Shetland star Douglas Henshall: ‘I’m expecting a big response to the final episode!'

Shetland star Douglas Henshall: ‘I’m expecting a big response to the final episode!'
(Image credit: BBC/ITV Studios/Mark Mainz)

Shetland star Douglas Henshall reveals Shetland’s fourth series finale will answer viewers' questions

As series four of Shetland prepares to draw to a close with its sixth and final episode this week, we want answers!

The current series opened with ex-con Thomas Malone acquitted of the murder of Shetland teenager Lizzie Kilmuir in 1993. Against better judgement reviled Thomas returned to Shetland and shortly afterwards journalist Sally McColl was murdered in a similar way to Lizzie…

Since then there have been twists and turns, violent attacks and all manner of accusations. Online there have been numerous fan theories and this week enthralled viewers will finally find out just who killed Lizzie and Sally, and why.

Unable to wait until Tuesday’s finale, however, we’ve hauled Shetland star, Douglas Henshall, in for questioning…

Here Douglas, who plays Shetland’s charismatic DI Jimmy Perez, walks us through the big events in this week’s final episode.

It’s the final episode! What can you reveal?

"All the strands that have been coming together finally get tied up. But, as with the rest of the series, it doesn’t end up the way you think it’s going to…"

DI Jimmy Perez has shocking news for stepdaughter, Cassie

DI Jimmy Perez has shocking news for stepdaughter, Cassie (Image credit: BBC/ITV Studios/Mark Mainz)

Is Perez’s stepdaughter, Cassie, traumatised when she discovers her dad, Duncan’s dark secrets?

"It’s a real kick in the teeth for Cassie, just as her and Duncan (Mark Bonnar) are beginning to have a healthier relationship. It’s also tense for Perez. There’s so much invested in these two guys and their relationship with Cassie (Erin Armstrong). It’s such an emotional punch when this story comes to a head."

There big drama too when Thomas Malone takes to the High Street with a shot gun!

"Stephen Walters doesn’t hold back when it comes to playing Thomas Malone. Thomas goes through so much to clear his name. He feels he’s the person who gets screwed over every which way possible…"

With quite a few possible outcomes, was it complicated to film?

"Most of the scenes in the final episode are very contained, very intimate two or three-handers. After so many twists and turns there’s a lot of information we need to get across to viewers, and we’ve manage to accomplish that in a way that works really well. Nobody’s cheated!"

Katie and Thomas are both in the frame

Katie and Thomas are both in the frame (Image credit: BBC/ITV Studios/Mark Mainz)

Will the identity of the killer or killers of Lizzie Kilmuir and Sally McColl come as a shock to viewers?

"The great thing about the finale is, although people are guilty of various things, you can almost understand their point of view. Nobody seems to be an out-and-out baddie. I quite like that. I’m expecting a big response to this episode!"

We’ve had amazing cliffhangers this series. What have been your favourite?

"The storyline with Duncan is the one I feel, on a personal level, is most powerful. I’m also pleased the ferry chase sequence with Lars in episode five worked out well. We were really up against it with time when we filmed that, as we were on the actual ferry and had to get off when it needed to go!"

Duncan's dark secrets finally catch up with him

Duncan's dark secrets finally catch up with him (Image credit: BBC/ITV Studios/Mark Mainz)

Author Ann Cleeves said she’s considering killing Perez off in her books. Would that mean the end of Shetland the TV series?

"If Ann decides to kill off Perez in the books it won’t make any difference to our show because they’re separate entities now. Ann’s been incredibly generous and supportive of Shetland from the beginning. She invented these characters but isn’t involved what we do any more. It’s a big deal for an author to kill off a famous character. But if you feel like you’ve come to a natural end with them, maybe it’s better to have a full stop, rather than drag it out."

Have you given any thought to how you’d like Perez to die?

"Yes! I’d like to see him die in one of two ways. I’d either like him to die of a broken heart. Or, I’d like him to die in an absurd way, like a flowerpot falling on his head from a great height. Something completely out of the blue, rather than him taking a bullet for someone."

That said, are you interested in filming another series?

"Yes, with all the usual caveats. If we can come up with something interesting and don’t repeat ourselves, definitely. I think we’ve really found our feet with Shetland now. It started out looking like nothing. Since we did the two-part pilot [in 2013] we’ve really built it up from the ground. A lot of the cast and crew have been with Shetland since the pilot. It can be tough shoot but everyone’s fantastic. I’m very proud of the show."

Catch the final episode of Shetland on BBC1 at 9pm, Tuesday 20 March.

Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.