Jed Mercurio loves to lull his target audience right into a false sense of protection, after which cosh them over the pinnacle with a surprising reveal. But within the exceptionally talky, feature-length final episode of Line of Duty’s fifth collection, he delivers the blow with a feather duster as opposed to a truncheon.
Talky, in reality, is an understatement. This is a chin-wagger for the a long time, and even though the display – which has shattered its previous viewing data this year – wraps up most of its free ends, it does so with excessive leisureliness.
The remaining reveal is that AC-12 leader Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) is harmless of the corruption fees in opposition to him – in particular the accusation that he’s crook mastermind “H”. Evil lawyer (has there ever been a non-evil one on a police procedural?) Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker) was orchestrating a huge stitch-up in opposition to him the entire time.
But heavens, it takes an age to attain the pay-off. Along the way, we need to take a seat sweating with Hastings as, minute by using minute, he is grilled via useless-eyed careerist detective Patricia Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin). Hardcore fans can also have preferred the gradual-burn pace after an movement-heavy series. Anyone rubbing their palms in anticipation of an explosive finale, although, can be underwhelmed with the aid of the emphasis on banter over blazing bullets.
With one eye possibly on visitors who – tut, tut – haven’t been absolutely paying interest, taking notes and many others, Mercurio has Carmichael rehash all the evidence towards Hastings. The £50K within the big brown envelope, that computer wiped at a handy second (he claims it contained his porn stash), his murky past serving with the RUC in Northern Ireland and, especially, his questionable friendship with a widowed IRA informant.He sighs and sweats. She looks so very cross. Perhaps the purpose is to permit ambitious performers move face to face. But there isn’t an awful lot hostile chemistry. Dunbar and Maxwell Martin appear to be appearing beyond each other.
What momentum the 84-minute episode does possess is courtesy of the ever trustworthy DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston). They’ve gone again to Liverpool for a repeat quizzing of the wife of lifeless undercover copper John Corbett. Hastings stands accused of getting Corbett accomplished with the aid of leaking his undercover popularity – part of his evil machinations because the omnipotent “H”.
Helpfully, Corbett’s wife caves in and furnishes important evidence so as to clean Hastings’s call. And simply in time, too. Back at the interrogation room, DNA statistics (faked by Biggeloe) is produced that connects Hastings to Corbett, even though he insists they’ve never met.
Game, set and in shape Carmichael – until Fleming and Arnott charge in with a mystery recording saved by using Corbett (and handed over via his wife). Here, we hear Biggeloe misidentify Hastings as the man who offered out Corbett’s mother – sure, the IRA informant – to paramilitaries returned in Belfast inside the 1980s. It’s all a part of her plot to weaponise Corbett, and use him to take down the most sincere cop on the pressure and a thorn within the flank of organised crime.
Biggeloe, it transpires, went over to the criminal dark side whilst working as a defence lawyer – a clue she dropped formerly. Of direction, putting off Hastings might additionally be a boost to senior police management made to look incompetent with the aid of his unit’s relentless pursuit of rotten apples. Everyone would be a winner (apart from pesky Hastings and AC-12).
Towards the end, there is ultimately some action. One of Carmichael’s officers seems to be an evil secret ninja assassin operating for the bad men, and gorily stabs capacity informant Biggeloe via the hand in the girl’s lavatory.
Yet Biggeloe is ultimately just a minor player, and the search for “H” is showed to be ongoing as Fleming and Arnott, reviewing the loss of life Dot Cottan’s final message from collection 3, exercise session that there are sincerely 4 evil police overlords pulling the strings.
As he bled out, Cottan spelt “dot, dot, dot, dot” in Morse code. His final utterance of “H” became not an preliminary but a clue (“H” in Morse code is four dots). “Four dots… 4 police body of workers in league with organised crime.”
Three, we are reminded, were recognized in preceding collection. Who is wide variety four? Hastings appears perturbed. But is that a worried expression, or the frozen features of – cue capability Mercurio twist – a responsible man?
Line of Duty may additionally have wended its manner to a chatty conclusion this yr. But with a 6th series already inexperienced-lit, it’s clear there may be nonetheless a whole lot of mystery left to unpick.