Shetland (TV series)

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Series title over a view of the sea and cliff
Genre Mystery
Based on Characters created by Ann Cleeves
Starring Douglas Henshall
Alison O'Donnell
Steven Robertson
Mark Bonnar
Julie Graham
Composer(s) John Lunn
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English, Scots
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 14 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Christopher Aird
Elaine Collins
Kate Bartlett
Producer(s) Sue de Beauvoir (Series 1)
Peter Gallagher (Series 2)
Eric Coulter (Series 3)
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) ITV Studios for BBC Scotland
Original network BBC One
Picture format HDTV (1080i)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 10 March 2013 (2013-03-10) – present
External links

Shetland is a BBC Scotland crime drama television series starring Douglas Henshall as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez. The story takes place largely on the Scottish archipelago of Shetland, though much of the filming is done on the Scottish mainland,[1] with some on location in Shetland.[2] It is largely based on the novels by Ann Cleeves. Three series have aired and a fourth series has also started filming.[3] Star Douglas Henshall won the 2016 Bafta award for best television actor and the show (made by ITV for BBC One) received the award for best TV drama.[4][5]

Production history[edit]

The first series consists of two episodes as a pilot – a single two-part story based on the novel Red Bones by Ann Cleeves.[6][7] It was broadcast on 10 and 11 March 2013. Subsequently, a full second series was commissioned by the BBC. Series two contains six episodes, filmed in 2013 and screened in 2014. It features three two-part stories based on Ann Cleeves' novels Raven Black, Dead Water, and Blue Lightning.[8] Filming began in April 2015 for a third series which began screening in January 2016.[9] A fourth series was announced by the BBC in July 2016.[10] The upcoming series will once again contain six parts and began filming in March 2017.[3]

During filming of the various series, the cast and crew usually worked on mainland Scotland, including Glasgow but also in areas with landscape or buildings reminiscent of those on the Shetland Islands such as Kilbarchan (Renfrewshire), Barrhead where Henshall was born and grew up,[11] in Ayr and in 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.[12][13][1][14]

Series overview[edit]

Series Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 2 10 March 2013 (2013-03-10) 11 March 2013 (2013-03-11)
2 6 11 March 2014 (2014-03-11) 15 April 2014 (2014-04-15)
3 6 15 January 2016 (2016-01-15) 4 March 2016 (2016-03-04)


Main cast[edit]

  • Douglas Henshall as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez (Series 1– )
  • Alison O'Donnell as Detective Constable/Detective Sergeant Alison 'Tosh' MacIntosh (Series 1– )
  • Steven Robertson as Police Constable/Detective Constable Sandy Wilson (Series 1– )
  • Stewart Porter/Lewis Howden as Sgt Billy McBride (Porter: Series 1–2, Howden: Series 3– )
  • Erin Armstrong as Cassie Perez (Series 1– )
  • Mark Bonnar as Duncan Hunter (Series 1– )
  • Anne Kidd as Cora McLean, forensic pathologist (Series 2– )
  • Julie Graham as Rhona Kelly, Procurator Fiscal (Series 2– )

Additional cast[edit]

Series 1[edit]

Series 2[edit]

Series 3[edit]

Episode list[edit]

Series 1 (2013)[edit]

The first series was produced by Sue de Beauvoir.

Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
1 1 "Red Bones – Part 1" Peter Hoar David Kane 10 March 2013 (2013-03-10) 7.97
Elderly Shetlander Mima Wilson is found murdered on the archaeological site in 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.
2 2 "Red Bones – Part 2" Peter Hoar David Kane 11 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.

Series 2 (2014)[edit]

The second series was produced by Peter Gallagher.

Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
3 1 "Raven Black – Part 1" John McKay Gaby Chiappe 11 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.
4 2 "Raven Black – Part 2" John McKay Gaby Chiappe 18 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 ends in him in attacking the inspector, and he 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.
5 3 "Dead Water – Part 1" David Moore David Kane 25 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, 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.
6 4 "Dead Water – Part 2" David Moore David Kane 1 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.
7 5 "Blue Lightning – Part 1" Stewart Svaasand Richard Davidson 8 April 2014 (2014-04-08) 5.29
A scientist is found dead in the bird observatory on Fair Isle, Perez's childhood home, so he takes Tosh and makes his way across to the island, where he is greeted by his 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.
8 6 "Blue Lightning – Part 2" Stewart Svaasand Richard Davidson 15 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.

