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Shetland (TV series)

Shetland is a British television crime drama television series, made by ITV Studios for the BBC and broadcast on BBC One, that first broadcast on 10 March 2013. Initially based upon the novels of Ann Cleeves, the series was brought to screen by David Kane, who has remained a principal writer through all four series.

Series title over a view of the sea and cliff
GenreCrime drama
Created byAnn Cleeves
StarringDouglas Henshall
Alison O'Donnell
Steven Robertson
Lewis Howden
Stewart Porter
Erin Armstrong
Mark Bonnar
Anne Kidd
Julie Graham
Composer(s)John Lunn
Country of originScotland
Original language(s)English
No. of series4
No. of episodes20 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Christopher Aird
Elaine Collins
Kate Bartlett
Producer(s)Sue de Beauvoir
Peter Gallagher
Eric Coulter
CinematographyJean-Philippe Gossart
Tim Palmer
Stijn Van der Veken
Editor(s)Joris Brouwers
Melanie Viner-Cuneo
David Fisher
Simon Starling
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)ITV Studios
for BBC Scotland
Original networkBBC One
Picture format1080i HDTV
Audio formatStereo
Original release10 March 2013 (2013-03-10) – present
External links

The series stars Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez, a detective inspector working for the Shetland police, Alison O'Donnell as Detective Sergeant Alison "Tosh" Macintosh, and Steven Robertson as Detective Constable Sandy Wilson. Mark Bonnar, Lewis Howden, Erin Armstrong, Julie Graham, and Anne Kidd are also credited as principal members of the cast.[1]

The story takes place largely on the eponymous Scottish archipelago, although much of the series' filming takes place on the Scottish mainland,[2] with only some location filming actually taking place on Shetland.[3] Four series have been broadcast to date.[4] Douglas Henshall won the 2016 BAFTA Scotland award for best actor for his role as Jimmy Perez, and the series received the award for Best TV Drama.[5]



The first series consists of two episodes; a single two-part story based on the novel Red Bones by Ann Cleeves.[6] This series was broadcast across two nights on 10 and 11 March 2013 and was produced by Sue De Beauvoir.[7] Subsequently, a second series was commissioned by the BBC. Series two was extended to contain six episodes. These were filmed in 2013 and screened in 2014. This series features three two-part stories based on Cleeves' novels Raven Black, Dead Water, and Blue Lightning. This series was produced by Peter Gallagher.[8]

Filming began in April 2015 for a third series, which began screening in January 2016.[9] This series saw a change in format; with all six episodes covering a single story, written exclusively for television.[10] This was the first series not to adapt any of Cleeves' novels.[9] Ciarán Hinds and Anna Chancellor were among the new cast members for this series.[11] A fourth series was announced by the BBC in July 2016.[12] Again, this series is a single story played out across six episodes and written exclusively for television. Stephen Walters and Neve McIntosh were among the new cast members announced for the series.[13] It was broadcast on BBC One beginning on 13 February 2018.[1]

In July 2018, Henshall confirmed that filming for series five would take place over the following four months.[14]

During the filming of the programme, the cast and crew are usually based in Glasgow[15] and other areas of mainland Scotland.[9][2] Filming often takes place in areas with landscape or buildings reminiscent of those on the Shetland Islands, such as Kilbarchan in Renfrewshire, Barrhead, where Henshall was born and grew up,[16] Ayr and Irvine, North Ayrshire. Filming locations on or near Shetland have included Lerwick, the main port of the Shetland Islands and on the NorthLink ferry approaching Lerwick.[17]


Douglas Henshall (Jimmy Perez) and Ann Cleeves (author) at Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival, 2017
Series 1
  • Sandra Voe as Mima Wilson
  • Claire Rafferty as Anna Haldane
  • Jim Sturgeon as Ronald Haldane
  • Gemma Chan as Hattie James
  • Geraldine Alexander as Gwen James
  • Lindy Whiteford as Jackie Haldane
  • James Greene as Andrew Haldane
  • Martin Wenner as Professor Paul Berglund
  • Alexander Morton as Joseph Wilson
  • Sophie Rundle as Sophie
Series 2
Series 3
Series 4



SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1210 March 2013 (2013-03-10)11 March 2013 (2013-03-11)
2611 March 2014 (2014-03-11)15 April 2014 (2014-04-15)
3615 January 2016 (2016-01-15)4 March 2016 (2016-03-04)
4613 February 2018 (2018-02-13)20 March 2018 (2018-03-20)

Season 1 (2013)Edit

Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
11"Red Bones – Part 1"Peter HoarDavid Kane10 March 2013 (2013-03-10)7.97
Elderly Shetlander Mima Wilson is found murdered on the archaeological site on the grounds of her croft. Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez and his team investigate, and find that somehow the murder is linked to the Shetland bus.
22"Red Bones – Part 2"Peter HoarDavid Kane11 March 2013 (2013-03-11)5.68
With two murders and no strong leads, Detective Inspector Perez and his team must apprehend the suspect before crowds descend on the Shetland Islands for Up Helly Aa, the biggest fire festival in Europe.

