Author Cleeves considers killing off Shetland detective Jimmy Perez

Author Ann Cleeves has revealed she is considering killing off detective Jimmy Perez – the star of her Shetland series of books.

Ann’s best-selling books have been turned into a prime-time BBC series, starring Glasgow-born Douglas Henshall as the central character tasked with solving all manner of gruesome crimes.

Douglas Henshall will return as DI Jimmy Perez in the next series. But is his time up?

She is writing the eighth – and what she say will be the final – book in the series. But in a twist that will shock fans around the globe, Ann told The Scottish Sun she is mulling over whether to kill off Perez.

She told the Sun: “It’s quite weird because although I have started writing the last book, even I don’t know how it’s going to end.

“I don’t know whether I’m going to kill Jimmy off or whether it’s going to have a happy ending. Lots could happen. It’s actually quite scary.”

Filming is due to start on the next series of Shetland in the spring, and local runner Davie Gardner has already been sourcing locations. He said crews would be filming in the isles for about five weeks in May, though no locations have been selected yet.

Over the years he has become friends with many of the cast and crew – including Henshall. Davie said: “Dougie like everyone else would be good for a good storyline, even if it means his character’s death.

“He really enjoys coming up here and doing the Shetland series, so I’m sure he would be disappointed [if Perez is killed off]. But the thing has taken a life of itself beyond Ann’s books as well.

Helen Grant winner of the Jimmy Perez prize accepts her award from Ann Cleeves and surprise guest Dougie Henshall at the Shetland Noir book festival. Photo: Dave Donaldson

“It could be just another dramatic twist.”

Ann admits that Perez’s death might make things awkward for those who produce the show, which attracts regular audiences of around six million. She said: “It might make things a bit tricky for the show if I did kill him. It would be slightly problematic, but we’ll see.”

She said: “It might make things a bit tricky for the show if I did kill him. It would be slightly problematic, but we’ll see.”

The author has apparently been aware for some time that the books may have been reaching a climax. Davie said that last time Ann was in the isles for her book launch she had hinted at that.

“She mentioned that she didn’t know how much life was in the books. I’m sure a lot of people would be disappointed to see the end of Jimmy and the Shetland books.

“Really at the end of the day it’s up to Ann and everything has its life – including Shetland’s favourite detective.”



Add Your Comment
  • David Spence

    • February 10th, 2017 15:54

    This is interesting in the sense that, I believe, the third series of Shetland, the storyline was created without using the book?

    Is this Ann Cleeves, way of getting back at the producers in terms of copyright?

    Does an author have a copyright over a character or a persons name in a book they may have written? Is there such a thing as ownership of a character or a persons name if published in a book?

    Would there be an infringement of copyright is the character was renamed Jimmy Peraz instead of Jimmy Perez?

    May be somebody can enlighten me?

    I am pretty sure if the series ‘ Shetland ‘ is more successful in the future, the producers can continue making a great storyline and a marvellous crime drama.

  • Jean Endries

    • February 11th, 2017 10:17

    Please,please, please do not kill off D I Perez. I love this show and Vera. Only really good shows to watch anymore!

  • Sherrie Zimmerman

    • February 11th, 2017 16:30

    Please don’t kill Jimmy! Let him retire into an even quieter life.. I like this series a lot….have something like a Wallander ending .. knowing he could never do police work again….sigh…

  • Michelle Davies

    • February 11th, 2017 17:10

    Please dont kill off Jimmy Perez . I realise everyone has their favourites . I prefer the Shetland series to the Vera series im afraid but i appreciate its up to Anne Cleeves eventually .

  • Linda Boyle

    • February 11th, 2017 18:23

    Please don’t kill Jimmy Perez off, he could always go on a long vacation leaving an open ending . Love the show and Douglas Henshall too.

  • Marshall Sambrooks

    • February 26th, 2017 5:49

    Douglas Henshall, is essential for Shetland a fine actor .please do not write out Di Perez.

  • gordon downing

    • February 27th, 2017 6:12

    Can’t the BBC do Shetland without the books? As for killing off perez, dixon of dock green was killed in the movie then brought back to life for a long running BBC series

  • David Spence

    • February 27th, 2017 18:31

    I am intrigued, as mentioned previously, as to the legal and copyright rights where a film producer can use the character’s from a book or radio and make a film or series of drama’s from the names without having to pay royalties to the original author or radio producer?

    May be somebody can enlighten me on this issue?

    It will be interesting if the producer goes back to the book or ‘ make up their own storyline ‘ ?

  • Cathy Cloward

    • May 4th, 2017 2:35

    Please do not kill Jimmy Perez. Douglas Henshall Is a must for the series.
    Make the ending of the series with a chance to bring him back.

  • Beth Buechler

    • June 17th, 2017 15:00

    I agree. Ann Cleeves: PLEASE DON’T KILL JIMMY! He’s smart, he’s always thinking, and he doesn’t deserve to die. His only problem is how he takes his anger out on Duncan.

    As viewers and readers, sure, let us worry about Jimmy, but PLEASE don’t let him die!

  • Di McKee

    • July 24th, 2017 3:27

    I find I cannot watch the BBC series as the character in my mind does not match with the image of the actor chosen for the part. In the books he is described as dark and ‘Mediterranean look ie descended from the Spaniards. Henshall may be a good actor but somehow does not seem the right ‘fit’ for the part.- and if he is ‘killed off” who will ,look after Cassie ??
    HI from the islands at the other end of the earth – New Zealand.

  • Rebbie Geer

    • August 2nd, 2017 21:21

    Shetland, by far, is the best series I’ve watched. The casting is superb — I’ve been drawn in because of ALL of the characters in each episode. As many have already voiced, I believe it would a terrible thing to kill Jimmy Perez. I also believe it would be a mistake, as there is so much more to be explored. Dougie Henshall is fantastic.

  • Jim Charlton

    • August 13th, 2017 1:57

    Why would you kill off a character played by one of the best actors on TV?
    I just cannot follow the logic.

  • Linda Cooper

    • December 23rd, 2017 17:36

    Please don’t kill off a beloved character! Life is hard enough in reality without having my favorite character killed.

  • Ruth Haynes

    • January 2nd, 2018 15:33

    I just started watchig this show last week, and binged on Netflix. This show is fabulous.

    Could it not be written by screenwriters and say “Based on Characters created by Anee Cleeves”, like it did on the Lewis series?

  • Claudette Irvine

    • December 24th, 2019 23:56

    Please please dont kill off Henshaw,I make sure Im home on time to watch his show,if not i dont go out,Im in Canada


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