Vera (2011– )
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Death of a Family Man 

Vera delves into the tangled life of a businessman found floating in the water under the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.


David Richards


Ann Cleeves (characters), Martha Hillier

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Brenda Blethyn ... DCI Vera Stanhope
David Leon ... DS Joe Ashworth
Jon Morrison Jon Morrison ... DC Kenny Lockhart
Clare Calbraith ... Shep
Sonya Cassidy ... Celine Ashworth
Kingsley Ben-Adir ... Dr. Marcus Summer
Robert Glenister ... Owen Preece
Billy Howle ... Billy Shearwood
Maibritt Saerens ... Stella Shearwood
Colin Tierney ... Luke Shearwood
Olivia Armstrong Olivia Armstrong ... Jessie Ashworth
Tim Dantay ... Mark Donovan
John Draycott ... Tailor
Clare Kerrigan Clare Kerrigan ... Gemma Makins
Martin Oldfield Martin Oldfield ... Billy's Solicitor


When the body of haulage contractor John Shearwood is dragged from a river, the bruises on his knuckles suggest that his death was not suicide. His estranged wife, Stella, and brother Luke thought that he was in Dublin on business, but customs investigator Owen Preece tells Vera that John was working on his behalf to expose a smuggling racket by John's manager Mark Donovan. Donovan however was not at the murder scene at the time of death though both Stella and Billy, John's teenage son, a recovering drug addict, were in the vicinity. John was leading a double life with a girlfriend, Gemma Makins, though she turns out to be the mother of a young boy whom a drunken Billy once accidentally ran over and killed. But then Billy makes a startling confession, which eventually leads Vera to solving the case. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

18 May 2014 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

ITV Studios See more »
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User Reviews

Vera and Joe on the case
4 June 2015 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

When John Shearwood, a self-employed man, is found floating in the river with his shoes tied together, Vera (Brenda Blethyn) and Joe (David Leon) are brought in on the case.

They find that his hands have bruised knuckles, so they know a struggle took place. Investigating his family, they find nothing -- the family lives in the country, though the victim also had a flat in town. Vera learns that John's son Billy, a recovering drug addict, was in the vicinity at the time of the murder.

A customs officer visits Vera and informs her that Shearwood was working as a confidential informant to uncover a smuggling ring headed by Shearwood's boss, Mark Donovan. Donovan, however, was not near the murder scene at the time of the crime.

She then finds out that Shearwood is leading a double life with a woman named Gemma; but Gemma is in fact the mother of a little boy John's son accidentally ran over and killed.

It's up to Vera and Joe to unravel the various clues and happenings and figure out who killed Shearwood and why.

Interesting episode, with enough story to keep the viewer involved. As I have said before, Vera seems to have lightened up a little this season. I'm sure this is an acting choice by Blethyn as time has passed since the character's father died, and she's coming out of her dark feelings a little.

This may have been Leon's last episode, as I understand he left the show. I hope I heard wrong. He and Vera make a good team, and he's nice on the eyes as well.

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