Season 2 (2014)Edit

Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
31"Raven Black – Part 1"John McKayGaby Chiappe11 March 2014 (2014-03-11)6.37
DI Jimmy Perez and his team investigate the murder of a teenage girl whose body was found on a secluded beach, and time and again the same name crops up – that of local recluse Magnus Bain, whose home overlooks the crime scene and who had forged an unlikely friendship with the victim. But then the procurator fiscal draws attention to the unsolved disappearance of a girl named Catriona 19 years previously – a case that shares several similarities with this one.
42"Raven Black – Part 2"John McKayGaby Chiappe18 March 2014 (2014-03-18)6.16
The discovery of seven-year-old Catriona's body after almost two decades prompts Jimmy Perez to take Magnus in for further questioning. But at the station, the recluse's distress leads to his attacking the inspector, and Magnus is sent for a psychological evaluation. Ploughing on, Perez re-examines the evidence, but it is only when Catriona's brother reveals she had a secret hiding place at their old home – the same house where Catherine also lived – that he finally sees a glimmer of hope.
53"Dead Water – Part 1"David MooreDavid Kane25 March 2014 (2014-03-25)5.56
A journalist dies in a suspicious car accident, and when it turns out he was an old friend of Perez's, a forensic scientist is called in to ensure an objective view of the case. As the team awaits her results, they look into the reasons for the victim's return to the island and find he was chasing a lead about plans for a controversial new gas pipeline.
64"Dead Water – Part 2"David MooreDavid Kane1 April 2014 (2014-04-01)5.53
The discovery of John Henderson's body leads DI Perez to wonder if this second killing is linked to the death of his journalist friend Jerry, a theory given greater weight by forensic investigator Willow Reeves' finds. But then the case takes another surprising turn with the arrival of Jerry's fiancee, carrying a memory stick he gave to her for safekeeping several weeks earlier.
75"Blue Lightning – Part 1"Stewart SvaasandRichard Davidson8 April 2014 (2014-04-08)5.29
A scientist is found dead in the bird observatory on Fair Isle, Perez's childhood home, so Perez and Tosh make their way across to the island, where they are greeted by Perez's father – just before flights are grounded by incoming storms. Working alone and without a forensic team, the detectives talk to the victim's friends, family, and colleagues – and as tensions run high, the storm forces Perez and the suspects to remain together under a single roof.
86"Blue Lightning – Part 2"Stewart SvaasandRichard Davidson15 April 2014 (2014-04-15)5.33
Time is running out for Perez and Tosh as their prime suspect lies critically ill in hospital, but it's unclear whether the fire that put him there was a drunken accident or if he was the second victim of Anna's real killer. The DI turns his attention to Finlay Caulfield regarding the photos of Anna on his camera, and while it becomes clear he was obsessed with her, it may not be enough to charge the stalker with her murder. There are still so many unanswered questions – until Sandy spots something on the CCTV footage that takes the investigation in a new direction.

Season 3 (2016)Edit

The broadcast of Episode 6 was delayed by due to coverage of an FA Cup replay being broadcast. In contrast to Season 2 (3, 2-part episodes), Season 3 is one 6-part story.

Title Directed by Written by UK air date UK viewers
91"Episode 1"Thaddeus O'SullivanGaby Chiappe15 January 2016 (2016-01-15)6.82
When a young man disappears on a ferry crossing and a small boy ends up in intensive care after overdosing on Ecstasy, Perez and the team become convinced the two events are connected.
102"Episode 2"Thaddeus O'SullivanRobert Murphy22 January 2016 (2016-01-22)6.02
Perez grows convinced that Michael Maguire is implicated in the grisly death of a young man, discovered in a shipping container.
113"Episode 3"Thaddeus O'SullivanRobert Murphy5 February 2016 (2016-02-05)6.21
Perez and Tosh's investigation leads them to Glasgow, where they hope to uncover the truth behind Maguire's brutal death and his connection to Robbie Morton. But old ghosts return to haunt Perez, and with his enemies trying to prevent him from getting to the truth.
124"Episode 4"Jan MatthysGaby Chiappe & Alexander Perrin12 February 2016 (2016-02-12)6.26
Perez and the team are determined to track down the person who aided Michael Thompson's killer. But as the case gathers pace, the officers involved find they are all under threat. Sandy comes across the killer by chance in a ruined building, and is knocked out. Tosh, returning from Glasgow, is abducted at the airport.
135"Episode 5"Jan MatthysGaby Chiappe19 February 2016 (2016-02-19)6.55
Tosh returns apparently unharmed, but the truth later comes out. Perez continues to investigate the double murder case, but finds bureaucracy getting in the way, until he tracks down a rape victim and discovers that her attacker was the son of Phyllis Brennan.
146"Episode 6"Jan MatthysDavid Kane4 March 2016 (2016-03-04)6.14
Perez and the team discover that the person responsible for the deaths of Robbie Morton and Michael Thompson is closer to home than they had thought.

