The BBC’s latest detective drama made its British TV debut tonight as detective Jimmy Perez waved goodbye to mainland Scotland and set about becoming a crime buster in the archipelago of Shetland. Douglas Henshall (Secrets of Crickley Hall) took on the role of Perez – a softly spoken cop whose low-key style is ideally suited to the windswept isle. If Perez was expecting a quiet homecoming he was in for a rude awakening as not one but two murder mysteries made their way onto his case list.
Stylistically, Shetland was similar to ITV’s Vera which is perhaps unsurprising since both shows are based on novels by Ann Cleeves. For now at least, the BBC have only produced two episodes of Shetland but if it’s half as successful as Cleeves’ other TV adaptation then you can be sure that more episodes will be on the way. Personally, I enjoy somber cop dramas set in bleak locations but it is a crowded market right now with George Gently, Wallander and Vera already filling that niche. Shetland is well made, has a surprisingly fast pace and Henshall is a worthy lead man. It is a good TV drama just as the book it was based on was a quality novel. I am hoping it can attract the ratings it deserves.