This post gives me special satisfaction because its subject – the Scottish crime series Shetland – was recommended to me by one of Lanni’s List’s followers. It seems that the List is starting to fulfill its function as a forum for exchanging ideas and recommendations! Warms my heart! Anyway, down to business. Why is Shetland worth watching? Well, first of all, it eschews the “damaged detective” formula and works anyway. Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, ably played by Douglas Henshall, isn’t a drunk, a sex addict, a narcissist, a neurotic, a cold-hearted bastard or a family-ignoring workaholic. Nor does he suffer from physical ailments like encroaching blindness, autism, dementia or turrets syndrome. And yet Perez is both sympathetic and interesting. That’s no mean feat given that writing a “normal” detective risks creating one as mind-numbingly bland as DCI Barnaby in Midsomer Murders. Moreover, Shetland’s writing is solid and often witty, the performances are fantastic and the locale is intriguing. It’s a great corrective to the “damaged detective” formula and the guest stars are brilliant, including Brian Cox, Anthony Howell, James Cosmo, Ciaran Hinds, and John Lynch. Check it out!