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.

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.