Rebus: Release date, cast, plot, filming locations and what Ian Rankin has said about the new crime series

It’s the latest adaptation of a series of wildly popular crime novels is due to hit our screens this month.
Richard Rankin as John RebusRichard Rankin as John Rebus
Richard Rankin as John Rebus

A new crime series based on the best-selling Inspector Rebus novels by Ian Rankin is set to arrive on the BBC.

Simply entitled Rebus, it sees Outlander’s Richard Rankin take on the role of the troubled jazz-loving loner who is a genius when it comes to solving crime.

Here’s everything you need to know.

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When is Rebus released?

Rebus will launch on Friday, May 17, with all episodes available on the BBC iPlayer from 6am for those who want to binge-watch. Episode one will air on BBC Scotland on Friday, May 17, and on BBC One on Saturday, May 18.

Who stars in the new Rebus series?

Richard Rankin (Outlander, The Replacement) will be playing the titular role, with Brian Ferguson (The Ipcress File, Spanish Princess) as John’s brother, Michael, and Lucie Shorthouse (Line of Duty, Ten Percent) as Rebus’s investigation partner, Detective Constable Siobhan Clarke.

Previously announced cast also include Amy Manson (The Nevers, The Diplomat), Neshla Caplan (The Rig, Scot Squad), Noof Ousellam (Vigil, Guilt), Stuart Bowman (The Serpent, Bodyguard), Caroline Lee Johnson (Trying, Ridley), Sean Buchanan (Censor, Mary Queen of Scots), Thoren Ferguson (The Midwich Cuckoos) and Michelle Duncan (Baptise, Elizabeth is Missing).

Who has previously played Inspector John Rebus?

Rebus has previously been portayed on screen by Scottish actors Ken Stott, Brian Cox and John Hannah. On radio Alexander Morton and Ron Donachie have portrayed him, while Charles Lawson and John Michie have starred in stage versions.

Where was Rebus filmed?

Rebus was filmed in 2023 in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

What is the plot of the new Rebus series?

The offical plot synopsis is as follows: “Shaken after a violent encounter with gangster Ger Cafferty, Edinburgh detective John Rebus finds himself at a psychological crossroads. At odds with a job increasingly driven by corporate technocrats, involved in a toxic affair he knows he needs to end, and all but supplanted in his daughter’s life by his ex-wife’s wealthy new husband, Rebus begins to wonder if he still has a role to play - either as a family man or a police officer. In a time of divisive politics and national discord, Rebus’s ex-soldier brother Michael, who’s broke, desperately crosses the line in order to provide for his family, and Rebus starts to question if the law still has meaning, or if everyone is reverting to an older set of rules. And if so, why shouldn’t he do so too?”

How many episodes of Rebus are there?

There are six episodes of Rebus - each of which is 45 minutes long.

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Who wrote Rebus?

Rebus is written by Gregory Burke. The writer first found fame after the huge success of Black Watch, a play he wrote for the National Theatre of Scotland which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before embarking on a number of sold out tours - including in America. On the big screen he wrote Irish Troubles drama '71, beofre both writing and directing Entebbe.

Is the series based on particular Ian Rankin books?

The new series is described as being “adapted from the best-selling novels by Ian Rankin” and tat it “reimagines the iconic character John Rebus as a younger Detective Sergeant”, so it’s not clear if it is based on any particular book. It seems more likely that it is an original story featuring the characters dreamed up by the author - although the plot would suggest elements have been taken from debut Rebus novel Knots and Crosses.

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What has Ian Rankin said about the new Rebus series?

Ian Rankin said: “I’m thrilled that Rebus is coming to the BBC. A great cast and a compelling story - I really can’t wait for viewers to see it.”

What has Richard Rankin said about playing Rebus?

Richard Rankin said: “I am thrilled that Rebus will premiere on the BBC. It’s been an honour taking on the role of Ian Rankin’s renowned John Rebus. A character enjoyed by so many in such a fresh and original adaptation.”



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