REVIEW Shetland (S6 E1/6)

Isn’t it strange. The bleaker and more stark the landscape is – and the less populated an island or country is – the more comforting a crime drama seems to be.

Take Shetland for example. Now on to its sixth series, this hardy perennial is set on those beautiful, windswept islands north of Scotland, and yet its return – and seeing that landscape again – feels just right. Of course, it helps there are characters we’ve grown with over the years, and in Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall) we have one that we are emotionally invested in and trust.

The good news is that Perez returns, as do Tosh, Sandy, Big Bearded Billy, Duncan… the whole lot.

But things start in a sombre, emotional way. Jimmy and Cassie attend his mother’s funeral on Fair Isle, and with his elderly father displaying all the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, you feel that this is triggering Jimmy all over the shop. His misty-eyed grief of both his mother and now father is interrupted by Tosh, who tells him that someone has been shot on his doorstep back on Lerwick.

And so we enter the case that will dominate the series.

Alex Galbraith was a well-known and popular lawyer who was at the centre of the community. Helping migrants settle in Lerwick? Check. Getting involved in a custody case with substance addict Lynda Morton and catching heat from her? Check. Vilified for defending the Donna Killick (remember her?), who just so happens is being released from prison? Check again.

So when he’s almost run off the road and then takes a bullet at his home in a very professional hit, it’s not a surprise exactly, but not not a surprise, if you see what I mean.

And then we get into it. Jimmy, juggling all of his churned-up feelings, and the team set off on a helter-skelter procedural journey.

We learn that Galbraith’s wife is likely to be the islands’ next MP and is involved in the anti-oil movement. We meet Eamon Gauldie, who took some drone footage around the home of Galbraith at the time of the shooting. We also meet Logan Creggan, an Iraq war veteran who was failed by Galbraith, and his true-crime-obsessed son Fraser, who goes around quoting Nietzsche.

At the end of the episode the list of suspects seems to be growing by the minute, and there’s a lot to take on board. But Shetland being Shetland it’s all nicely balanced and it never feels too much, the names and the motives balanced as they are with real human drama.

Returning series like this live and die by the strength of the story, and over the years – if we’re being brutally honest – some have been stronger than others. But this one has real promise, displaying all the quintessential Shetland tropes and then some. It was good stuff and a strong start. Shetland, it’s good to have you back.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4 out of 5.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. murphsilver says:

    On Wed, Oct 20, 2021 at 5:00 PM The Killing Times wrote:

    > Paul Hirons posted: ” Isn’t it strange. The bleaker and more stark the > landscape is – and the less populated an island or country is – the more > comforting a crime drama seems to be. Take Shetland for example. Now on to > it sixth series, this hardy perennial is set on t” >


  2. Lessley Watters says:

    Not much of it is actually filmed on Shetland.


  3. Susan Brown says:

    I love this show. I didn’t even know it had already returned to tv. I feel bad about it. Now I’m wondering if I will ever get to watch it again!


  4. Elaine says:

    A solid start. Good to see most of the main cast, although as a fan of Julie Graham, was disappointed not to see her. Nice call back to earlier series.


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