Shetland’s a gripping slice of Tartan noir

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Wednesday: Shetland; (BBC One, 9pm)

When you think of crime dramas on the telly, what springs to mind? Nordic noir, perhaps, with its assortment of colourful jumpers and gloomy characters.

Well, if you nudge west along the Arctic Circle and then south a bit, you hit Scotland, which not only has altogether nicer knitwear, it’s also proving to be a rich breeding ground for some of the best crime dramas in recent memory.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Alongside the prolific Ian Rankin, who created the iconic John Rebus, there’s a smorgasbord of delights, if that’s the right word, considering the sometimes dark and twisted storylines on offer.

DI Jimmy PerezDI Jimmy Perez
DI Jimmy Perez

A quick glance at the BBC Scotland iPlayer page confirms two things: they’re keeping the rest of the world well supplied with cracking crime dramas north of the border, and Martin Compston has to be the uncrowned prince of the genre.

He features in The Nest, last year’s twisty piece about a young couple desperate to be parents, whose teenage surrogate mum turned out to be nothing but trouble, and was among the cast of Traces (co-created by novelist Val McDermid), about a woman’s return to Dundee to take up a post as a technician in a forensics lab.

Compston also showed his grit in the violent but gripping The Wee Man, and popped up again – albeit briefly – in the superb Vigil. Plus, he’s hinted at a return for Line of Duty, but while we wait for official confirmation, there’s more super Scottish drama to be soaked up.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Kelly Macdonald is riveting in The Victim, and who could forget Mark Bonnar’s scenery-chewing turn in Guilt, the second series of which premiered last week?

All of which brings us neatly to Scotland’s latest televisual export: series six of this sometimes bleak but never-less-than gripping slice of Tartan noir, inspired by the work of author Ann Cleeves.

Regulars Douglas Henshall, Alison O’Donnell, Steven Robertson, Mark Bonnar (he gets everywhere), Erin Armstrong, Anne Kidd and Lewis Howden are back for the six-part run, which sees the team probing the doorstep murder of a prominent local figure, a case which strikes at the heart of the Shetland Isles and its people.

As DI Jimmy Perez and his crew uncover a kaleidoscope of motives for the murder, their investigation soon takes a shockingly sinister turn.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Feathers are ruffled elsewhere in the community when murderer Donna Killick is released from prison on compassionate grounds, aggrieving many of the locals – not least Kate Kilmuir, her victim’s sister. Will Donna’s presence prove an added complication for the investigators as they try to solve their latest murder?

Speaking about his return to the role of Perez and the stunningly beautiful Shetland Isles, Henshall hinted we might not have to wait too long for a seventh series: “After all we’ve been through over the last couple of years, it’s wonderful to be back filming on Shetland again.

“Davy Kane has, once again, created stunning storylines in these two new series for Perez and the team to uncover the truth. Being back on the Shetland Isles has been wonderful. There is no location quite like it.”

Those gloomy chaps over in the Nordic countries may disagree, but we think Henshall’s got them bang to rights.

A message from the Editor:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Thank you