Meet the cast and characters of Shetland

Who's who in the Douglas Henshall drama, set in the remote Scottish islands where crimes run deep

Shetland cast, BBC Pictures, SL

The fourth series of BBC detective drama Shetland sees the release of Tommy Malone, a local man imprisoned 23 years ago for the murder of local teenager Lizzie Kilmuir – his conviction is overturned, with a ripple effect felt throughout the tight-knit local community.

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For more on the case, and the cast and characters, read on below…

 Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez (played by Douglas Henshall)

Douglass Henshall in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Douglas Henshall in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is DI Jimmy Perez? 

Jimmy moved back to Shetland a number of years ago after the death of his wife Fran. He has a daughter, Cassie, and is a kind and empathetic man, always looking for the best in people – although the crime rate in Shetland sometimes thwarts his optimism. 

Why do I recognise Douglas Henshall?

As well as the lead role in Shetland – which he’s played since 2013 – Henshall is known as Professor Nick Cutter in Primeval. He’s also played characters in Lipstick on Your Collar, Psychos and Colllision and more recently has been seen in Outlander and In Plain Sight.

Detective Sergeant Alison McIntosh (played by Alison O’Donnell)

Alison O'Donnell, BBC Pictures, SL
Alison O’Donnell in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is DS Alison McIntosh?

Young, bright and ambitious, Alison – or “Tosh” – works for Perez who sees great potential in his junior colleague. The character was the victim of a rape attack a few years ago and the series has charted her recovery from the trauma of her ordeal.

Why do I recognise Alison O’Donnell?

Shetland is 35-year-old Alison O’Donnell’s first major television role, after appearing fleetingly in Feel the Force (back in 2006) and Holby City. Before playing Tosh, she was better known for her work on stage, treading the boards in Boys, The Hard Man, and Lorca’s Yerma.

DC Sandy Wilson (played by Steven Robertson)

Steven Robertson in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Steven Robertson in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is DC Sandy Wilson?

Recently split from his wife, moralistic Sandy has a strong sense of right and wrong which serves him well in Perez’s office, as does his knowledge of the local area and community. Promoted to a detective, he’s now out of uniform and willing to go the extra mile to nail the bad guys.

Why do I recognise Steven Robertson?

Steven Robertson has actually appeared in a radio adaptation of Shetland, playing Perez himself. The Scottish actor is also known for roles in Inside I’m Dancing and Being Human, Luther and The Bletchley Circle.

Rhona Kelly (played by Julie Graham)

Julie Graham in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Julie Graham in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Rhona Kelly?

Part of the Shetland cast since 2014, prosecutor Rhona enjoys a good relationship with Perez. In previous series she was romantically involved with her boss Phyllis, played by Anna Chancellor.

Why do I recognise Julie Graham?

Julie Graham’s notable appearances include 99-1, At Home with the Braithwaites, William and Mary, Survivors and mroe recently The Bletchley Circle.

Duncan Hunter (played by Mark Bonnar)

Mark Bonnar in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Mark Bonnar in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Duncan Hunter? 

Duncan is the birth father to Perez’s step-daughter Cassie. The two mostly co-parent but the situation has caused tension in the past.

Why do I recognise Mark Bonnar?

After a 15-year career, Mark Bonnar hit a purple patch recently with memorable roles in Line of Duty, Catastrophe and Undercover. He has also played Detective Finney in Psychoville and Bruno Jenkins in Casualty.

Tommy Malone (played by Stephen Walters)

Stephen Walters in Silent Witness, BBC Pictures, SL
Stephen Walters in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Tommy Malone?

Tommy spent 23 years behind bars for the murder of local teenager Lizzie Kilmuir. With his conviction overturned, he’s back in the local community. But not everyone is convinced of his innocence, especially when another young woman goes missing. 

Why do I recognise Stephen Walters?

Outlander fans will recognise Stephen as feisty highlander Angus in series one and two. He’s also cropped up in Springhill, Buried, The Visit, The Village and, most recently, Little Boy Blue and Tin Star.

Cassie Perez (Erin Armstrong)

Erin Armstrong in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Erin Armstrong in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Cassie Perez? 

The birth daughter of Duncan and step daughter of Jimmy, Cassie has just been brutally dumped and returns to Shetland to recuperate. 

Why do I recognise Erin Armstrong?

