After nine years and 38 episodes, this was the moment Douglas Henshall bid farewell to Jimmy Perez, the Shetland islands’ very own chief protector and high sheriff.
Like all the best crime characters, Henshall and Perez seemed a perfect match – Henshall’s friendly, soft features belying a simmering passion and old-fashioned masculinity beneath the surface. They fitted each other like a glove, and although he’s enjoyed success elsewhere, Jimmy Perez felt like Henshall’s ultimate role.
All that being said, we had a complex case to tie up, and, of course, had to find out how Perez was going to leave the show. Would it be with Meg, after realising that the job finally had become too much for him and a hindrance to future happiness; or would it be on a stretcher on the way to the morgue?
This has been a strong series, with an engrossing story at its heart – aptly, with Shetland and the islands’ future and wellbeing at its heart.
But there was plenty of drama before we found out what was to be Jimmy’s fate. Jamie Nary (possibly the only lead who wasn’t processed or had much of a backstory so far) was revealed to be the eco-terrorist and murderer at large around Lerwick, and there proceeded a frantic evacuation of the town centre and search for the wanted man. We all know that Shetland has, in the past, used up its budget with some pyrotechnics and explosions, so blowing up Lerwick was not out of the realm of possibility. And, of course, we had the Jimmy question always at the back of our minds – any dicey situation provoked an ‘OH GOD THIS IS IT’ reaction.
So when Jimmy – trademark pea coat with its collars turned up, naturally – waded through the streets of the town, quite obviously in extreme jeopardy, we all no doubt wondered whether this was going to be it for him. And when he had a one-on-one confrontation with Nary (who explained he was avenging his ex-activist partner’s death) on a cliff edge, the latter clutching his bomb, our anxiety deepened.
Thankfully, Jimmy survived.
However, breathing a sigh of relief was one thing, but when it came to the story and the case, I really didn’t buy Jamie Nary’s motivation for murdering Connor and Bryd. At all. He said they weren’t committed enough. Was that enough to kill two people? It felt a little lame to me.
However, with Nary on his hospital bed, he admitted to the murders of Connor and Bryd, but not to Suitcase Man. So another murderer was out there. With Lloyd Anderson still in the cells, and no one else knowing about his double life, the only person who could’ve done anything to anyone threatening his existence was his wife, Alison, another person who hasn’t yet been properly examined as a suspect. And so Alison it was.
It was an interesting reveal, full of emotion – as we all thought, Jimmy found a way to let Lloyd go and recommend a safe and sudden route out of the country, but he had to leave behind the woman he loved and the woman who, in many ways, sacrificed her own future to save his.
This complex and nuanced situation was Shetland all over – full of grey areas and flawed characters – and certainly, the final scenes ramped up the emotion. Jimmy told a furious Rhona – who had just found out about Lloyd Anderson’s release – that he was quitting and he then had to tell Tosh. Wow, what an emotional scene – the master passing on his torch to the apprentice, an apprentice who admitted her nervousness and pondered on whether she could do the job. I was close to tears at this parting of the ways.
I think I speak for all fans of the show when I say that she is well up to the job, and we’ll be cheering her on. She brings with her more of an emotional approach to policing, to go along with her outstanding instincts. Series eight has been commissioned, don’t forget, and will start production soon. I hope they don’t muck things around. I want to see Tosh as a DI.
As for Jimmy, he did indeed choose Meg and happiness over his career; a career that he had used to create distance between himself and any emotional attachment since the death of Fran, his first wife. He wanted to be happy again, and he took the plunge. Finally.
When a beloved character says farewell, you just want them to be happy. Realising that he was putting himself in danger more often than she should be, and flying closer to the flame more than he had ever done, he actually made the right decision.
To live and to be happy.
Although the landing to the case was a little bumpy, you can’t argue with the nature of and the motivations for Jimmy’s farewell.
To quote a famous film, he chose life.
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE ONE REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE TWO REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE THREE REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE FOUR REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE FIVE REVIEW
Shetland is broadcast on BBC One and iPlayer in the UK