Season 4 (2018)Edit

The broadcast of Episode 3 was delayed by 24 hours due to the broadcast of an FA Cup replay.

Title Directed by Written by UK air date UK viewers
151"Episode 1"Lee Haven JonesDavid Kane13 February 2018 (2018-02-13)6.72
Perez and the team are forced to re-open a 23-year-old cold case when convicted murderer, Thomas Malone, is released from prison. The case concerns teenager Lizzie Kilmuir, who was found strangled to death on a kiln. Upon returning to Shetland, Thomas tries to make amends with Lizzie's elder sister, Kate. Meanwhile, local journalist Sally McColl attends the Shetland Folk Festival with a group of her friends, but doesn't return home later that evening. The next day, she is found strangled to death on a kiln, in what looks like a copycat of Lizzie's murder. Perez is forced to break the news to Drew, Sally's father and a former police officer who lead the investigation into Lizzie's murder.
162"Episode 2"Lee Haven JonesLouise Ironside20 February 2018 (2018-02-20)6.28
Perez sets out to find out who attacked Thomas, and circumstances point to Benny Ray. Sandy interviews Jo Halley, who claims she saw Sally arguing with someone in Norwegian at the folk festival. Allan Killick reveals that he had realized that Sally had been lying to him when she was alive. A DNA test on a hair found on Lizzie Kilmuir's scarf, reveals it is a relative of Allan. However, when Allan's deceased father is tested, it turns out they are not related. Tosh interviews employees at Forst energy, a Norwegian company that Sally had been investigating, and finds a lead from Robbie's wife, but it runs cold, when she is paid off. Perez learns that Thomas' trial was unethical, partly because Benny Ray, who testified against Thomas, was a paid informant.
173"Episode 3"Lee Haven JonesPaul Logue28 February 2018 (2018-02-28)6.08
Tosh heads to Norway to track down the mysterious Andreas Hagan, where she meets detective Lars Bleymann, who takes an instant shine to her. Finding herself drawn into a murky world of far right campaigners, Tosh is alarmed when she returns to her hotel room later that night and finds someone going through her belongings. Perez interviews Donna after receiving the results of the DNA test.
184"Episode 4"Rebecca GatwardDavid Kane6 March 2018 (2018-03-06)5.31
Perez and Tosh find themselves being pursued by the secret service as their investigation in Norway continues, but when their prime suspect, Mathias Soderland, is found shot in the head whilst bearing a sign reading 'traitor', they are forced to return to Shetland. Perez questions Duncan about a videotape of a birthday party which Lizzie attended in the days before her death, in which he was present. Sandy receives a distress call from Jo Halley and arrives at her croft to find it has been ransacked.
195"Episode 5"Rebecca GatwardDavid Kane13 March 2018 (2018-03-13)[23]6.21
Tosh begins to question if Lars could somehow be involved in Sally's murder after picking up that he knew about roadworks that took place on the island a week before he arrived. A review the CCTV footage of Sally arriving in Norway reveals that her keychain holds a memory stick which contains video footage of Lars attending an NDA meeting. Under scrutiny, Lars claims that he was witness to the argument between Sally and another man on the night of her death, but Perez is shocked when Lars identifies Duncan.
206"Episode 6"Rebecca GatwardDavid Kane20 March 2018 (2018-03-20)[24]6.10
Jimmy realises that he has no choice but to bring Duncan in for questioning. Duncan denies murdering Lizzie and Sally, but does admit to having an affair with Donna Killick. During a review of images found on Sally's memory stick, Sandy finds a picture taken on the Unst Ferry in June 1993, shortly after Lizzie was murdered, that seemingly identifies the killer. When Duncan's DNA matches the sample found on Lizzie's scarf, Jimmy is forced to break the news to Cassie that Allan is her half-brother. After Donna confesses to the murder, Drew McColl tells Perez that he was trying to protect Donna, and that in doing so he killed his daughter, Sally. Finally clear of both murders, Thomas suffers a fatal heart attack and dies as a free man.

