Vera Witness raises intense questions for DCI Vera Stanhope as she discovers haunting evidence that no-one can truly outrun their past

Vera Witness starts off with one case but it soon becomes clear that trauma from the past has inspired the recent crimes…

Vera Witness explained. Seen here is DCI Vera Stanhope played by Brenda Blethyn
(Image credit: BritBox/ITV)

Vera Witness delivers a heart-wrenching final revelation that evokes questions about justice, revenge and justification like never before.

Throughout the past few months ITV have been giving Vera fans another chance to see some of the long-running drama’s best-loved episodes over on ITV3 as they await the new series of Vera finally getting a release date. These have typically followed a chronological order, working through season 6’s Vera The Sea Glass right through to the likes of season 7’s Vera Broken Promise. The latest episode to grace our screens again, however, has mixed up the pattern from the week before. Airing on Thursday 21st September, Vera Witness is the opening episode of season 11 and it delivered an especially emotional tale.

We're used to seeing some intense twists as DCI Vera Stanhope sets off in pursuit of the truth, but this episode takes things to another level. For those who’re looking for more details about Vera Witness, prepare yourself for a heartbreaking final twist.

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

BRENDA BLETHYN as Vera Stanhope and KENNY DOUGHTY as DS Aiden Healy.

(Image credit: ITV STUDIOS FOR ITV)

Vera Witness ending explained: Who killed Tullman? 

As the name might suggest, Vera Witness focused on the murder of a witness in a trial - Jim Tullman, who’d been found dead on the steps of a monument. He’d been due to testify in court at an upcoming trial of Marcus Hynde, a dangerous criminal. Despite the suspicion that he could’ve been killed to prevent him identifying Hynde in court or for another reason connected, the motive for Tullman’s murder was revealed to have been a lot more personal. 

Vera in the Vera season 11 trailer

(Image credit: YouTube/BritBox)

After conducting as thorough an investigation as we’ve come to expect, the mac-wearing DCI had an enlightening interview with Jim Tullman’s wife Barbara, presenting her with evidence of two blood-covered shirts. Barbara then opened up about a fight that Tullman and their son John Paul had been involved in outside The Fig Tree restaurant two years earlier. 

This proved to be the key to the case and Barbara shared that she’d kept the shirts from that night as leverage over her husband to allow her to get away from him. She also provided a name for the man her husband had attacked - a young lawyer, Aldo Rossi. He’d collapsed in court and died and had been identified by Tullman as the man he’d attacked. 

Vera and DS Aiden Healy then visited Aldo’s mother who explained that her son had always said he wasn’t one to settle down with a wife and kids. The detectives then came across a photograph of Aldo and Ewan Webster. Ewan works for a charity that represents victims’ families who had been involved in supporting Monica and Victor Samaasi in the case against Hynde. It became clear that Aldo had been far more to Ewan than just a friend. 

Showing up to court and waiting until she and Ewan had the room to themselves, Vera expressed her sympathy to him for the loss of Aldo. Despite her empathy for all he’d gone through, Vera wasn’t about to let the matter of Jim Tullman’s murder lie in Vera Witness. Proceeding carefully, she prompted him about the night Aldo and he had dinner at The Fig Tree - the moment that kickstarted the tragic turn-of-events that ultimately lead to murder.

A still of Vera and Aiden in the Vera season 11 trailer

(Image credit: YouTube/BritBox)

Ewan confirmed Tullman and John Paul had been waiting for them. The charity worker confessed that he’d tried to help Aldo but that he’d been held against the wall by John Paul, leaving him powerless. Afterwards he’d taken Aldo home and although he was in a “bad way”, he’d said he was alright. It was six days later that Ewan had received that call saying that Aldo had collapsed and died in court. This shattered Ewan’s world and Vera asked him why he didn’t go to the police at the time and report Tullman.

Ewan explained that he wouldn’t have been able to identify Tullman and that the hospital couldn’t confirm that Aldo had died as a direct result of the attack. Then, two years later, Ewan had been there when Tullman had been shown around the court and as soon as he’d seen him, he’d known that this was the same man who’d assaulted Aldo.  

Vera season 11 trailer still image

(Image credit: YouTube/BritBox)

Believing that no justice could be achieved through the law for the two-year-old crime, he had taken his revenge. But Ewan maintained that he hadn’t intended this initially and had tried to “forget about it.”

He’d gone to Tullman’s house and wanted him to confess, but he’d denied hurting Aldo and accused Ewan of harassment. Vera suggested that Ewan had “spooked” Tullman and that this was why he’d backed out of identifying Marcus Hynde in court. 

Ewan then expressed sadness for Monica and Victor who had been desperate to see justice done with the conviction of Marcus Hynde. Nodding in agreement, Vera asked about the drugs and it was revealed that Ewan had told Tullman he’d leave him alone if they had a drink together.

Seen here are stars Brenda Blethyn and Kenny Doughty

(Image credit: ITV STUDIOS FOR ITV1)

They’d walked up to the monument where Tullman’s body was later found and Ewan had been desperate to get him to admit to what he did, but he laughed. Vera said that the laughter was a result of spiking the drink with the drugs, but an enraged Ewan hadn’t realised at the time and had attacked him. He’d then shoved Aldo’s ring down Tullman’s throat, thinking it might make him feel better. 

Vera Witness ended with Vera’s assertion that it wouldn’t have done and her advice to Aiden to be patient with his wife Charley. She’d also remarked upon how Ewan hadn’t killed John Paul like he’d done Tullman (though the charity worker did attack him in Vera Witness) as he couldn’t bring himself to do it. 

Vera seasons 1-12 are available to watch via ITVX.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!