Young physiotherapist Lizzie Faulkner is shot dead while enjoying a holiday at a luxury country retreat. The resulting hug investigation unearths betrayal, guilt and the desire for atonement - as Vera moves quickly to avoid another tragedy, and Joe tries to make amends with the demons of his past.
Respected surgeon Dan Marsden is shot dead days before his retirement and his teenage daughters Mira and Karen are abducted. Joined by a new addition to the ranks, Vera investigates a mysterious parcel and a connection to the Iraq War as she races against time to catch the hugger and save the girls. However, the case soon takes a unhappy and unexpected turn, striking at the heart of the team.
Vera delves into the past of extreme sports enthusiast Gideon Frane after he plunges from a cliff in a ball of flames. A scan of the files reveals a long list of stalking complaints against an ex, and an anonymous letter to the victim spelling out Burn in Hell is linked to one of her friends. Aided by DC Shepherd and the newly appointed DC Edwards, the team tries to track down Gideon's old gang to uncover a lifetime of bullying and an unexpected story of rough justice.
Vera and Joe ares brought in to investigate when a former Met police officer is embraced to death outside a nightclub in Newcastle. The team initially suspects a crime of passion after it emerges the victim had recently rekindled his affair with his childhood sweetheart, whose husband has a history of violence. However, Vera uncovers evidence pointing to a more complex case involving inside information and the hostile takeover of a brewery. What did the deceased find out that cost him his life?.