Guilt series 2 sees familiar faces return to the BBC drama, but when is the Scottish crime show back?

Guilt series 2 is set to get even darker, but how many of our favorite characters will be in it?

Guilt series 2 starring Mark Bonnar, airing on BBC
(Image credit: BBC)

Guilt series 2 is almost here but following the unforgettable first series, many viewers might be left wondering—which stars are returning and when does the atmospheric Scottish drama start again?

With Silent Witness 2022 seeming incredibly far away and people waiting patiently after *that* Vigil finale to see if season 2 might happen, the triumphant return of a similarly tense show is just what crime drama fans have been waiting for. Starring Scottish talents Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives as brothers Max and Jake, the first series of the hit BBC program aired back in 2019. 

Guilt followed the pair as their lives became a living nightmare after being involved in a hit-and-run, but now things look set to take an even darker turn in the highly-anticipated Guilt series 2. With so many brilliant Scottish actors in this Edinburgh-set show, this is a true masterpiece in Scottish drama sure to keep you in suspense.

But what will Guilt series 2 be about, which cast members are returning and when can we finally watch the new episodes?

*Warning: spoilers for series 1 ahead*

Guilt series 2 starring Mark Bonnar

(Image credit: BBC)

What will Guilt series 2 be about?

The first series saw Max and Jake united by overwhelming guilt after they accidentally run over and kill an old man on a dark street. Ultimately, it became just too much to bear and it was Jake who betrayed his brother to the police after discovering that cutthroat lawyer Max had been planning to implicate him and flee the country. 

Now, in Guilt series 2, things look very different, opening with two characters being shot, with Max shortly released from prison and attempting to rebuild his life. According to the BBC, former lawyer Max attempts to reconcile with Roy Lynch, a gangster from series 1 who took over his business when he went inside, though Max’s efforts are rebuffed. 

But when Roy’s daughter Erin desperately needs help, the criminal is forced to turn to Max and forces the disgraced lawyer to help him and his family. Things might not be that simple, however, as the BBC intriguingly revealed that Max “has a secret motivation to reveal” which doesn’t sound good for the characters involved... 

Guilt series 2 starring Mark Bonnar as Max

(Image credit: BBC)

And whilst Guilt series 1 followed one main storyline, show creator, writer and executive director Neil Forsyth has expressed how he felt a sense of freedom in this series. He told the BBC, "I think I wanted to challenge myself, and I also wanted to deepen our understanding of a larger group of characters. 

He continued, "Looking back at the first series, I think that having the one storyline then narrative branches off it made some of the surrounding cast slightly thinly drawn and often their involvement was purely to service that main plot. Having multiple storylines that then entwine I found more liberating, in hopefully creating a decent group of rich characters."

How the mix of old and new characters will bring these multiple storylines to life across four spellbinding episodes remains to be seen—and we can't wait!

Who is returning to the Guilt series 2 cast?  

Perhaps the most recognisable figure who is returning to the Guilt season 2 cast is Mark Bonnar as Max. His horrific crime was the primary focus of season 1 and his and Jamie's brilliant performances made this already suspenseful crime drama all the more memorable. 

Though newcomers to the show might not have the same insight into the characters as long-term fans, Mark is no stranger to crime dramas. He has appeared in everything from fellow BBC shows Silent Witness and Line of Duty, to ITV's Unforgotten as Barrister Colin Osborne, for which he won a BAFTA Scotland award.

Guilt series 2 returns to the BBC, starring Mark Bonnar

(Image credit: BBC)

And his ventures into Scottish-set crime dramas in particular haven’t stopped there, with starring roles in Shetland and, of course, Guilt. Though his character Max certainly won’t be the same as when viewers last saw him…

Opening up in a BBC interview ahead of Guilt series 2 airing, Mark revealed that Max “has seen things on the inside that have changed him as a person”. So whilst the actor believes Max is “still out for number one the majority of the time”, he thinks there’s a “slither more empathy to his character”. 

