Rating : ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Categorisation: TV Drama
Availability: TVNZ On Demand, BBC Scotland
Plot: Written by Neil Forsyth and directed by Robert McKillop, Guilt was released in 2019 by BBC Scotland. It’s a story about two Scottish brothers who are involved in an accident on the way home from a family wedding. The older brother is Max, a successful lawyer with a big house, flashy car and stylish city office. The younger brother, Jake is a would-have-been rock star, if things had only gone differently. He now sells vinyl records in his Edinburgh shop, although it’s deadly quiet and we never see a customer. The brothers are completely different types of people who really don’t like each other. But a tragic accident throws them together, joining them in guilt, and they find themselves getting deeper and deeper into a muddy swamp of lies and deception.
Cast: Everyone does well in this series. But the wonderful standout is Mark Bonner as Max. Cunning, with a stare that magnificently displays his power and powerlessness, frustration and helplessness in the face of rising tension and imminent disaster. Jake, played by Jamie Sivers, is also outstanding and is a perfect counter to the successful Max. Jake is a scruffy, likeable musical type, rather on the the naïve side, but with a sharper moral compass than his brother. The interplay between these two characters as they disagree about the way forward humorously drives the action. Ellie Haddington as Sheila, a neighbour who observes everything, is wonderfully fearsome.
Filming and setting: Generally the drama is set in Edinburgh, and the leafy suburb of Leith where Jake’s shop is situated. We don’t see any of the grittiness of Glaswegian drama. Here we see a more genteel setting, with an occasional trip to seedier locations where much of the gangster activities take place. We spend more of our time in the homes of the characters. This clever connection between people and place strengthens our relationships with them. We want them to do OK, in part because we get to know them so well. We start to care about them. It helps that the writing is brilliant. The photography is also great, as is the soundtrack.
As you will gather from my review so far, I think this is a terrific series. It is full of black humour at its best, and everyone has guilty secrets. A massive amount gets done in only four episodes – it starts with a bang and it keeps you on tenterhooks until the final scene.
If you liked Breaking Bad, I think you will like this.