At last!  Season 5 of the detective/police procedural Shetland arrives in the U.S. today, via streaming service BritBox.  This is speedy for the U.S. airing of Brit TV–Season 6 arrived on BBC One and iPlayer only days ago on October 20, more than two years since we last caught up with Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall)–thanks to the world’s nemesis, Covid-19 and surrounding delays.  Call it Scotland Noir or Nordic Noir, in its fifth season viewers were treated to a satisfying wrap-up to the year’s six-part mystery of human trafficking, murders, blackmail, dead bodies in the ocean, and cheating hearts.  Shetland may have pulled off its best scene of all in the final minutes of the season finale.  How can they keep coming up with such good police drama in such a small and desolate setting?  In the season opener, Perez and trusty right arm Alison “Tosh” MacIntosh (Alison O’Donnell) take on their next crime: the murder of one of Shetland’s most prominent individuals… on his doorstep.

David Kane and Paul Logue retake the lead writing again for this season, with new directors Max Myers and Siri Rødnes directing, and all the regulars returning who have carried the series since the first episode back in 2013.  With the stark natural beauty of the Shetland backdrop, the series knows how to juggle the murders, kidnappings, local and political leaders with deadly secrets, and the surprising interplay of international crime syndicates in Glasgow and international locations.  The ongoing relationship between Perez and his step-daughter’s father Duncan only gets more complicated and interesting.  Mark Bonnar′s ability to portray Duncan as part sap, bungler, buffoon, sad sack, perpetual guy in the wrong place, and well-meaning everyman continues to cement Henshall and Bonnar as the best pairing and blend of buddy movie magic around.  For fans who can’t get enough of Alison O’Donnell′s curious, determined, savvy, and lovable detective sergeant Alison “Tosh” MacIntosh, season five was a welcome change for the character, getting her back in control of her life and rounding out a multi-season story arc with a new love interest and the next too-cute TV couple.  Will native Lerwick actor Steven Robertson be allowed to have his character Sandy Wilson find his footing?  And despite that trademark stare from Jimmy and Duncan’s daughter Cassie, played again by Erin Armstrong, the writers managed to concoct another mechanism to return the now university student back to the island for another season, and keep her interesting.  What’s she been up to?

Season 6 begins with a gloomy start, with Perez at a funeral.  His world is crumbling again as he must aid a murder victim’s family to deal with their own loss.  Here’s a brief trailer for Season 6:

The finale of Season 5 left the opening for the next pile of stories, where viewers can witness more chummy clashes between Jimmy and Duncan and more interplay with the five leads who have been through so much together over the past five years.  Season 7 was filmed along with Season 6, so Shetland is far from over.

The first episode of season six of Shetland arrives on BritBox today and is available to stream now, with weekly episodes airing only about two episodes behind the UK release.  And you can catch the first seasons of Shetland now, exclusively on BritBox in the U.S.

C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg