*Warning: Contains spoilers for Shetland season 8 episodes 1 and 2*


With DI Ruth Calder's key witness Ellen Quinn now dead, in the second episode of Shetland season 8 she made the decision to return to her responsibilities in London and leave Tosh and the team to uncover who's behind the murder.

Ellen managed to escape from gangsters John Howell, who's since been arrested, and Lukas Nowak, who's now dead, but while walking along a dark and lonely road after her ordeal, she was picked up by another vehicle and her body was later found, with Cora determining that Ellen had been strangled.

And at the end of the episode, it also emerged that the mysterious sheep killings, which Tosh was looking into, are linked to Ellen, after a tattoo of the symbol found on the carcasses was discovered on her body during the postmortem – news which shocked Tosh to her core.

Is there a cult operating in Shetland? And did Ellen fall foul of its rules, whatever they may be?

But that wasn't the only piece of information that came to light.

Ruth's sister-in-law Amma unexpectedly dropped by the police station and invited her to join the couple for dinner. Initially, she was unsure and said that she'd probably be working that evening, but when it looked like she'd be heading home sooner than anticipated, Ruth took Amma up on her offer.

Despite long-standing family grievances, which we still don't know the full details of, the evening went well, with Ruth and her brother Alan building bridges, and Ruth and Amma enjoying one another's company.

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As the pair of them stood outside at the end of the night waiting for the detective's taxi to arrive, Amma offered Ruth a cigarette, which she politely declined, instead offering to dispose of Amma's as she left.

"Your brother thinks I've quit," she said. "You're a life-saver."

Shocked Tosh in the morgue with Cora, who's examining Ellen's body
Tosh (Alison O'Donnell) in Shetland. ITV Studios,Jamie Simpson

But when Ruth was sat in the back of the car, she absentmindedly looked at the cigarette, which sparked something in her detective's brain.

The observant among us will remember that when Ruth and Tosh paid Ellen's family a visit to deliver the news of her death, they also searched her room and found some cigarettes hidden inside a pink teddy bear.

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In any other scenario, that would simply mean that Ellen was just a teenager who wanted a smoke without enduring a lecture from her parents. But this is Shetland, which means there's more to this than meets the eye.

The two women are clearly linked – but how? We know that Amma used to live in London. Could they have crossed paths there and if so, what happened?

And, crucially, was Amma somehow involved in Ellen's death?

Shetland season 8 continues on Wednesday 15th November at 9pm on BBC One and iPlayer. Ann Cleeves's Shetland novels are available to buy now.

Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.

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