Based loosely on a series of novels by the same name, Hamish Macbeth follows the adventures of the titular character (Robert Carlyle), a constable assigned to the Scottish village of Lochdubh. While Hamish wants nothing more than to go fishing, take walks with his dog, and court his love interest, fate usually intervenes and forces him to actually do his job.
The villagers of Loch Dubh are the usual collection of Eccentric Townsfolk, and include TV John McIver (who claims to have premonitions), Lachlan McCrae (the obligatory get-rich-quick schemer) and his son Lachie Jnr (the obligatory schemer's obligatory useless sidekick), and Doc Brown (the local doctor, who even the eccentric villagers think is a bit odd).
This show contains examples of:
- Accidental Murder: The fate of the villain in 'The Lochdubh Deluxe'
- Asshole Victim: Several, including Christy McMurray in 'The Lochdubh Deluxe and Big Geordie Robb in 'The Great Lochdubh Salt Robbery'
- Battle Butler: TV John.
- Beautiful All Along: Isobel.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Hamish, he justifies this at least twice in the series by admitting he actually likes Lochdubh and he has genuine friendships there.
- Clean Up the Town: When Hamish goes on a temporary leave of absence, his overzealous replacement is lead to believe he's doing this, as TV John encourages him to arrest citizens for minor infractions.
- Driven to Suicide: After Alex dies, Hamish goes to one of the islands in the middle of the loch to off himself. However, he is saved by a spirited old woman.
- Eccentric Townsfolk: The show unusually has a consistent cast of these and develops them nicely. It's even lampshaded in the first ever episode when TV John tells the locals not to play up the weird factor when the plainclothes detectives from Inverness turn up
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Pretty much all of the deaths depicted, including those of Wee Jock [the dog], the "Wee Boy", Alex and TV John McIver, as well as several of the villains.
- Identical Grandfather: The ghost of TV John's grandfather appears in one episode, played by the same actor as John himself.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Hamish and TV John
- Intoxication Ensues: Parodied to great effect. Lachie Junior accidentally discovers a stash of marijuana, but mistakes it for cow feed, and gives it to his dad's cattle.
- Land Mine Goes "Click!": In the episode "No Man is an Island".
- Littlest Cancer Patient: Inverted, as the child is a budding scam artist and unrepentant jerk. However, he redeems himself by the end of the episode.
- Like a Son to Me: TV John outright sees Hamish as this to him.
- Man in a Kilt: Doc Brown, all the time, and other characters on occasion. In the episode where Wee Jock is run over, an entire group of men set off on a search expedition in their kilts.
- The Medic: Doc Brown.
- Never Learned to Read: TV John
- Noodle Incident: "The man before the man before Macbeth" was apparently driven from Lochdubh.
- Opposing Sports Team: Dunbracken in the Shinty Episode More Than A Game.
- Paranormal Episode: Played with in "The Lochdubh Deluxe", where a gravedigger blames aliens for stealing a corpse. Hamish holds a town meeting to discuss this, but, as it turns out, he doesn't believe it: he just doesn't know what else to tell people happened to the missing dead woman.
- Pre-emptive Declaration: In the first episode, Macbeth writes out a ticket for a car's broken headlight, before kicking said headlight in.
- Quirky Town
- Status Quo Is God: Averted numerous times , Lachie Jnr becoming the local undertaker and gaining a love interest and surrogate son is one of the major examples of this
- Sudden Intelligence: In one episode, a craze for reading has taken over the town, leading to a bar overrun with books, and people forgoing drinking in favor of arguments about existentialism. The bartender is not amused.
- Zany Scheme: Lachlan MacCrae and his son, Lachie Junior, often have one of these. These usually end in failure.