Reviews / Shetland finale rounds off ‘most accomplished series yet’

Photo: Mark Mainz for ITV Shetland

It’s his toughest case yet, Zezi’s life hangs in the balance and he might be falling in love. Is it all getting too much for DI Jimmy Perez? Jordan Ogg has his say on the series five finale of Shetland, which was broadcast on BBC One tonight (19 March).


Jeezo, Jimmy. Not only are there more murders than ever, Shetland has become the outpost of an international people trafficking ring. There’s also a spot of black fishing, a bit of arson and a bloody kidnapping to solve.

And who is the DI relying on to sort it all out? Himself, Sandy and Tosh. “Bastards!” No wonder he’s swearing his head off this time. After five seasons of this stuff, you would think he might have been allocated a few more cops to help keep a lid on things. No such luck.

That Rhona, the procurator fiscal, has a lot to answer for. She should have been on the phone demanding reinforcements years ago. Instead she just stomps around being difficult. Even a few of the dafties from Inverness would be better than nothing.


They couldn’t do a worse job than Sandy who, in turning his accent up to 11 this time around, seems to have ground his wit down to zero. Just see how he looked after the cuddly ginger fisherman.

He’s hurting noo, mind, wir Sandy. Will he ever stop fae draan doon is broos? Will he ever be suspended? Will he ever change his green sark?


Tosh is great, though. Everyone loves Tosh. She never mucks up, and she’s pulled, which is just the best news. But will her man stick around? He’d better.

And what about Alice? Bewitching, breathless and earnest, or fey, sleekit and irritating; like her or loathe her, could she manage to make love at the Lodberries become real? Might we get to find out in series six?

Unlikely, perhaps, as she would first have to get past Jimmy’s hetero-life-mate, Duncan. Their relationship really glowed this time. As it moved from warring to loving, exasperation to understanding, the scenes of the two of them enriched the core plot with a truly interesting male-to-male dynamic. Just as well Cassie is away at university in Glasgow, otherwise Duncan wouldn’t be lodged up in her room.

Thank goodness indeed for Glasgow, the urban heart of darkness from which all of Shetland’s evils stem. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

That sleazy Scallowegian businessman Graham Benson is definitely connected with some very nasty business in the dear green place. Shetland, in turn, appears to have become a kind of purgatory for weegie scallywags like the idiot McGuire and his fellow kidnapper Doyle.


Here we have the Perez formula: there’s a crime in Shetland. What? Not again! It must have something to do with Glasgow. Why? Because everyone in Shetland (except Sandy) speaks in a Glaswegian accent. Who’s the murderer? Someone from Glasgow. Aha! Yes, the one you didn’t think of until near the end. Aye.

The best thing? It works. It really does, and it keeps getting better. Series five is easily the most accomplished yet, with grittier, nastier crimes and criminals; and deeper, more meaningful explorations of characters and their motives.

All we need now is for Shetland to remain as murderous as ever, so that Jimmy can once again rally his squad for another thriller in the global crime capital of the north.

Jordan Ogg