Rebus ending explained: does Michael escape?

Rebus with Michael as they hold Cafferty prisoner
(Image credit: BBC)

Rebus has been hugely enjoyable, here's how the series ended... The sixth and final episode begins with Michael asking Rebus why he wants to kill Cafferty. He explains what Cafferty did to George. Cafferty makes the point that George was a bent copper. But Rebus defends his friend, saying he was a good man. Rebus punches Cafferty. 

Rhona has a very nice garden! Chrissie explains to Rhona the mess they're in. Chrissie asks Rhona why she cares so much and says she's not one of them anymore. A tearful Rhona says she is. 

Meanwhile, Gill interviews The Chuckle Brothers, who aren't up for talking. "What happened to your nose," Gill asks. "Looks like someone bit you," adds Siobhan.

Rhona phones Gill and says she's worried about Rebus. She tells Gill Michael is after Cafferty. Siobhan reveals she thinks she might have an idea where they could be. The garage. Gill and Siobhan head off to check it out...

Michael tells two of his men to leave, so it's just Michael, Rebus and Cafferty. Michael says he's going to do it. Rebus steps in the way and reveals that he only said he was going to shoot Cafferty to get the gun from Michael. Rebus says he's not protecting Cafferty, he's protecting his brother. It doesn't want him ruining his life. Michael says he felt alive again when he robbed the drug dealers. Michael admits he enjoyed the life of a soldier. Rebus says they should all walk out alive and forget it ever happened. "This isn’t the answer Michael", says Rebus. Michael says he can't go back to normal and points his gun at Cafferty, but Rebus disarms him. But at that point, Cafferty appears to have a heart attack. Rebus goes to check on him and has a flashback to the ambulance incident.

Rhona tells Lockie that Michael has robbed Cafferty, and it's clear Lockie knows who he is! 

Rhona Moncrieffe in Rebus (AMY MANSON)

Rhona's life is about to explode (Image credit: BBC)

Gill and Siobhan arrive in the garage to find Rebus attempting CPR on Cafferty. And it works! Rebus has ironically saved Cafferty’s life. Gill doesn't buy Rebus's explanation of events and says this isn’t over.

Rebus tells his counselor that he thinks he's done something daft in saving a man he genuinely hates. She asks about his drinking, which he claims is "fine" before quipping that he's drunk now. 

Rebus has a phone call with Sammy. Rhona asks Rebus what he thinks is going to happen. He says he doesn’t know and can't get involved. He says he thinks Michael will go to jail. Rebus says he can’t help Michael. 

Chrissie and Michael meet. Michael says he's going to hand himself in and that he owes Rebus for helping him. Chrissie says he should run and use the money to hide and when things quieten down they can meet up. Chrissie says she loves him and that she's glad he tried to change things. It appears Michael takes her advice and flees.

Lockie calls Christie and says he's heard his friend Cafferty might be in a spot of bother. Lockie threatens Christie that he knows where all his money is. Lockie turns out to be much deeper in this than we thought. We're also not sure threatening Christie is a good plan.

Christie is amazingly able to visit Shaun in the hospital! Surely the police would stop this? Anyway, Shaun is worried about putting his hand up for McJagger's stabbing, but Christie says he must. 

Rebus visits Cafferty in his posh hospital and is shocked to find Maggie at his bedside. Rebus grabs her by the arm but she reminds him that it's his family he wants and not her. 

Cafferty tells Rebus it’s not him he needs to worry about, it's the fact that Michael killed one of the UDA. Rebus is stunned. Cafferty offers to "help" for a price. Rebus manages not to try and murder Cafferty again and walks out. Rebus tries to get hold of Michael but can’t. 

Siobhan and Gill interview Shaun but can't get much out of him. Sly Malcolm asks Siobhan for dinner but she refuses. Siobhan is clearly trying to distance herself. Lockie is setting up Sammy’s trust fund for when she's 21. Rhona says they should make it 25 as she was wild at that age and asks Lockie if he was. And he says no he was very boring! Yeah, right Lockie, we know you're a crook. 

"You’re a wonderful man," she tells him. We're not entirely sure Rhona is great at picking husbands. The doorbell goes, and Lockie goes to answer and is shot by a masked gunman. She makes the odd choice of phoning Rebus, rather than an ambulance. Gill tells Rebus, Sammy and Rhona can't stay at the house. Rebus says they can stay with him. "I wanted them back, but not like this". It's not clear who killed Lockie. It all seems neatly set up for a second series...

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!