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Reviews / Some slippery plot lines, but love in the end

Shetland News TV critic Jordan Ogg on the final episode of Shetland 7

Tosh (Alison O'Donnell) is tipped to take over from her boss DI Perez (Douglas Henshall). Photo: Mark Mainz for BBC/Silverprint

WELL, there it is. The end. At least for DI Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall). The dour but huggable Shetland sleuth is calling it a day.

His reason? Love. Ah bless.

He will now dedicate himself to Meg (Lucianne McEvoy) instead of trying to cure the moral rot in the crime metropolis of the north. You can’t blame him really; he’s been at it for years now. And while he will be a miss, the fact that he hasn’t been killed off leaves the door open for a return someday.

Perez’s decision gives pause to Shetland being seen as one of the deadliest places on the planet. Over the course of seven series, audiences in the UK and across the globe have been entertained by more slippery plot lines than you can shake a smelly mackerel at.

It’s all been there: people smuggling, euthanasia, gang warfare and, of course, murder. Lots and lots of ghastly murder.

This series excelled in giving us some good deaths: a body stuffed into a suitcase then thrown in the sea; another hanging out of a car boot at the dump, and a third thrown over the banks bearing the scars of torture.

Each suggested the work of a suitably menacing killer, one with an unknown but intriguing motive. Such promise, sadly, fell off a cliff.

The plot unravelled like a gansey knitted in spaghetti, as the writers got themselves into a slester with a storyline about environmental extremists. While such types do exist, they tend to do things like glue themselves to art masterpieces or hold up traffic in big cities.

What they don’t do is turn minging caravans in the middle of nowhere into bombs. Because what would be the point in that?

Such dreadful plotting can be blamed for more than a few cases of tepid acting. No wonder Jamie Nary (Grant O’Rourke) tried to blow himself up when forced to utter so much dreck.

Thankfully, there were many redeeming moments to savour. Perez’s treatment of Loyd Anderson (Patrick Robinson), the artist with the gorgeous house, was classy.

Sandy (Steven Robertson) was finally given leave to use his brain and actually do some useful police work. He ought to be a shoo-in for a meatier role in whatever a future iteration of the series serves up.

It was moving to see Connor’s parents rediscover their bond and their late son’s best intentions after suffering so much loss. And the touching moment between Tosh (Alison O’Donnell) and Perez at the end will surely be the cause of much blubbing.

It looks like Tosh is well placed to take over from her boss. Let’s hope so, not least because it would be good to see how the writing might improve with a strong woman in the lead role – and improve it must.

Potential lines of inquiry could look at winding up some of the threads left dangling upon Perez’s exit.

Exhibit A: that weirdo library worker. He’s guilty of more than just bad taste in hairdoos and tank tops. Bring him in for questioning before there’s a fashion catastrophe at the Market Cross.

Exhibit B: the oddball fishing brothers. Who actually looks like these guys? You’d see better kept heifers on a cold day at the Marts. Get them locked up.

Exhibit C: the question everyone has been asking since this all started… What happened to that lovely collie dug from the police station?

Let’s hope we get some answers soon.


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