Guilt season three review: Why final season of BBC Scotland series is a culty, bonkers comedy-thriller with a cracking soundtrack

It opens with the first Princes Street pursuit since Trainspotting. Though wisely, because the thoroughfare is not what it was, the chase takes place in darkness.

A few minutes later there’s the first death – Jonathan Watson, mixed up in drug dealing, but pretty confident he’ll be OK because he’s playing a character called Big Al McKee. Except from being 15 floors up, suddenly he’s not.

The first episode ends with another death and just before the threat of two more, only Max and Jake escape their would-be assassin by squirting sheep dip in his eyes and crawling on their stomachs through cow dung.

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We’re somewhere in the Borders, but how at the end of a mad hour do they get there from an American pub, albeit one proclaiming “Leith” above the bar optics and a peg-letter board advertising a tipple called “Ya Radge”?

Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives get down and dirty in GuiltMark Bonnar and Jamie Sives get down and dirty in Guilt
Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives get down and dirty in Guilt

They do because this is Guilt, now in its third and final series of mad hours, and Max and Jake are, of course, the McCall brothers, seemingly destined to be forever stuck in another fine mess, although the end is near.

What’s the plural of mess? There’s been a lot of them. And what’s the plural of fez? Jake (Jamie Sives) is in possession of 500, possibly one for each of creator Neil Forsyth’s plot twists, although I must have missed the episode set in Marrakesh. Really, Jake and Max (Mark Bonnar) are foot o’ the Walk guys, although the former is more rooted while the latter has always had ideas above his Leith Central Station.

“I’ve slept above this pub for a year,” he says in exasperation. “Grafted like a madman to make this work – make us work. Try to move past guilt and revenge and seek redemption. And where has it got me?”

Well, pal, a culty, noirish, bonkers Scottish comedy-thriller with a cracking soundtrack and loads of Hibs references – what could be better than that?

The pub is failing and Jake goes to the safe to check the exact state of the finances. He tries “1875”, the year Hibs were formed, but that’s not the combination. He tries “2016” – Scottish Cup win – but that doesn’t work either. He opens it with “1981”, the year their dad died, and uncovers his sleekit sibling’s wheeze to fraudulently raise £300,000 against their collapsing boozer. “I was going to tell you about it!” squeals Max (aye, right).

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But then Jake’s girlfriend Angie diddles the pair of them out of the loot. To the sound of the Stranglers’ “Peaches”, they fly home. There they find vegan discos, organic marijuana, Teddy into Zen and Kenny, hoping to produce a little Kenny, into almonds. It’s nuts.

And who’s this with the doom-laden voice? Roy Lynch was supposed to be potted heid. Racing in a stolen van the brothers reflect on their journey unwistfully. Jake: “If we had not hit Walter none of this would have happened.” Max: “I’m not going to dignify that with an answer … but it was you who hit Walter.”

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Meanwhile, who’s the American big-shot with a community centre named after him? Forsyth, fresh from stuffing The Gold with Dundee United references, calls him Jim Sturrock. “Let’s do the deal,” the latter says at the close. “Let’s do it quick.”



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