A Guide to the Cast and Characters of Guilt
The cast of Guilt luckily aren’t shifty and mysterious like their characters, but they certainly are interesting in their own ways. Learn all about the stars, including their thoughts on their roles, plus some fascinating tidbits about their lives and careers.
Mark Bonnar as Max
The Character: Bonnar plays Max, the older brother of the criminal duo at the center of the series. “Max is a high-flying lawyer,” Bonnar explained of his complicated and not entirely likable character. “Some may think that Max is slightly sociopathic but I think his upbringing, his drive and ambition, not to mention the situation he’s in, combine to show him not at his best! I don’t think he’s beyond redemption or without empathy.”
The Actor: Bonnar was no stranger to his costar and on-screen brother, Jamie Sives. He credits that to their palpable chemistry in the series. “[Jamie and I] went to Leith Academy [Scotland] together in the 80s,” Bonnar explained. “We didn’t really mix in the same circles but we definitely had a connection and good laugh whenever we sat together in class. Twenty years later, when I discovered he was an actor, we started to bump into one another and would go to see each other’s shows and kept in touch. So as soon as Guilt came along, there was nobody else in my mind to play my brother. It was kind of a match made in heaven; we have a lovely relationship, he’s a wonderful human being and a great actor.”
Where You’ve Seen Him Before: Prior to his guilt-filled days as Max, Bonnar’s multi-decade career includes roles in TV series such as Shetland, Catastrophe, and Line of Duty. Video game afficionados may also recognize Bonnar’s voice from his work on the hit game franchise Assassin’s Creed. MASTERPIECE fans may recall Bonnar from Season 2 of Unforgotten and from the first season of Home Fires as Reverend Adam Collingborne and in The Paradise, alongside Emun Elliott.
Jamie Sives as Jake
The Character: Sives plays Jamie, the polar opposite of brother Max. He’s sensitive, artistic, and wears his heart on his sleeve. “Jake’s the timid one of the brothers,” Sives explained. “He’s quite gentle, philosophical and mystical. What transpires is that Jake carries a bit of resentment about his unfulfilled life and, unlike his pragmatic brother Max, Jake is a little bit of a hippy.”
While his brother Max stays (at first) calm and cool about covering up the crime and moving on as if nothing happened, Jake’s guilt eats at him. “This is a huge, life-changing thing to him, whereas Max snaps into trying to fix the situation without morals or scruples.”
The Actor: Sives, too, remembers his long time friendship with Bonnar fondly. “When we both became actors, we’d go along and see each other in theater and we’d meet up every now and then but we never got to work together, until now. It’s amazing to think that the two boys who walked to the high school together all those years ago are now playing brothers,” he expressed. “It’s really quite surreal. I think I’ve worked with every other Scots actor but this is the first time with Mark which has been absolutely fantastic.”
Where You’ve Seen Him Before: Sives is recognized from his role in Game of Thrones as Jory Cassel in Season 1. He’s also appeared in TV series such as Chernobyl, Frontier, and Silent Witness. Sives has also been seen in films including Get Him to the Greek and Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, for which Sives was nominated as Most Promising Newcomer in 2003 by the British Independent Film Awards.
Ruth Bradley as Angie
The Character: Bradley plays Angie, the American niece of Walter, the man Max and Jake killed. Though she hardly knew her uncle, she spends time settling his affairs and questioning the events of his death.
Bradley was attracted not only to the overall story, but the character she played, as well. “She’s very self-contained, cool and she’s not easily fazed,” Bradley told Drama Quarterly. “She’s completely different for me to play; I’ve never played anybody like her at all. There’s something very chilled and cool about her, which I’m not at all in real life, so that’s great for me.”
Fun Fact: The Dublin-born actor, who spent much of her life moving country to country, including Canada, Ireland, and England, has adopted an English accent in numerous series. Guilt gave her another chance to work on it, and hone in on Angie’s specific Chicago accent.
“I love when it’s a different accent because they lend so much to the personality and the character of anybody that you’re playing,” Bradley told Drama Quarterly. “Her accent just lends so much to her. It’s the same with any accent – you learn so much about a person. It’s human nature. We all have an accent in some form; it’s also what we do with our face and how we move.”
Where You’ve Seen Her Before: Bradley has appeared in a number of series, including the recent hit Ted Lasso, as well as Love/Hate, and Humans. Next up: Keep an eye out for her in Season 8 of Endeavour!
Ellie Haddington as Sheila
The Character: Sheila is Walter’s “friendly” neighbor who is the sole witness to the crime. She cared for Walter prior to his untimely demise, and seems innocent enough, until she’s pulled into the brothers’ crime and her demeanor takes on a new edge.
“There are a hell of a lot of twists and turns and that made it really exciting to work on,” Haddington told The Herald Scotland. “Even for us as performers we kept going, ‘Hang on do I know that yet?’ All the way through it, for all the characters, there is this jumping backwards and forward which is drip feeding you information all the time.”
Where You’ve Seen Her Before: Prior to her days as a prying neighbor, Haddington worked on series such as Spies of Warsaw, Ripper Street, and Coronation Street. She’s also appeared in films such as Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them, Creation, and Enola Holmes. MASTERPIECE fans may recall Haddington from Foyle’s War and an appearance in Season 5 of Endeavour.
Moyo Akandé as Tina
The Character: Akandé plays Tina, Claire’s friend from the gym, who soon becomes an attractive distraction from reality for Claire. However, all is not what it seems for either of them.
“When I read more about Tina I knew I would love to play the role, so when I got the call I was delighted,” she told the Sunday Post. “Tina’s a bit of a mystery and what you see is not necessarily what she seems. She unfolds episode by episode, and I’ve never had the chance to play a role like that before. It intrigued me.”
The Actor: Akandé also spoke to the Sunday Post about the hopes she has for actresses of color, and her role in that hope. “I hope there are girls who are young, women of color, growing up thinking they want to do this as a career, who see me on their screens or on stage and say, ‘Look, I can do that, too’… Because when I was growing up, there wasn’t much of that available to me, so times have changed and it’s nice to know people like me are being given opportunities that maybe weren’t there 10 years ago.”
Where You’ve Seen Her Before: Akandé has been seen in a number of films prior to Guilt, including 1745, The Cry, and in a 2014 filmed production of Macbeth.
Siân Brooke as Claire
The Character: Claire is married to Max and has enjoyed their privileged lifestyle, but she begins to suspect that Max is hiding something from her. On top of that, her new friendship with a gym buddy leads her to question everything she knows about herself, and if she has made the right decisions in life.
Where You’ve Seen Her Before: MASTERPIECE fans, do you recognize Brooke? She’s appeared in a number of MASTERPIECE series, including Inspector Lewis, Foyle’s War, and in Sherlock as Elizabeth/Eurus Holmes. She’s also worked on series such as Good Omens, Meadowlands, and in a National Theatre Live production of Hamlet alongside Sherlock costar Benedict Cumberbatch.
Emun Elliott as Kenny
The Character: Kenny works with Max as a private investigator, though his drinking has led to both the breakdown of his marriage and a floundering career. When Max brings in Kenny to investigate Walter’s death he is banking on Kenny’s ineptitude. Yet Kenny proves to be far more astute than he appears.
Where You’ve Seen Him Before: Elliott has appeared in a number of TV roles, including Game of Thrones Season 1 as Marillion, in The Paradise as John Moray, and in Clique. He’s also appeared in films such as Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Prometheus.