Shetland: Dead Water. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Douglas Henshall, Steven Robertson, Alison O’ Donnell, Mark Bonnar, Julie Graham, Alex Norton, Clive Russell, Nina Sosanya, Leanne Best, Marnie Baxter, Steven Cree, Anne Kidd, Kari Corbett, David Hayman, Erin Armstrong, Stewart Porter, Gerda Stevens.

The terrain in which a detective works can say so much about the character of the person inside. Oxford and its dreaming spires encapsulates everything about Inspector Morse, the rugged streets of Edinburgh frames every beating heart that makes Rebus such a determined man, even Jane Tennison captures the supposed masculine world of the office and turns it on its head and has seen it go from a bigger version of the boys locker room to one in which in which has become the norm in the last 20 years. For Jimmy Perez, Shetland is his soul peeking out from the loss of his wife, to the sheer loneliness felt by many in the outer reaches of the U.K. and he perhaps has never been more lonely that when an old friend is supposedly murdered.

The latest two-part story taken from the books by Anne Cleaves, Dead Water, sees the topical tale of an island race of people being divided over the way forward for their tiny community and the splits that appear in the name of extra revenue and jobs versus the need to keep the island’s soul intact. No matter which the side you are on though, somebody is bound to get hurt and in this case the hurt keeps piling on for Detective Perez as the investigation continues to remain unsolved.

The mirroring of the gravity felt By Perez and his team is palpable to the point of almost causing fractures in the department, especially when joined by an outside scene of crime officer played by the charming Nina Sosanya, an actor of great dedication who never seems to get the full attention she deserves but who shines with such vivaciousness when in scenes with Douglas Henshall.

The investigation is not an easy one for Detective Perez and coupled with his daughter’s determination to go away on her own to Edinburgh, it could be seen that this particular crime has taken more out of the man than he would actually like to admit to.

The Shetland Isles may look peaceful on the surface, the gentle reminder of a way of life that the mainland has chosen to move away from, however scratch that surface and like the old half- forgotten town of Edinburgh, the immense history of Whitechapel or even in the back streets of Oxford, what comes out in the people’s lives and secrets is covered in blood and stains the land red.

Ian D. Hall