Is Douglas Henshall leaving Shetland?

Douglas Henshall did leave Shetland after playing the lead character, DI Jimmy Perez, for seven seasons, and his departure was in the cards since season five.

Shetland is the hit BBC One crime drama series premised on DI Jimmy Perez and his team investigating a gruesome murder that took place in the Isles every episode.

Shetland recently wrapped its seventh and arguably contentious season in September 2022. Fans of the show were left with one major question, “Who will replace Douglas Henshall?”

As before the seventh season it was confirmed that Henshall would not return to the role as he has decided to step-away from playing the beloved but complicated detective inspector. Seemingly, this decision was fuelled by wanting to play other characters.

Is Shetland based on a true story?

Shetland is not based on a true story. The series is actually inspired by the series of novels written by English author Ann Cleeves.

Cleeves was reportedly inspired to write her series of crime murder mystery novels by using her own personal experiences working as a former probation officer in Shetland.

While the first seasons stayed true to its inspiration, from season four and onwards the story took liberties, and by season five, it had premises which were entirely fictional while attempting to stay true to some aspects that the books inspired.

Will Shetland continue without Perez?
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Is Douglas Henshall leaving Shetland?

The announcement that Douglas Henshall would leave Shetland was formally made in July 2022 before the beginning of the seventh and most recent season.

This season started airing for its natural television run on BBC One in August 2022 and the six-episode season then concluded in September 2022.

It seems the announcement was made to ensure that the seventh season is dedicated to bidding farewell to Henshall and also to celebrating his contribution to the success of the crime murder mystery series.

This was a fitting send-off considering that his decision was one that he had made years before he actually left the series.

In light of the news of the exit, Henshall did confirm that the decision was a long time coming. This is as he made his intentions of leaving the series known to the creators after the conclusion of the fifth season.

Therefore, these two seasons were greenlit to give him and his character a proper send-off from Shetland. As such, through the last two seasons, Henshall was able to confront his own demons and find love.

Moreover, instead of killing him off, the series ensured that they gave him a fitting send-off which, although is open-ended, suggests that Perez did have an arc that stayed true to his overall intention which was to provide a deserved justice to all by finally accepting the limitations of the law.

Douglas Henshall’s final word on leaving

After the confirmation of his exit, Douglas Henshall confirmed that the exit was two seasons in the making, which he believed was enough time for the writers to create a fitting send-off for his character.

Moreover, the statement worked to affirm that his departure is not as a result of any bad blood between himself and cast and crew of the show, as he applauded his 10-year experience working on the series by sharing:

“It’s been one of the privileges of my career to play Jimmy Perez for almost ten years and to work with so many wonderful people both in front of and behind the camera…”

Will Douglas Henshall return?

It is currently still too early to know if Douglas Henshall will ever make a return to Shetland and reprise his role as DI Jimmy Perez.

But whether the actor intends to return to the Isles, well that was one aspect that he confirmed he would certainly do in the future.

Expressing why he would return to the picturesque coastal town, he shared the following with Hello, “It looks right into the ocean and if the wind picks up and a storm comes in, it’s the best place in the world to be.”

What is Douglas Henshall doing now?

Douglas Henshall has already bagged his next role after his exit from Shetland, as he is set to lead the cast of the upcoming television series, Palomino. Henshall will play the role of Daniel Long in the series.

The premise of the series is about Erin Collantes, an English teacher in Spain whose life could unravel after she is recognised by a robber during a robbery in a supermarket.

This role might have Henshall return to being a detective again who has to solve the matter before any more damage is done.