Douglas Henshall: has Shetland actor quit role as DI Jimmy Perez in BBC TV series, when is his last episode?

Douglas Henshall has played the lead detective in the BBC crime drama since it first aired in 2013

Douglas Henshall has starred as detective Jimmy Perez in Shetland since the first season in 2013, and will play for him the last time in season seven, which begins airing this month.

The BBC crime drama follows Perez and his team of detectives as they solve complicated murder cases across the Shetland islands.

In the show, based on the novel series by Ann Cleeves, Perez relocated to Shetland after his wife’s death and lives there with his daughter when she is not away at university.

Why has Douglas Henshall quit Shetland?

Douglas Henshall in Shetland

The BBC reported that Henshall quit the role in order to explore other opportunities. Since taking on the role of Perez, Henshall has appeared in Starz historical series Outlander, ITV shows In Plain Sight and Black Work, and Channel 4 comedy series Home.

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Henshall said: “After series 5 of Shetland, David Kane and I decided we wanted to do two more series to complete the story of Jimmy Perez.

“So series 6 and 7 were commissioned together to give us time to wrap up Perez’s story to a satisfactory end.

“It’s been one of the privileges of my career to play Jimmy Perez for almost 10 years and to work with so many wonderful people both in front of and behind the camera, and also to spend so much time in Shetland.

“The isles were so much a part of our show and of Perez himself. I’ll miss him and the place.”

Gaynor Holmes, executive producer for BBC Drama said: “It has been an absolute privilege to work on Shetland over the past few years and watch the show go from strength to strength - in no small part thanks to Douglas’s sensitive, intelligent and memorable portrayal of DI Jimmy Perez. We will miss him enormously.”

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When is Douglas Henshall’s last appearance in Shetland?

Douglas Henshall on set of Shetland

Henshall will return for season seven of the crime series which is due to be released on BBC One in August.

Every season except of Shetland the debut has been six episodes long, so it is likely that season seven will also be made up of six episodes.

Season seven will see Perez investigate the death of a vulnerable young man. Meanwhile, a secretive new family to Shetland may threaten the security of the entire community.

Since season three of the show, Shetland has deviated from the book series, though kept the same characters and setting.

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Henshall will play the lead in every episode of season seven, with his final appearance as DI Jimmy Perez coming in the finale.

Who will replace Douglas Henshall?

Shetland will return for season eight in 2023 with a new lead, however who will be has not yet been announced.

As season seven is expected to wrap up Perez’s story, it appears that the new actor will be playing a different character, rather than replacing Henshall as Perez.

It is not yet known whether one of the show’s supporting cast such as Alison O’Donnell, who plays DS Alison McIntosh, or Steven Robertson, who plays DC Sandy Wilson, will be promoted to series lead, or if fresh blood will be brought in.