Reviews / Hey BBC, more Shetland please…and soon

Three deaths, another rape, extortion and money laundering. That’s a lot for any detective to deal with. Anna Chancellor as senior procurator fiscal Phyllis Brennan, Douglas Henshall as DI Jimmy Perez and Julie Graham as Shetland procurator fiscal Rhona Kelly - Photo: Mark Mainz/ITV Studios

HAVING left audiences waiting two weeks for the grand finale of BBC TV series Shetland, it was a case of bringing it all back home for the big reveal, writes Jordan Ogg.

A slimy lawyer in service to a brutal Glasgow big man. A dodgy senior cop who might be covering for her rapist son. Three deaths, another rape, extortion and money laundering.

That’s a lot for any detective to deal with, let alone Jimmy Perez based all the way up in Shetland. Was our man going to find the missing link?

Well, of course he was; this was the final episode after all. But in the interests of avoiding spoilers, for now at least, let us reflect on what else we learned.

First off, the BBC are sods for making us wait an extra week to find out.

Now that’s by with, no review of Shetland can pass without mentioning that DI Perez has to be the luckiest Loganair passenger in Scotland.


By some mystery, which even he probably couldn’t begin to solve, every flight he took to and from Glasgow (and he flew a lot) somehow managed to arrive on time and without any terrifying midair malfunction.

Perez’s constant flying must surely now mean that he boasts one of the most enviable Avios accounts in the land. Perhaps he’ll donate the points to his new girlfriend Asha, a character whose presence in this series finally let us see the DI enjoy himself a bit.

He really needs to not blow it with her, especially now the other ladies in his life are jetting off. Daughter Cassie is headed for Brazil, while side-kick Tosh wants a transfer south. The latter is most concerning. If another series is made, she’ll have to be written back in.

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Bringing her rape into the storyline was a shock, yet one handled with tact and skill. A bright, strong and ambitious young woman was nearly destroyed, and the telling of her experience allowed for a standout performance from Alison O’Donnell in the role.

Nothing gratuitous was brought to the screen. It wasn’t necessary; the terrible reality of her situation was devastating enough.

Shetland itself appeared as a relatively minor character in this series, a necessary sacrifice in order to bring out the Glasgow-based parts of the storyline. That being said, future productions could learn from Trapped, the superb Icelandic crime drama currently showing on BBC 4.

The two share much in common. What Trapped does so well, however, is locate all of the action within one tiny location. This lets the lives of the locals be explored – their affairs, their dodgy habits, their secrets – something Shetland missed.


Speaking of things missing – and here I need to add a spoiler alert – there is a rather massive hole in the plot: how did Leanne, or Lena, know Michael Thomson’s name and that the dodgy lawyer would be interested to know his whereabouts?

Maybe that’s what Perez was pondering as he sipped his dram down by the Lerwick waterfront in the closing scene. Or perhaps he was just pleased to be chilling after what was a gripping, well executed and at times moving few weeks.

More please BBC, and soon.


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