. Vera is consistently condescending and almost abusive to Kenny, a male detective closer to her in age. In the first or second episode she’s so rude to Holly, a very competent female detective on the staff that the woman puts in for a transfer and leaves. The medical examiner for the first few seasons was a slimy guy who hinted at his sexual escapades while cutting into dead bodies. The banter and insults often go on in law enforcement ensemble shows, but there’s usually affection and respect, too. I don’t see it in this group. There’s just not much chemistry among the team of police officers, but I’m on the last episode, so will soon be done with it.

The plots are okay and as one reviewer on IMDB said, the show falls somewhere in between the “cozies” and the hard-hitting shows like Luther. There’s no overt violence, no fights or car chases, and rarely do you even get a lingering close-up look at a dead body. I appreciate this very much, as lots of violence seems to be a substitute for good writing in some shows.

HOWEVER, the scenery and camera work are stunning. The sweeping vistas of the landscape, the ocean, the green, often treeless hills, ancient stone walls… what a beautiful setting and exquisitely filmed.

Is there some kind of prize for starting threads that get lots of views but NO REPLIES? If so, I nominate myself. This is about the third time this has happened this year.

Well, if it makes you feel better, after reading your OP, I watched the S2 trailer and I thought it looked really interesting. Once I work through some of the stuff on my backlog, I may give Vera a try.

The stories are definitely good and usually offer a twist right at the end. Sometimes I have a hard time keeping the characters straight, because there are often plenty of suspects.

It does make me feel better.

ETA. What kind of stuff do you have in your backlog? I’m running out of things to watch.

Once Upon A Time

are the big ones.

*Look, shut up, ok. I like sitcoms and the current ones I watch are all on season break.

We’ve had The Miserable Detective Who Likes Opera And Beer, this is The Detective In A Shapeless Hat, in the interests of gender equality.

Is this Brenda Blethyn playing against type? Or have I just only managed to see her in fluffy-headed and semi-sweet roles (Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, or Cynthia in Secrets and Lies)? Even in Little Voice she was blowsy and mean, but not completely lost to better feelings.

Looking at the “poster” for the series in IMDB, it is certainly a different look for her than I am used to.

Is there anywhere on cable or broadcast TV in the U.S. where one can see this series?

It looks like seasons 1 and 2 are on Hulu and amazon video. Otherwise check your PBS listings.

Does Cal Lightman from Lie To Me count as a detective? That character went from “arrogant but probably a good guy deep inside” to “nope, he’s just a complete dickwad” sometime between S2 and S3. I’m not familiar with Vera Stanhope though.

I’ve been watching Vera on Acorn TV on my Roku.

I’ve watched all of Lie to Me. Interesting stories, good premise, but he definitely was a bit of a dickwad.

Love Frasier. I’ve been rewatching all of 30 Rock. Brilliant stuff.

You know what it is, though? I’ve been meaning to reply to this thread all day. And every time I try… stuff happens. I’m sick of stuff, today.

Not that I’ve got anything much to contribute, that is, except mostly to agree with what you had to say: I think “gone overboard” is exactly what they’ve done with Vera – almost to the point of caricature.

I am glad that you like the scenery, though – it’s the part of the world I call home, so it’s good to see it appreciated.

But, if you don’t mind, I will just pull you up on one, very minor point: properly speaking, the vast majority of our stone walls don’t get to be any more than “very old”. It’s a fussy point, like I say, but we do have this one wall that actually is ancient: it mostly doesn’t look like much these days, but we like to make sort of a thing of it. :smiley:

Oh my. I do love those wide open spaces. I like trees okay, as long as they don’t cut off too much of the sky. I love to see the horizon. I don’t want anything sneaking up on me.

Well, in the USA, anything older than about 200 years is very old. I’ve only been to England once, but I remember that everything was really really old by our standards. Not just “old” but “old with recorded history attached to it.” :slight_smile:

Jim Longmeier from “The Glades” on the US A&E series was supposed to be seriously annoying and he kinda was. I thought his needy, wishy washy, whiny ass girlfriend was a LOT more annoying than he was … but he WAS kinda annoying.

You’re right, she’s a piece of work but she’s growing on me. If you like the writing, based on books by Ann Cleves, she has written another series based in Scotland that’s been adapted for TV. it’s called Shetland and stars Douglas Henshall, who is lovely, much more so than Vera!

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately I can’t find it on any of my Roku channels. Acorn TV has the most British shows. It may turn up there one of these days.

I, too, meant to reply to the thread. Me, I really like the series–what I’ve seen so far. I’ve watched 3-5 episodes. They’re pretty dark, because I just came off watching a bunch of frothy Midsomer Murders :slight_smile: (I have a serious crush on Ben Jones). I found the *Vera *series so far to be really well-acted, well-written and well-paced. Vera the character is definitely an odd duck, but that’s all right. Her DS is easy on the eyes as well. Love the moody landscapes.

I started one of the books, but didn’t get it read. Surprisingly, I like the series better than the books (so far). That is not usually how it happens with me!

I like Vera - but I tend to like curmudgeons - a bit like Frost, but without a softer side.

I think the thing to remember is, it’s grim up north.

The SO records the episodes so we can watch them.

We like the show.

Two yr old thread, but just started watching Vera a few weeks ago and right now in the middle of S5E1 stopped to do a search to see if I was the only one annoyed with Vera. Good to know it’s not just me.

ThelmaLou you nailed it. Curmudgeon is one thing but the Vera character is toxic, an abusive bully. In reality her staff would be in and out like a revolving door, complaints filed & HR investigations. Kenny told new DI Healy “she doesn’t like cheeky”. I thought, oh my gosh she’s seriously the worst one for being “cheeky”. Her condescending attitude is off the charts and the constant smarmy “M-mm?” after a rhetorical question is cringeworthy. She elbows her way into homes and goes through private property without a warrant. When there’s a protest she says, “okay, we can always arrest you…” She doesn’t care how many people she offends or steps on, innocent or grief-stricken included, or that she may reek of whiskey while doing her job.

Curious how the character comes across in the book versus the tv series? It would be nice to have seen the character grow from being less self/work absorbed to seeing the people around her, and a wardrobe update for Vera would make everyone happy. She’s a pretty lady and they dress her like she’s going to go out and plow the fields. All of this isn’t an actress problem, it’s a director problem.

I like the series just get weary of the narcissistic abusive behavior. Acting and story lines are good. Agree that the scenery is seriously breathtaking. Also appreciate that it’s done in good taste. Filming and writing are very well done. It would be nice to have the other characters developed more, and for them to have more lines. Binge watching a series really makes it clear how little the other characters are used.

Thanks for the post and place to vent.

Thanks for reviving this one. She does get a little better (more civil). The plots are good, and the scenery is spectacularly forlorn and gorgeous.