WARNING: spoilers below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 1 here.
Last week saw the triumphant return of BBC One’s corrupt copper conspiracy thriller Line of Duty to the cheers of a telly-loving nation.
Episode 1 introduced and re-introduced the players, set up the plot and reminded us all of the stakes. This follow-up slice of double-dealing drama delved deeper into the mire, muddied the waters even further and really made us all start scratching our collective head. You know, generally doing what Line of Duty does.
By the end of this Sunday evening’s hour of AC-12 action, we were left to ponder what’s starting to become a familiar question… Is the beloved Northern Irish head of police anti-corruption, Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), the much-fabled ‘H’ character?
‘H’, as we’ve known for some time, is the main man atop the pyramid of bent British police types. And not just the name of the slightly annoying blonde lad from Steps.
The final scene here may just have given our lead investigators their answer. DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) laid out a rogue’s gallery of potential H suspects to the blackmailed and turned AFO Jane Cafferty (Hidden‘s Sian Reese-Williams). She instantly picked one out. We couldn’t see the image, but given the shifty looks from Ted – and the disappointed ones from Kate and Steve – it may just have been their superior that Cafferty fingered.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Ted. Say it ain’t so, fella…
Speaking of rogues, we saw more of the undercover operative gone rogue, John Corbett, played by the untouchable Stephen Graham, who is already easily the best thing about this fifth run. He’s a complicated man. He’s not just a criminal – that was revealed last week. He’s not just an undercover policeman gone rogue, either. He is, he tells DS Arnott here, merely pretending to have gone rogue in order to curry favour from the top echelons of the corrupt police types. He is, in fact, vehemently anti-corruption himself. Just like AC-12. The major difference being that AC-12 don’t really go in for shooting bent coppers as much as he does.
For Corbett to flush out H and the big boys, he has to do it from within and it has to be done off the books. That means him and Steve working together. And Steve keeping best pal – but superior – Kate in the dark about it all. Which he duly agrees to do.
Detective Superintendent Alison Powell (Susan Vidler) is likely also involved in the shady machinations, giving that she is in charge of Corbett’s mission, Operation Pear Tree (which should really be called Operation Pear-shaped)
This is Line of Duty, so John doesn’t just text Steve about it or speak to him in a Costa. He kidnaps him at gunpoint and has the discussion while speeding around the back streets of London, in what is comfortably the stand-out scene from the episode.
It’s a case of so far, so good from this fifth run so far. It’s got all the complicated plotting and twists that we’ve come to expect from the series. There’s a faint feeling that it hasn’t fully hit its stride quite yet, but as we’re merely a third of the way through, that shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
We’re maintaining here that H isn’t Hastings. It’s been signposted too early and if there’s one thing that Line of Duty and Bodyguard writer Jed Mercurio doesn’t do, it’s the obvious. Which is why I’ve come up with a very early theory on the identity of ‘H’…
I think it could be – whisper it – Kate. Shhhhhhh…
That wouldn’t explain Cafferty’s photo pointing, though. Unless it’s all an elaborate ruse for Kate to fit up Hastings.
Now that would be a twist.
Did you tune in for Line of Duty series 5 episode 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!