Shetland: Ellen Quinn DNA Sample Explained

What are the Bains hiding?

Maisie Seaton as Ellen Quinn in Shetland series 8
Photo: ITV Studios,Mark Mainz

Warning: contains plot spoilers for Shetland series 8 episode 4.

“The Bains take care of their own,” said Bain family matriarch Grace in the Shetland series eight opener when her 23-year-old granddaughter Ellen was declared missing. “Ellen’s a Quinn,” corrected Grace’s son-in-law Kieran Quinn. But is she?

That was the line of inquiry investigated by DI Ruth Calder in episode four, after she heard from a reliable source that when Ellen’s mother Stella was very young, she had a relationship with Ruth’s father. The local Church of Scotland reverend, now-deceased, was the leader of a youth group attended by young Stella, which set Ruth’s mind to thinking – could Ellen have secretly been her half-sister, conceived and born years after Ruth left Shetland as an 18 year old?

“It’s Not a Match”

In episode four, Ruth secretly requested a DNA comparison between herself and Ellen Quinn from Cora’s lab to check, and found out through a very disgruntled Tosh that no, it wasn’t a match. According to the DNA result, Ruth Calder and Ellen Quinn are not related, which means that – assuming Ruth Calder is her father’s biological daughter – Rev. Calder was not Ellen’s biological dad.


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