The murder mystery series finally returned for its fourth season on the BBC tonight, with cast Douglas Henshall, Steven Robertson and Julie Graham all back for another case to solve. 

It began with the early release of convicted killer Thomas Malone (played by Stephen Walters) back in a sleepy town in the Shetland aisles, after 23 years in prison. 

Thomas had confessed to strangling Lizzie Kilmuir in a case that rocked the police force and all the villagers around for years to come. 

The detectives tried to wrap their heads around the notion that some evidence had been missed in the initial case, not to mention the fact that there was still a mystery suspect from the scene of the crime roaming free.

Shetland Stephen Walters

Shetland: Stephen Walters’ character suffered a harrowing end at the episode’s conclusion

Douglas Henshall

Shetland: Douglas Henshall had viewers gripped from the first moment

Thomas Malone

Shetland: Thomas Malone was wrongfully convicted of murder and served 23 years in prison

Oft that end scene – you’ve taken that too far

Twitter user

Yet things kicked up another notch when another young woman was found dead in a lime kiln the morning after Malone’s release. 

The drama had no intentions of stopping there, as it seemed the writers were determined to ruin the wrongfully accused man’s life even further. 

Terrified and alone in his house on a hill, Malone was suddenly aware that he was under attack from a mob of local residents determined to exact perceived justice for Sally Mccoll’s (Amy Lennox) untimely death. 

Malone was dragged outside and forced to watch as a group of masked men dug his grave, but he still wouldn’t confess to killing the woman. 

As the screen faded to black, viewers were upset after witnessing the harrowing scenes. 

Sharing their feelings on Twitter, one person wrote: “Bl**dy hell #Shetland certainly isn’t set in Midsomer is it.  Beautifully bleak.”

“Oft that end scene – you’ve taken that too far #Shetland,” another fan complained.

A third agreed: “Me and teenage son looked at each other at the ending … Nightmares #shetland.”

Thomas Malone

Shetland: Viewers will have to find out if Thomas survives the horrific ordeal

While a fourth admitted: “Still feeling shell-shocked after ending of episode one of Shetland.”

“@BBCScotland #Shetland how good was that? The last few minutes I was hiding behind my cushion. Roll on next Tuesday. #jimmyperez,” another fan added.

Shetland continues Tuesday at 9pm on BBC One.

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