Shetland’s a gripping slice of Tartan noir
and live on Freeview channel 276
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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