[Review] Shetland

Shetland is a two-part adaptation for television of Ann Cleeves’ thriller ‘Red Bones’ and is situated on the Shetland Islands. An elderly woman is shot and killed by an unknown assailant. DI Jimmy Perez is leading the investigation and almost from the first scene you are left wondering about the quality of the mystery. For no apparent reason Perez asks his uniformed colleague to use the land line in the cottage of the murdered woman and finds that the telephone line has been disconnected. Possibly every single viewer had the same set of ideas: [1] the disconnected line is a clue, [2] the police officer plugged the line back in which was stupid because he could have wiped away valuable fingerprints, and [3] in the end it was never satisfactory explained why the line had to be disconnected in the first place.
The entire adaptation was bogged down by this sort of sloppy writing. A skull was unearthed in an archaeological dig nearby and the crew did not immediately notice that it was a recent burial. Annoyingly, the true age of the skull remains a mystery throughout the movie. DI Perez walks through the entire investigation with no clear idea what or who he’s investigating and he is simply inundated by suspects and motives that come and go without leaving a lasting impression. Yes, there's an old family feud that lies at the root of the problem but that's nothing new.

The solution was as expected as the rest of the movie: somebody mentioned that the telephone line was disconnected and the police never revealed that fact to the public. The suspect is then shouted at a bit and quickly confesses.

Leaving aside the beautiful rugged scenery of the Shetland Islands and the acceptable acting performances of the two main characters Douglas Henshall (who plays Jimmy Perez) and Alison O’Donnell (who plays Perez' female colleague Tosh), I hope the powers that be will decide not to create a sequel of Shetland. And if the plot of Shetland is symptomatic of the writing of Ann Cleeves, it is of no use to read her thrillers too.

The BBC obviously doesn't read this blog (yet). Shetland returns. See here. And again in 2015. See here.

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