Season 1 review, aka "Series 1" and "Series 2" by the original British labelling. Netflix calls the British Series 3 "Season 2" and that's what I'm reviewing here. There's a change of format this time: the story arc lasts for six episodes of 55 minutes each, whereas previously the story arcs lasted only two episodes. This one is darker and more personal, with Jimmy Perez's family and friends being threatened by the criminal(s) he's investigating.
It seems the show has picked up either credibility or cash, as it had quite an array of names this time: Ciarán Hinds, Saskia Reeves, Archie Panjabi, James Cosmo.
The series starts with a young man in a short argument with an older man on the ferry to Shetland. A young woman approaches the young man to make sure he's alright, and they end up flirting. But when she awakes in the morning, the young man has vanished, and never gets off the ferry - so she reports to the police. This sets off a string of events, including the older man and eventually police and criminals in Glasgow as well.
Unfortunately, I have a LOT of issues with this series. The first is the darker tone: not something I want during the pandemic. The rest have to do with logic and structure.
The omniscient viewpoint lies to us. As an example (not what happens in this series, but similar): we watch a person for a while, then we see them settle in to read a book. We cut away. We cut back to the person reading their book, later. We find out after that a terrible event happened in the middle. It's very strongly implied that the omniscient viewpoint would tell us everything that happened to the person in that time period because we were following them. We trust the camera, and because of that we believe we know what happened to the person - but we don't. I don't think I'm explaining this well: I'm okay with not guessing the ending because I didn't piece together the clues I was given correctly, but in this case it felt like they had deliberately lied and misled us with the camera, which isn't a good way to construct a murder mystery.
Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henschall) in the second episode is knocked down and struck - not once, but twice in less than a minute - by a skinny kid, and I sat there thinking "okay, this is them blatantly telling us the man can't fight." But in the third episode he easily takes out a guy who's hired muscle for a Glaswegian crime kingpin - and weighs as much as Perez and the kid combined. It just didn't make sense.
Finally, how was Tosh lied to at the airport? There were big sign boards and at least a couple public announcements saying that Tosh's flight was delayed. And yet it apparently went on time. Yeah, she thought the guy was cute, but she didn't deliberately skip her flight and that means a level of orchestration (taking over signage and announcements for a long period of time) worthy of a villain in a James Bond movie. Again, doesn't make sense.