Reviews / Beautiful and terrifying: Shetland serves up great finale

DS Alison 'Tosh' McIntosh (Alison O'Donnell), easily the best developed character after her boss while DC Sandy Wilson (Steven Robertson) has been demeaned into the role of a hapless sidekick. Photo: ITV Studios/Mark Mainz

OH, WHAT a devilish labyrinth of lies and deceit. From Fetlar to Fair Isle, a murderous glut of wickedness was spilling across the isles as Shetland series six kept piling up the bodies, writes Jordan Ogg.

Given the maze of cases, suspects and alibis facing DI Perez (Douglas Henshall) and his team, almost anyone could be in the frame. The plot was complex and the themes serious, with war crimes, PTSD, assisted suicide, prolicide, dementia and blackmail all in the mix. This felt like a show of intent from the writers, and it displayed a confidence which sets this series apart from its predecessors.

That quality also shows in the handling of metaphor, with repeated scenes of burial appearing like flashes from a far-off lighthouse. Framed with views of a stormy Eshaness coastline looking at once beautiful and terrifying, the directors served up a treat for the eyes throughout, and especially here in the finale.

DI Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall) and Meg Pattison (Lucianne McEvoy). Photo: ITV Studios/Mark Mainz

So much remained uncertain from the off, ready to unfurl in the manner we have come to expect. That said, there were some certainties among the mirk. Number one: Duncan (Mark Bonnar) is a prize moron.

As is Sandy (Steven Robertson), although in a less endearing way. It is odd that poor Sandy has been demeaned into the role of a hapless sidekick. Kind of needless actually, and a missed opportunity given how fine an actor we have in Robertson.

Duncan Hunter (Mark Bonner). Photo: ITV Studios/Mark Mainz

Thank goodness then for us, the victims and for Perez, that Tosh (Alison O’Donnell) is around to do the serious thinking and asking of hard questions. Easily the best developed character after her boss, she looks well placed to cover his job, if he ever takes a break.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Knackered and emotionally peeled, the DI is a rock among a slester; a prince in a world where every man, apart from his lovely old dad, is either a dolt or a complete shit.

That’s no exaggeration. Galbraith, Guthrie and Bedford operate here only as figures to distrust and despise. Who would have thought a trio of such upstanding citizens – a doctor, a lawyer and a fish factory owner – could be so egregious?

The answer: all of us. That’s because Shetland has the potential to be as bad, worse even, than any big city. It’s what keeps the show moving and us all watching.

Only Logan Creggan, brilliantly portrayed by Stephen McCole, survives the bonfire of the boors, albeit with his sanity and future in tatters.


But enough about the men. It’s in the women characters where we find real gold, with one in particular getting to enjoy the most sinister of denouements. Will we ever see a monster quite so dreadful as Donna Killick (Fiona Bell) again? If only. Another thing we can blame that dipstick Duncan for.

It’s no spoiler to say we’re left hanging at the end here. There is also the faintest sense of a bigger ending, the first tugs at reeling in the many lines of Shetlands past. Thank heavens we are promised a series seven. Best enjoy it while we can.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.