Shetland season 8 episode 1 was quite the dramatic opener as we saw a Metropolitan Police officer forced to go back to her motherland while chasing a witness to a serious crime.
Not only that, but it was the debut episode for newcomer Ashley Jensen, playing the role of Detective Inspector Ruth Calder, who is the new series lead following Douglas Henshall's departure as DI Jimmy Perez.
The series starts in London, where two young girls end up messing with the wrong person, finding themselves in the middle of the murder of a police informant.
Here are all the major plot points in the first episode...
Heading back to the island
Shetland season 8 episode 1 opens in London, with a woman in the toilets at a bar applying makeup. She seems nervous and tells her friend to check her over and see if she looks okay, suggesting she might be meeting someone.
Both women head out to the bar, with the friend reassuring her and saying: "You won't have much time, you need to get him home soon." Following this, her friend walks through the bar towards a man, who looks slightly older. He jokes and says "I was about to send a search party", they share a drink and she suggests going back to his flat.
The scene cuts to the man's dead body, and it turns out the cleaner showed up and found him like this the following morning. Newcomer DI Ruth Calder (Ashley Jensen) asks if the cleaner had their own key, but it turns out the door was unlocked anyway.
On top of this, the TV had been on a very loud volume when she arrived, leading Ruth to speculate that it was to cover the sound of the gunshot. His phone, wallet, and watch are missing, so could it simply be a robbery? Or something more sinister?
There's a flashback to the woman from the bar taking his wallet, but he's just unconscious at this point. The woman leaves, letting herself into another room. In the present day, Ruth and the team look inside the bedroom, where we simultaneously flash to the woman going through the victim's personal belongings.
It is revealed the woman took a paperweight with a barcode printed on the bottom and took a picture off the wall to reveal a safe hidden behind. The detectives deduce that the barcode on the bottom of the paperweight actually opens the safe, and no numerical code is needed.
They learn that the deceased is named Philip Remis, and he's a police informant who has been filling them in on the workings of a criminal named Cassidy, because of this, Ruth assumes that Remis' death means that Cassidy was onto him.
Ruth says the flat was burgled but if this was Cassidy’s people, they’d have no need to rob it. As a result, the boss wonders if they staged it to send a message to anyone else who might consider crossing him.
Flashbacks show the woman clearing out the safe being interrupted by the sound of men’s voices entering the flat, saying "Is he here?" She walks back through carefully - and sees the men finding Remis unconscious, one says ‘What a state, wake him up.’ One of the men turns the TV on with loud heavy metal and shoots him in the head. The woman darts back into the bedroom, terrified.
Ruth notes the burglar had to leave in a hurry. The woman makes a break for it and one of the men hears her leaving. She runs out, presses the button for the lift, sees the door closing, and makes a run for the stairs, stopping to take off her heels so she can run better.
After Ruth checks the CCTV of a nearby shop, they clock a shoeless woman running into the street and narrowly avoiding being hit by a car. The woman is carrying a bag, and the boss observes she "doesn't look like much of a hitman". Right on cue, they see two other people leaving the building behind her.
We later see Ruth and a detective making their way to a flat in a tower block. The door is open. Inside she finds the woman, cowering.’ The friend from the first scene is Kirsty Bell (Natasha Cottriall), the barefoot woman we saw is her flatmate Ellen Quinn (Maisie Norma Seaton). Ruth says the door was kicked in at 4 am by two men looking for Ellen. The detective asks how the men got there before the police.
Ruth says they probably found her the same way the police did — through the taxi company. Plus a 10-hour head start. They were probably looking for money. Ruth says it seems Kirsty and Ellen were running some sort of honeytrap scam on him. They’re not connected to Cassidy but were in the wrong place and at the wrong time, an almost deadly mistake.
An annoyed Ruth is annoyed that she's been told to pack her bags and go home to Shetland, so she can follow Ellen there and keep an eye on her because in order to get to Cassidy, this girl is the key. Ruth goes but isn't too happy about it.
Fan favourite Tosh (Alison O'Donnell) is currently the acting DI on Shetland. She is soon informed that DI Calder is waiting for her in the incident room and that she’d be her partner on the Ellen Quinn case. Tosh is also told that Ruth has no jurisdiction up here so Tosh is in charge.
