Guilt Series 3 Ending Explained: The Bank Deal, Jim Sturrock, Escapes and Twists

A LOT happens in Guilt's final episode. Major spoilers as we dig into the end of this excellent Scottish drama.

Mark Bonnar as Max McCall in Guilt
Photo: Expectation/Happy Tramp North,Anne Binckebanck

Warning: contains major spoilers for the Guilt series three finale.

Guilt finales are dense with action and surprise. Creator Neil Forsyth masterfully draws together threads from multiple plots, while secrets and betrayals come tumbling out to trip up the characters’ plans. Only one thing is certain: even if you are able to predict who’ll come out on top, you won’t be able to predict how they’ll get there.

In its third and final series, Guilt put Max and Jake McCall through the wringer once again, as they dodged gangsters, got embroiled in an international financial scam, and underwent a tricky but ultimately therapeutic reunion with their estranged dad. Eventually though, they and everybody else who deserved it found the escape – and hopefully, the peace – they’d been looking for. With major spoilers for anybody who hasn’t already binged all four episodes on BBC iPlayer, here’s how it all played out.

Sir Jim Sturrock, Aliza, Richard and the Bank Deal

Sir Jim Sturrock had bankrupted the (fictional) National Bank of Caledonia through misappropriation of funds and reckless gambling on bad debt. To hide the empty coffers, he’d pulled the same hypothecation trick as Max did with Jake’s Chicago bar but on a much bigger scale – taking out loans that would never be paid back by repeatedly using the bar/bank’s assets as collateral.

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With bankruptcy looming, Jim and US investment banker Richard devised a takeover deal that would earn them both handsome pay outs before they jumped ship and let the whole thing sink when the truth eventually emerged. Aliza discovered the bank’s financial deficit and threatened to derail the deal by going public, but Richard counter-threatened to use her pill addiction to discredit her and Maggie Lynch (whose criminal activities Jim had enabled for decades by knowingly allowing money laundering through his bank) sent her goons to Aliza’s hotel room.

After Skye smuggled Aliza out of the hotel and took her to her mum’s in Leith, Aliza came up with a plan. Max used his knowledge of the bank’s perilous financial situation and Jim’s money laundering for the Lynches to blackmail Jim into transferring the £2m originally intended as a pay-out for Maggie Lynch to an account of his choice. Aliza allowed the deal to go ahead, then anonymously leaked documents proving the bank was broke which tanked the share price, leaving Jim and Richard without their expected pay-outs and her very wealthy as she’d cashed out her shares before the leak, turning the tables on the men who conspired against her.

Jake’s Victory

Jake realised that Max was planning to once again use Kenny for his own ends and channel the £2m transfer through Kenny’s Leith Legal bank account. To stop Max in his tracks, Jake brought Kenny’s laptop to the hospital so when the transfer was made, Jake siphoned off funds for Kenny and Skye (whom Max had promised money but wasn’t intending to pay) and took the rest for himself. He was last seen on his way to Berlin to fulfil his dream of opening a recording studio to give new bands the chance he’d never had.

Jake’s final act was to tell Max that he’d taken the money to prompt him to become a better person, and to pass on Erin’s letter, which contained game-changing information.

Erin’s Surprise

A year earlier in series two, Erin and Max had slept together but split when he went on the run to Chicago after helping her to steal and sell valuable land from her gangster parents. Their brief time together resulted in a pregnancy which Erin kept secret from everybody. Now living in Dundee on her parents’ money, and estranged from her scheming, criminal mother, Erin has been raising the baby alone. Guilt’s final, hopeful scene shows Max visiting Erin’s home and turning to look at his first child, hinting that change really is on the cards for Max ‘look after number one’ McCall. Series three introduced Max and Jake’s estranged father, and showed Erin’s hostile relationship with her manipulative criminal mother. This final twist comes with the hope that Max and Erin now have the chance to form a new family and to heal the hurts of both their childhoods.

Teddy’s Revenge, Maggie Lynch’s Arrest & Yvonne’s Parting Shot

Teddy had more going on upstairs than it may sometimes have seemed, and was determined to change and start a new life. He harboured deep resentment of the Lynches since Roy had covered up Teddy’s brother’s accidental murder (by Erin in series two). He’d gone to Roy’s penthouse intending to kill him in the series two finale, but learning of Roy’s surveillance cameras and under instruction from his father, had instead become an enforcer in the Lynch gang.

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Teddy’s hatred of the Lynches and resentment of his father led him to secretly record incriminating conversations with Maggie Lynch. After he beat Kenny into a coma while working for Maggie, his guilt inspired him to want to change and escape, and so he gave the recordings to Yvonne, giving her the ammunition she needed to arrest Maggie for conspiracy to murder (and countless historical crimes, which her fake dementia defence wouldn’t protect her from now). Between them, Yvonne and Teddy put an end to the Lynch reign.

Kenny’s Epiphany

What next for Yvonne and Kenny? She’d resolved to leave the police after arresting Maggie Lynch, and after his coma, Kenny had the revelation that instead of keeping their work totally separate from one another and never talking about it, they should instead work together and make Leith Legal a family firm for them and the baby they’re planning. Using his cut of the money Jake took from Max, Kenny has a solid foundation for making his dream of opening a chain of affordable legal practices a reality.

Skye and Danny‘s Escape

Skye and Danny seized their opportunity for escape when it was presented, and left Leith and Edinburgh for a new life together in New York City. Aliza became a bit of a fairy godmother to Skye – recognising their kinship and shared background, she gave the keys to her plush NYC apartment to Skye and announced her intention to stay in Edinburgh and leave her old life behind as well. Drug-dealer Danny was in love with Skye and had made enemies by betraying his mob boss Maggie Lynch, and so willingly followed Skye to their new start.

Stevie’s Betrayal

Yvonne’s former police colleague Stevie was a gambling addict in the pay of Roy Lynch in series one and two. He seemed to have turned over a new leaf in series three, after being demoted for corruption. He went against the Lynches, taking part in the police raid on their cannabis farm and shooting Roy Lynch dead in the chase that followed. Stevie also saved Max’s life by radioing in a disturbance while Maggie Lynch and her goons were leading Max away to his death.

After that though, Stevie’s courage faltered and he went back to his old ways. The “redemption” he said he was after turned out to be redemption in Maggie Lynch’s eyes only. Stevie was who Maggie was speaking to on the phone in the finale’s opening monologue about letting her enemies come for her, and he had sold out Max’s location to get back in Maggie’s good books. Of course, Max escaped her goons but Stevie didn’t. Using the words he’d spoken to justify killing Roy Lynch “gun sighted”, they shot him in the head at Sheila’s house.

Sheila’s Next Victim?

We know Sheila to be a murderer and thief who’d been poisoning her elderly neighbour Walter (the old man Jake and Max hit with their van) under the guise of caring for him, in order to steal from him in series one. It was her who recruited Angie to pose as Walter’s American niece in an attempt to get her hands on his house.

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Sheila was a serial offender who routinely killed older men for their money. When she heard about Max and Jake’s father living in his remote cottage, it piqued her interest and the last we saw her, she’d turned up on Alec’s doorstep and introduced herself as a friend of his sons. Is that the death knell tolling for Alec, if this Black Widow makes him her next victim?

Guilt Series 3 airs on Tuesdays on BBC Scotland, Thursdays on BBC Two, and all episodes are available to stream now on BBC iPlayer.