The ITV programme is shot on location across the North East, with Brenda Blethyn to take up the role of Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope once more.
She will be joined by Kenny Doughty as Detective Sergeant Aiden Healy, Jon Morris as Detective Constable Jon Morrison, Ibinabo Jack as Detective Constable Jacqueline Williams and Riley Jones as Detective Constable Mark Edwards, while Paul Kaye returns as pathologist Dr Malcolm Donahue.
The series picks up as the team probes the murder of entrepreneur Freddie Gill, whose body is discovered by bailiffs as they arrive to repossess his house.
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As she delves into the case, the lead detective soon realises Freddie's professional life is just as turbulent as his family life, and she must uncover whether the motive behind his death lies with his relations, financial crisis or links to organised crime.
As the first of four feature-length episodes in the award-winning series, Blood Will Tell is to air from 8pm to 10pm on Sunday, January 12.
Among backdrops where filming took place on Wearside are Port of Sunderland, St Thomas Street in the city centre and the Queen Alexandra Bridge.
The Great North Air Ambulance also helped in the filming, with the show’s team donating one of DCI Stanhope’s distinctive hats to raise funds at its ball.
The charity appears in scenes shot at the highest pub in Britain, the Tan Hill Inn, in Swaledale, with one of its helicopters making a star appearance alongside crewmembers.
A spokesperson for the team said: “Most of what we do is life or death, so this made a really welcome change.
“It was only a small part, but something we can savour.
“As a charity, exposure like this is gold dust, so we were delighted to be able to help."
The stories, made by Silverprint Pictures, which is part of the ITV Studios, are inspired by the best-selling novels and characters created by crime writer Ann Cleeves, who received the Diamond Dagger Award at the Crime Writer’s Association in 2017 for a lifetime achievement for sustained excellence.