The two meet, with Tosh introducing DC Wilson who tells Ruth to call her Sandy. Ruth wants to get straight to work and they dive in.
We learn that Philip Remis worked as an accountant for Kyle Cassidy, head of a crime gang that they’ve been investigating. Remy was reading to give her team evidence to help a case against Cassidy, and they think he ordered the hit. Sandy asks what Ellen is doing at the flat, and Ruth says "Robbing the place".
They think she stole some money from Remis's flat that belonged to Cassidy, and Tosh says that would explain why she didn’t come forward about the shooting. with Ruth agreeing t that she’s probably just terrified.
They need to find her before Cassidy or his people do, worried that they could follow Ellen since she is now inadvertently linked to them. Sandy confirms that they have her details and will keep an eye out, and he’s checking the town’s CCTV. Tosh adds that her parents stay down near Bigton, so they agree to go looking for her there.
When they arrive at the farm, Tosh says they are looking for Stella Quinn. The woman asks why they want to see her, before gesturing them inside.
Stella (Dawn Steele) comes forward, and Tosh introduces herself and DI Calder, explaining they need to talk to her about Ellen. Stella calls out to Kieran.
Stella tells them Ellen is living in London and she has been for the last six months. But Ruth explains they think she came back to Shetland yesterday. Tosh asks if either of them has had any contact with Ellen since Thursday. Stella says she hasn’t heard from her in weeks. They try to get in touch with her but she doesn't answer.
They ask if they know where Ellen might've gone, and are given the name Rosemary Strachan, one of Ellen's friends. But when they arrive at the address, Rosemary tells Tosh and Calder that she hasn’t seen Ellen since she went to London "ages ago". Rosemary adds that they texted now and again but Ellen "ghosted her a bit".
After some digging, they head to Shetland Lettings, who let out holiday accommodation. Here, they finally find Ellen and she's spooked, sliding down the roof to the ground floor and running across the field to try and escape.
Tosh finds a bag she left behind containing a wallet, but no sign of the money. They become concerned that she will flee the island as she has everything she needs. However, they've alerted the ferry terminals and there are cars patrolling, so she's trapped.
Meanwhile, Sandy comes in to tell them that two men assaulted Magnus McCall in his shop earlier, one of them had a London accent — he got an image from CCTV and that means Cassidy knows she's on the island.
Tosh and Ruth interview Rosemary and get her to admit that she has seen Ellen and not only that, has helped her too. She had picked Ellen up from the ferry terminal and took her to the holiday home, putting her up there because she works at the place and was able to sort it out.
However, their luck runs out because although Rosemary has seen Ellen recently, she has no idea where she's headed next. Before the interview concludes, she admits that Ellen is a "nightmare" and "causes trouble wherever she goes".
Right on cue, Ellen has found herself in trouble. After taking a bus trip and brushing off a fellow passenger who tries to talk to her, she falls asleep. Ellen realises her bag is gone, the driver doesn’t know where it is, and she has missed her stop.
They now have an ID on the older guy from the CCTV image, his name is John Howell (Don Gilet), a career criminal with a history of violent assault, and it looks like he’s connected to Cassidy. Ruth finds a picture on Ellen’s Instagram of her with Rev Calder captioned "my favourite minister", and she's shocked to see her brother alongside Ellen.
Ellen walks to a petrol station after her ordeal, unaware she is being tailed by John and his associate. Chaos ensues when the associate shoots the petrol station attendant. Ellen screams. John bundles Ellen into the back of the car, kidnapping her.
Ruth visits the church to speak with her brother who claims he knows Ellen but doesn't remember a photograph. Their exchange is pretty frosty, especially when Ruth apologises for not making his wedding, to which he replies "I didn't expect you to".
After a struggle, Ellen manages to escape John's car and makes a run for it, panicking when she reaches the edge of a cliff. With no other option, she jumps into the water, and is later seen resurfacing and swimming away.
Unfortunately, Ellen does not make it and her body is later found among some ruins after the body of the petrol station attendant was called in.
Shetland season 8 is available on BBC iPlayer in the UK and BritBox, from November 29, in the US.