Series 3 (2016)[edit]

A third series began filming in 2015,[9] with Douglas Henshall returning as Jimmy Perez, joined by Game of Thrones star Ciarán Hinds, Anna Chancellor and Julie Graham.[17] The series consists of six episodes, telling a single full-length story.[18] The third series does not adapt any of Cleeves' existing books.

Title Directed by Written by UK air date UK viewers
9 1 "Episode 1" Thaddeus O'Sullivan Gaby Chiappe 15 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, DI Jimmy Perez and his team become convinced the two events are connected.
10 2 "Episode 2" Thaddeus O'Sullivan Robert Murphy 22 January 2016 (2016-01-22) 6.02
DI Perez grows convinced that Michael Maguire is implicated in the grisly death of a young man, discovered in a shipping container.
11 3 "Episode 3" Thaddeus O'Sullivan Robert Murphy 5 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, the murder mystery continues.
12 4 "Episode 4" Jan Matthys Gaby Chiappe and Alexander Perrin 12 February 2016 (2016-02-12) 6.26
Perez and his 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.
13 5 "Episode 5" Jan Matthys Gaby Chiappe 19 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.
14 6 "Episode 6" Jan Matthys David Kane 4 March 2016 (2016-03-04) 6.14
DI Perez and his team discover that the person responsible for the deaths of Robbie Morton and Michael Thompson is closer to home than they had thought.

International broadcasts[edit]

  • Australia: The programme airs on BBC First in Australia.[1]
  • Belgium: The programme began airing on Flemish public broadcaster VRT's main channel, één, in October 2015.[2]
  • Sweden: Swedish public broadcaster SVT started airing the 3rd series in January 2016 on their primary network SVT1.[3]
  • Denmark: Danish network DR 1 began showing Shetland in October 2015.[4]
  • Germany: The series began airing on Das Erste at the end of March 2016.[5]
  • Finland: Viewers in Finland were able to start watching the show from August 2015 on public broadcaster YLE's main TV1 channel, where the show was titled "Shetlandsaarten murhat".[6]
  • Netherlands: Shetland is aired as part of the "Detectives" series from KRO on the Dutch public broadcasting service NPO.[7]
  • New Zealand: The programme began airing in New Zealand on Vibe in January 2016.[8]
  • Norway: Shetland is aired on public broadcaster NRK.[9]
  • Portugal: The programme began airing in Portugal on Fox Crime in August 2016.[10]
  • Slovenia: The programme began airing in Slovenia on public broadcaster RTVSLO in July 2015.[11]
  • United States: The series is broadcast on many stations of the Public Broadcasting System.[12]
  • Canada: The series is broadcast on British Columbia's Knowledge Network.[13] The series became available on Netflix in 2016.


  1. ^ a b "New crime drama for BBC one starring Douglas Henshall". BBC. BBC. 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "There's been a murrrder: Shetland returns to BBC One", Sarah Clark, Visit Scotland, 6 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b M, H (2017-03-30). "Shetland - Filming underway on new series of award-winning BBC One drama". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 2017-04-02. 
  4. ^ "Crime drama Shetland triumphs at Bafta Scotland". BBC Scotland. BBC. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2017. Actor Television - Douglas Henshall ... Shetland Television Drama - Shetland, ITV Studios/BBC One 
  5. ^ "Crime drama Shetland to return for fourth series". Shetland Times. Shetland. 11 July 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Griffiths, Rosalind (22 November 2012). "Cleeves' new BBC drama gets premiere screening at Mareel". The Shetland Times. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Midgley, Neil (11 March 2013). "Shetland, BBC One, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (3 April 2013). "'Shetland' gets full six-part series on BBC One". Digital Spy. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Street closed for television crime series filming". The Shetland Times. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "BBC One to Make Shetland Series 4 Soon". Premiere Date. 2016-07-20. Retrieved 2017-04-02. 
  11. ^ Beacom, Brian (21 March 2016). "Interview with Douglas Henshall, star of new film Iona". Herald Scotland. Glasgow. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "Actor Douglas Henshall returns for a third series of Shetland". Express. 9 January 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  13. ^ "Street Closed for Fiming Television Crime Series". Shetland Times. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ "BARB - Broadcasters Audience Research Board". BARB. 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-02. 
  16. ^ a b "Weekly Viewing Summary (see relevant week)". BARB. 
  17. ^ "Game Of Thrones star to join new series of Shetland". The Scotsman. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "Shetland Stories". Ann Cleeves ( Retrieved 1 July 2014. 

External links[edit]