**SPOILERS: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINAL EPISODE OF INSPECTOR GEORGE GENTLY**
Almost 86 per cent of viewers polled by RadioTimes.com said they felt Gently's death - at the hands of the same man who had murdered his wife - was the most suitable ending for the series.
Shaw, who spent a decade playing the principled policeman, with DI John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby) and later Sergeant Rachel Coles (Lisa McGrillis) at his side, revealed that he'd asked for the finite ending.
“I did say to them beforehand, I think it’s very important that George doesn’t just fade off into the sunset,” Shaw told RadioTimes.com.
Inspector George Gently fan Marion Knight agreed with the leading man, describing his death at the end of feature-length episode Gently and the New Age as "sadly a perfect ending" for Gently. "He wouldn’t have been happy as a retiree. Another great series from the BBC", she wrote.
"A fitting finale, I feel, to what has been a great series," said Brian F Shaw, who saw shades of Michael Caine's Get Carter in Gently's death on the sand. "Martin Shaw, as in all that he does, superb."
Robin Pratt applauded the series and said it had a great ending: "No way he could just go and whither away and die from cancer or something evil like that."
But the fact that they felt it was fitting did little to lessen the blow of Gently's death.
"I didn't see it coming. I was profoundly moved by his death scene," Mon Den Ouden wrote.
"I'm not a bit well after that ending. I'm gutted George got the ending he did, especially since he died at the hand of the man who killed his wife," said Brian McCarthy, who described the scene as "seriously sad".
"Why couldn’t he just retire and have a good life?" Porter Hawkins wondered. "So very sad."
But some, like Elizabeth Mulholland, can see a potential light at the end of the tunnel: "Hopefully the writer will give us a spin of featuring his two sidekicks," she said.
Who knows Elizabeth? Who knows...