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Guilt on Masterpiece


Buckle up for the final season of Scottish crime dramedy Guilt

Two brothers whose guilty consciences have chased them through two seasons of dark hijinks finally face their past in the third and final season of darkly funny Scottish crime drama Guilt.

Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe) and Jamie Sives (Annika) star as brothers Max and Jake McCall, whose lethal accident and subsequent cover-up have sent them on a twisted journey through Edinburgh’s seedy underbelly.

Guilt on Masterpiece on PBS. Pictured: Jake McCall (Jamie Sives) with Alec (David Hayman) the fisherman who has been keeping an eye on the McCall brothers from afar.
Anne Binckebanck/PBS

Guilt  kicked off in its first season with the McCall brothers trying to keep their heads above deep, troubling waters following a hit-and-run accident; Jake was at the wheel on their drive home from a wedding when they hit and killed a man. Keen to keep their involvement in the death a secret between only the two of them, Max and Jake think they’re out of the woods when they manage to cover up any evidence of a car accident and frame it all as the natural death of an already sick man.

That scheme, however, became complicated by various factors, the first of which was the brothers’ vastly different personalities. Max, a slick lawyer with a taste for the finer things in life, would prefer to forget what happened the night of the accident and carry on. Wracked with guilt for what they did, Jake — who chose a much simpler life for himself as the owner of a record store, and whose morality is a constant pain for Max — ends up turning the screw and getting them increasingly involved with the dead man’s family.

Guilt on Masterpiece on PBS. Pictured: Mobster Roy Lynch (Stuart Bowman) and local minister Sandy (Ian Pirie).
Robert Pereira Hind/PBS

Their lies eventually catch up with them, and to save himself, Jake turns on his brother, saddling Max with a prison sentence, while leaving everything behind to flee to Chicago, where he ended up running a dive bar.

The second season saw Max freed from prison. Motivated by his time behind bars, Max stepped back into society looking not for forgiveness but for revenge on an old foe. With his brother busy across the pond, he teamed up with another unlikely partner.

Guilt on Masterpiece on PBS. Pictured: Private investigator Kenny Burns (Emun Elliott) plays a larger role this season.
Robert Pereira Hind/PBS

Initially included in the cover-up plot to exploit his inadequacies, Kenny Burns (Emun Elliott, Sexy Beast) unfortunately proved Max wrong by managing to be a competent private investigator who saw the brothers’ plotting for what it was. With that behind them, Max used Kenny again for help in taking down a local gangster who had it out for him. Mobster Roy Lynch (Stuart Bowman, Grantchester) had his claws in the McCalls, all because Max used to work for him before his life as a lawyer.

Now a loose screw in his machine, Roy moved to take out Max for having informed on him in prison in exchange for an early release after two years locked up. Max’s game against Roy included the help of the gangster’s own daughter Erin (Sara Vickers,  ), who resented her father for his life of crime. Max managed to stay a step ahead of Roy the whole time, but this season he has another arm of the Lynch family to contend with.

Guilt on Masterpiece on PBS. Pictured: Maggie Lynch (Phyllis Logan) is the real brains behind her husband’s criminal organization.
Robert Pereira Hind/PBS

The second season revealed that the real brains behind the Lynch operation was Roy’s wife, Maggie, portrayed by Phyllis Logan (Shetland). For years, Roy and Maggie had been playing the long game, going to such lengths as separating, making Roy the face of their operation, and for Maggie, faking an injury that necessitated lifelong wheelchair use, all in order to avoid suspicion. It was all meant to lead to a future together with Roy, Maggie and Erin living as a happy family afforded through an elaborately crafted life of crime.

Guilt on Masterpiece on PBS. Pictured: Erin Lynch (Sara Vickers) has never been onboard with her family’s illicit business.
Robert Pereira Hind/PBS

It wasn’t meant to be in the end, and now Maggie and Max are engaged in psychological warfare for his hand in upending the Lynches’ dreams. With his brother back from Chicago and right by his side, Max and Jake get tangled up in the city’s crime world yet again. His hard-won status as a lawyer in the respectable part of town a distant memory, Max finds himself involved this season in more than just his own schemes.

Guilt sells Edinburgh as a place vastly smaller than it looks at first glance, where everyone is connected whether you know it or not. Logan, who grew up in Scotland, spoke with Masterpiece before the second season about how the series uses its setting.

“You do get to see a sort of secret world,” Logan said of Edinburgh. “It’s like going down into the tunnels underneath what you see on top. It’s like burrowing down deep into the innards of a city.”

Guilt on Masterpiece, airs Sunday, April 28, on WTVS and KCTS

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