How would DI Jimmy Perez exit Shetland? The show's long-standing fanbase have been mulling over that question following the news that lead actor Douglas Henshall has stepped down and will not return for season 8.

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Would the creative team behind the BBC crime drama follow in Unforgotten's footsteps and kill him off? Or would his farewell be something more muted, but no less emotional?

In the season 7 finale, which aired last night (14th September), we were finally given the answer.

Jimmy was not blown to smithereens, as some viewers may have predicted, although he came close to losing his life.

After chasing down Jamie Narey, the publisher detonated a pipe bomb, but the blast didn't touch either man. The shot released by one of the firearms officers did hit Jamie, but didn't kill him.

He had been radicalised by the death of an anti-oil activist he'd been close to and had subsequently been plotting his own scheme to gain revenge on the oil industry.

Jamie roped several people into his cause, including Connor Cairns, who was responsible for building the bombs. But the young artist eventually decided that he didn't want to take part.

Given that Connor was the only person who knew where the explosives were, Jamie tortured him in an effort to gain that information, which resulted in his death. Bryd Fleming, who was responsible for acquiring the fertiliser, was also killed.

But Jamie wasn't responsible for the death of William Rogers.

Jamie Narey Shetland
Jamie Narey in Shetland ITV Studios/Mark Mainz

It was local teacher and artist Alison Woods who murdered the American in a separate set of circumstances. Following a frosty exchange between the pair on her doorstep, Alison hit him with a hammer, before concealing his body in a suitcase and dumping it. He threatened her life with her partner Lloyd Anderson and she panicked, grabbing the weapon as his back was turned.

Lloyd's real name is Walter and back when he lived in Texas, he was accused of killing a police officer. He fled the States and eventually wound up in the UK, where he met Alison and built a new life for himself.

If Lloyd was extradited to the US, there's a strong probability that he would be found guilty and sentenced to death – and Jimmy, believing Lloyd's innocence, takes steps to stop that from happening.

He releases him from the cell in which he's being held, hands him his passport and encourages him to disappear. The artist is reluctant to leave Alison but Jimmy reminds him that Alison would want him to go. And with that, Lloyd disappears, never to be seen again.

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"If the last thing I do is help an innocent man, I'm good with that," Jimmy tells Rhona.

As expected, that marks the end of his extensive career as a detective – his actions, while noble, are indefensible in the eyes of the law – which opens the door to a life of peace and quiet with Meg, although we can't imagine Jimmy being able to fully switch off given what he's experienced.

His work made it impossible for them to move forward together but with that now a problem of the past, the pair can commit to building a stable, long-term relationship.

Waving goodbye to Jimmy wasn't what the Shetland faithful wanted, but if he had to go, this was a fitting way to do it.

Read more: Shetland season 7 finale is the perfect send-off for Jimmy Perez

Shetland airs on BBC and iPlayer. Ann Cleeves's Shetland novels are available to buy now. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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