Line of Duty S5:E01 Review

Line of Duty Series 5 Trailer

[Contains spoilers]

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

“There’s only one thing that’s worse than a bent copper and that’s a bent copper who pretends she isn’t.”

Line of Duty returned with a bang last night with a thrilling opening sequence that saw the return of the Balaclava Men in a dangerous heist involving the hijacking of a police consignment of drugs. The dramatic scenes involved the death of three police officers and PC Jane Cafferty’s life being spared by gang member Lisa McQueen, which ensured that AC-12 were quickly assigned to investigate the incident. Soon, it became apparent that a member of the OCG (Organised Crime Gang) was an undercover officer, but who? With all signs pointing to Lisa, the big twist was revealed in the final scenes and the UCO was actually gang leader John Corbett (played by Stephen Graham). The show also stayed true to its form of killing off cast members with the shock murder of corrupt PC Maneet Bindra.

In between all the dramatic events, the episode revealed how life had moved on for the AC-12 squad since Series 4. Superintendent Ted Hastings appears to be going through a divorce and staying in a hotel, where he is behind on paying his bill. DS Steve Arnott is slowly recovering from his accident in the previous series, but remains in physical pain. DI Kate Fleming appears to have reconciled with her family and yes, in a surprise twist, she is the officer who has been promoted to DI. With Steve having emerged as the likely candidate in Season 4, has the rise of the #metoo movement affected writer Jed Mercurio’s plans for Season 5? Or is it simply that Steve’s accident has derailed his career opportunities?

The unfolding of events throughout the episode raised a whole host of new questions. With no contact for months between the police and John Corbett, is the UCO really deep undercover or has he now gone rogue? Could Lisa McQueen still be another UCO? Could Ted Hastings really be a likely contender for the mysterious H? Who was he calling at the exact same time that Lisa McQueen’s phone rang? So many unanswered questions!

Last night’s episode has now become the most watched show of 2019, with 7.8 million viewers watching it live. Were you one of those viewers? What are your theories?

Line Of Duty – Series 4


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUzQhOmroIY&sns=em

Rating: 5/5

***Please note: This review contains Series 4 spoilers!***

My Sunday night tv viewing is now devoid of good drama, after the end of Line of Duty last week. After a triumphant finale, this series is still being talked about a week later and, after much speculation, it has been confirmed that the programme will return for two more series. The news shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering the BBC had moved the show from its previous slot on BBC2 to its new home on BBC1 for Series 4. Such a move is always a clear indication of how much faith the BBC has in a show’s future and proved the right decision after last Sunday’s finale drew an average of 7.46 million viewers.

What a thrilling and gripping finale it turned out to be! I was literally on the edge of my seat, whilst in between hiding behind a cushion for some of the more excruciatingly tense moments. Considering I was new to the show, I quickly became invested in the story and its characters. Normally I am quite pedantic about my tv viewing habits and prefer to watch a show from its conception. Line Of Duty has been on my Netflix watch list for quite some time now, yet by chance I found myself watching the first episode of the fourth series with family. After that opening nerve-wracking cliffhanger, how could I not carry on watching such an exhilarating series?!

As a new viewer, Line Of Duty Series 4 felt like a fresh story and while there appeared to be hints of  the anticorruption unit’s work from the previous seasons, it was easy to follow what was going on regardless. I quickly grew to love the show’s central characters and equally despise its core villain. AC-12’s Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) provide the moral backbone of the series and a foil to the duplicitous DCI Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton).

Initially I was surprised to hear of the addition of Hollywood star Newton to such an already well established series. However, it wasn’t difficult to comprehend the actress taking on such a role after viewing just one episode. There’s not many characters that have me screaming at the tv! DCI Roz Huntley is one of the most manipulative and devious characters I’ve witnessed on tv recently and Newton played her with such complexity that I have no doubt she will be nominated for every television award possible this year.

I was delighted when Huntley received her comeuppance in the final episode, with justice being served at last for the murder of forensic investigator Timothy Ifield. Somehow though, Huntley  evoked a sense of sympathy and redemption by confessing to her crimes, as well as displaying decent detective work by cornering her own lawyer for his involvement in the Balaclava Man mystery.

The show didn’t shy away from issues such as gender inequality and it highlighted the difficulties women still face in their careers. DCI Roz Huntley appeared to be penalised for putting her family before her career for many years and severe pressure was placed on her to solve the case that resulted in her framing of Michael Farmer. Without a doubt, Huntley had to fight her way to the top of the career ladder and a ruthless streak appears to be deemed necessary in order to get ahead in such a male dominated industry.

When Kate was passed over for promotion in favour of her colleague Steve, the implication was evident that it was because of her gender. Then there was Jobsworth Jodie, one of the most irritating characters I’ve endured on tv lately. Clearly motivated by promotion prospects, she turned a blind eye to Huntley’s suspicious behaviour and divulged confidential information at any given opportunity. However, on a more positive note, times have moved on from the chauvinistic days of the past when women in the police force were merely deemed capable of menial tasks such as making tea, as showcased in the recent ITV Prime Suspect:1973 adaptation, a prequel exploring Jane Tennison’s early days in the police force.

Police procedural dramas are always a winning formula and Line Of Duty displayed an intelligence often not seen in other shows of the same genre, particularly when dealing with forensic details. Of course certain elements are still inaccurate, but there will always be some discrepancies for the sake of dramatic tension. Strong leading characters like Hastings, Fleming and Arnott have a dynamic on-screen chemistry and provide the heart of the story. The AC-12 team looks set to have their work cut out for them in the next series as they continue to uncover the mysteries of the conspiracy ring involving the Balaclava Men. While much of the loose ends were tied up in the finale, there is still the question of who H really is and there were plenty of teasers for what lays ahead in Series 5.

The success of Line Of Duty Series 4 demonstrates the importance of quality over quantity. The BBC is known for producing fantastic dramas and much of this success can be attributed to their formula of creating short series that span a few episodes compared to the standard US prime time tv network format of a 22-24 episode arc. This style often leads to a diminishing quality in a series and results in many ‘filler’ episodes. However, American cable television has been following a similar shorter format for a number of years and it looks like many of the prime time networks are coming to the realisation that a shorter narrative arc results in a more polished and improved story. With the BBC commissioning new adaptations of Little Women and The War of the Worlds, this golden era of television shows no sign of abating and long may it continue. In the meantime, I’ll be revisiting the rest of the Line Of Duty series!

Did you watch Line Of Duty? Have you seen all the series? Do you have any good tv recommendations? Don’t hesitate to get in touch and let me know!