International broadcastsEdit


Year Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
2013 RTS Craft & Design Awards Best Music - Original Title John Lunn Nominated [39]
2014 BAFTA Scotland Best Actor - Television Douglas Henshall Nominated [40]
2015 BAFTA Scotland Best Television Drama Shetland Nominated [41]
2016 British Society of Cinematographers GBTC Operators Award - Television Drama Rodrigo Gutierrez Nominated [42]
2016 BAFTA Scotland Best Television Drama Shetland Won [5]
2016 BAFTA Scotland Best Actor - Television Douglas Henshall Won [43]
2016 BAFTA Scotland Best Directing - Film/Television Jan Matthys Nominated [44]
2016 BAFTA Scotland Best Writer - Film/Television Gaby Chiappe Nominated [45]


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  2. ^ a b "New crime drama for BBC one starring Douglas Henshall". BBC Media Centre. BBC. 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  3. ^ Clark, Sarah (6 March 2014). "There's been a murrrder: Shetland returns to BBC One". Visit Scotland.
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  5. ^ a b "Crime drama Shetland triumphs at Bafta Scotland". BBC News Scotland. BBC. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2017. Actor Television – Douglas Henshall, Shetland. … Television Drama – Shetland, ITV Studios/BBC One.
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  10. ^ "Shetland Stories". Ann Cleeves. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Game Of Thrones star to join new series of Shetland". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing Ltd. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  12. ^ "BBC One to Make Shetland Series 4 Soon". Premiere Date. 20 July 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-02-28. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  13. ^ "Who's in the Shetland cast? Douglas Henshall, Mark Bonnar, Stephen Walters, Neve McIntosh, Erin Armstrong and Julie Graham". The Sun. 2018-03-20. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  14. ^ Radish, Christina (6 July 2018). "Doug Henshall on 'Shetland', the Series' Evolution, and Looking Back on 'Outlander'". Collider.
  15. ^ English, Paul (2 March 2013). "Scottish actor Douglas Henshall on the perks of filming new BBC crime drama Shetland.. in & around Glasgow". Daily Record. Glasgow. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  16. ^ Beacom, Brian (21 March 2016). "Interview with Douglas Henshall, star of new film Iona". Herald Scotland. Glasgow. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  17. ^ Rampton, James (9 January 2016). "Actor Douglas Henshall returns for a third series of Shetland". Daily Express. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  18. ^ "Shetland Series 4 begins filming  – Inside Media Track". Inside Media Track. 2017-03-30. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
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  21. ^ "BARB – Broadcasters Audience Research Board". BARB. 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  22. ^ a b c "Weekly Viewing Summary (see relevant week)". BARB. Archived from the original on 13 July 2008.
  23. ^ "Shetland episode 5". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  24. ^ "Shetland episode 6". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Shetland". BBC First.
  26. ^ "Nieuwe fictie op Eén: Shetland" [New fiction on One: Shetland]. Eén (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  27. ^ "Shetland". British Columbia's Knowledge Network. Knowledge Network Corporation.
  28. ^ "Shetland: Rødt støv" [Shetland: Red dust]. DR (in Danish).
  29. ^ "Mord auf Shetland" [Murder on Shetland]. (in German). imfernsehen GmbH & Co. KG.
  30. ^ "Elenco Serie Tv 2018: calendario partenze" (in Italian). 11 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  31. ^ "Shetlandsaarten murhat" [Shetland Islands Murder]. Yle TV1 (in Finnish).
  32. ^ "Detectives". NPO (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 15 February 2017.
  33. ^ Clifton, Jane (14 January 2016). "TV Review: Shetland". Stuff. Fairfax New Zealand Limited.
  34. ^ "Shetland". NRK TV (in Norwegian).
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  36. ^ "Napovednik". MMC RTV Slovenija (in Slovenian).
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  38. ^ "Shetland". WGBH.
  39. ^ UK, Televisual Media Ltd. "Televisual | NEWS & COMMENTS". Retrieved 2018-07-09.
  40. ^ "British Academy Scotland Awards: Winners in 2014". Retrieved 2018-07-09.
  41. ^ "British Academy Scotland Awards: Winners in 2015". Retrieved 2018-07-09.
  42. ^ "Awards | British Society of Cinematographers". Retrieved 2018-07-09.
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  44. ^ "British Academy Scotland Awards: Winners in 2016". Retrieved 2018-07-09.
  45. ^ "British Academy Scotland Awards: Winners in 2016". Retrieved 2018-07-09.

External linksEdit