22-year-old Erin played Mackenzie in World’s End and Hectorina in Rillington Place.

Kate Kilmuir (played by Neve McIntosh)

Neve McIntosh in Silent Witness, BBC Pictures, SL
Neve McIntosh in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Kate Kilmuir? 

Kate’s sister Lizzie was murdered 23 years ago. But – to the surprise of many – she shows sympathy towards Tommy, the man convicted of her killing. 

Why do I recognise Neve McIntosh?

Scottish actress Neve will be known to fans of Doctor Who as Madame Vastra, as well as appearing alongside two former Doctors, playing opposite David Tennant in Single Father and Peter Capaldi in 10 Minute Tales. Last year she portrayed Kay Gillies in The Replacement and has also cropped up in Gypsy Woman, Bodies, Critical and Guerrilla.

Molly Kilmuir (played by Julia Brown)

Julia Brown in Silent Witness, BBC Pictures, SL
Julia Brown in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Molly Kilmuir? 

Kate’s teenage daughter Molly doesn’t understand her mother’s sympathetic attitude towards Tommy Malone.

Why do I recognise Julia Brown?

Julia has played Keri Summers and Caz in CBBC series M.I. High and Eve, respectively.

Sally McColl (played by Amy Lennox)

Amy Lennox in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Amy Lennox in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Sally McColl?

Sally is a local journalist investigating a mysterious death in a factory when she goes missing herself. She is the daughter of retired detective Drew McColl.

Why do I recognise Amy Lennox?

On screen, Amy had a fleeting appearance in film Never Let Me Go and has cropped up in an episode of Casualty. She’s also voiced video games Dragon Quest Heroes II and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. On stage, she played Margot in Legally Blonde, Lauren in Kinky Boots and Ellie in David Bowie musical Lazarus.

Drew McColl (played by Sean McGinley)

Sean McGinley in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Sean McGinley in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Drew McColl?

Retired detective Drew led the investigation into Lizzie’s death, choosing to prosecute Tommy. Years later, he is aghast to hear of his release from prison. 

Why do I recognise Sean McGinley?

McGinley has appeared in films The General, Braveheart and Gangs of New York as well as a string of television series including Bleak House, Love/Hate and, most recently, Paula.

Alan Killick (played by Gerard Miller)

Gerard Miller in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Gerard Miller in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Alan Killick?

Alan is Sally’s boyfriend and a member of the local community. 

Why do I recognise Gerard Miller?

Gerard Miller appeared in last year’s Blade Runner: 2049, making an internet short where he came off worse against Dave Bautista. He played Patrick Adams in River City and D-Cup in Stonemouth and also appeared in 2015 film Macbeth.

Jo Halley (played by Sophie Stone)

Sophie Stone in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Sophie Stone in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Jo Halley?

Jo is Sally’s housemate who starts worrying about her friend when she goes missing.

Why do I recognise Sophie Stone?

Sophie was the first deaf student to win a place at RADA drama school. She has gone on to appear on stage in Mother Courage and Her Children at the National Theatre and play the lead in a touring production of Woman of Flowers. Doctor Who fans might recognise her as Cass in episodes Under the Lake and Before the Floor.

Gail Callahan (played by Allison McKenzie)

Allison McKenzie in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Allison McKenzie in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Gail Callahan?

Gail works for Life After Appeal, helping people after conviction. She teams up with Tommy in a bid to rebuild his life after his release from prison. 

Why do I recognise Allison McKenzie? 

Allison McKenzie has played roles in River City, Doctors and Line of Duty, playing Jayne Akers in series two.

Cora Mclean (played by Anne Kidd)

Anne Kidd in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Anne Kidd in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Cora Mclean?

Pathologist Cora visits the scene of a crime in episode one, working with Perez and his team on forensic evidence. 

Why do I recognise Anne Kidd?

On screen, Kidd has appeared in Retribution, Tutti Frutti and The Love School.

Meg Hamilton (played by Hannah Donaldson)

Hannah Donaldson in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL
Hannah Donaldson in Shetland, BBC Pictures, SL

Who is Meg Hamilton?

Meg’s partner Danny was killed while at work but his company are denying any blame for his death. Sally was investigating his the incident before her disappearance.

Why do I recognise Hannah Donaldson?

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Hannah has appeared in Rebus, Badults, The Loch and Armchair Detectives.