Guilt series 2 starring Sara Vickers and Mark Bonnar

(Image credit: BBC)

Reflecting on where viewers will find Max in series 2, Mark mysteriously explained, “I think his outlook is quite bleak to begin with, but Max is a survivor if anything, and he is very clever and knows how to manipulate situations to his advantage, so he won’t be on his uppers forever.”

Sadly for fans of Jamie Sives’ portrayal of Jake, the character won’t be returning for Guilt series 2. There is another prominent familiar face returning, however, and that’s Emun Elliott as Kenny. In Guilt series 2, Kenny has opened his own legal practice and is regularly attending AA meetings, with Max turning to him for a job after being released from prison. 

Guilt series 2 starring Emun Elliott

(Image credit: BBC)

Emun was delighted to portray the shifting dynamic between the characters, explaining, “I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to finally gain some authority over Max’s character. Watching Max forced into such menial tasks like repainting Kenny’s office gives Kenny a huge sense of satisfaction, not to mention a rare taste of authority - this is new for Kenny.

“A feeling he’s never had the privilege of experiencing. Mark and I had a lot of fun playing with this new dynamic,” he added. 

New cast members joining Guilt for series 2

Guilt series 2 new cast members 

  • Stuart Bowman—Roy
  • Phyllis Logan—Maggie
  • Sara Vickers—Erin
  • Rochelle Neil—Yvonne

It might take a few minutes to get used to Bill Paterson’s departure as crime boss Roy, but Stuart Bowman’s brilliant performance in this re-cast role will likely win you over. The actor has previously explained how his character’s relationship with his daughter Erin is hugely significant in this second series.

“I think that mistakes have clearly been made. We see early on that something has happened in their relationship and we then go back and forth with our loyalties,” Stuart stated. “All of that shifts constantly. It's really interesting playing a character, knowing what's happened beforehand but the audience don't know. And that's just a lovely thing - but all will be revealed during the series.”

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Stuart went on to discuss his on-screen family, including Erin and wife Maggie, sharing what makes them truly terrifying in his eyes. He said, “I mean, they're all pretty bold people. There's a lack of fear among all of them. And the scariest people in my experience are folk who are just not scared of consequences.”

Downton Abbey star Phyllis Logan will be joining the cast of Guilt for series 2, playing Maggie, whilst Sara Vickers acts alongside her as Erin. Maggie lives in assisted home living and uses a wheelchair after a car accident earlier in her life. And her devotion to her daughter is the source of any personal guilt the character feels according to Phyllis.

Guilt series 2 starring Sara Vickers

(Image credit: BBC)

She revealed, “I'm not sure Maggie has much guilt about things but I suppose it's daughter related. If she was going to have any guilt at all, it would be in connection with her daughter, but that’s probably quite minimal!”

Meanwhile, Endeavour season 8 star Sara, who plays Erin, has spoken about the differences between Guilt series 1 and 2. Referring to the first season as “very suburban”, Sara said that the latest offering “has got so many spokes that come off. It's got a different feel. It feels the same but different”.

Guilt series 2 starring Rochelle Neil

(Image credit: BBC)

If the arrival of Roy’s family is not exciting enough, Rochelle Neil also joins the cast as Yvonne. Yvonne is described as a smart, streetwise divorcee and police detective, who is also a recovering alcoholic forced to make some very difficult choices when her professional and personal life blur. 

Asked by the BBC whether she thinks we’ll see Yvonne again in any potential series 3, Rochelle responded, “I hope so. Yvonne has so far been a bit of a lone wolf. I’d be interested to see why she didn’t just head back to London after her divorce. Maybe she’s running from more than we think.”

Guilt series 2 coming to BBC, starring Mark Bonnar

(Image credit: BBC)

When does Guilt series 2 start and how to watch it

Guilt series 2 starts on Thursday 14th October at 9pm on BBC Two and has already begun on BBC Scotland. The episodes will also be available to watch over on BBC iPlayer. So if you’re not able to tune in as the sinister storyline unfolds on screen, then there’s plenty of time to catch up on everything before the next episode airs. And for anyone who missed out on the spectacular Guilt series 1, then never fear! All four episodes of the award-winning show are on BBC iPlayer ready to give you all the insight you need into these returning characters. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with seven years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.