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Line of Duty series 6 review

Episodes: 7

Premiered: 2021

Duration: 1 hr

Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), Detective Inspector Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) are back on our screens in Line of Duty series 6.

The latest instalment sees Trainspotting and Boardwalk Empire actress Kelly Macdonald guest star as Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson, who heads up a serious crime team investigating the murder of investigative journalist and soon finds herself under the suspicion of AC-12.

Here’s Steve’s episode-by-episode Line of Duty series 6 review.

Line of Duty series 6 episode 1 review

Minor plot spoilers for Line of Duty series 6 episode 1 below. Still catching up? Take a first look at the series here.

‘We can keep it on the DL so long as we have a CHIS on the MIT.’

That’s right, Line of Duty is back!

Sunday nights are just that little less dreary when Jed Mercurio’s dodgy copper drama is wedged into BBC One’s 9pm slot. The opening episode of its sixth series debuted this Sunday, to the usual fanfare and impressive viewing figures. Luckily for fans of the show, it didn’t disappoint.

Everything viewers expect was there in Line of Duty’s return: tense action scenes, office-based shouting matches, police staff looking shifty over desk dividers and, of course, acronyms. Lots and lots of ruddy acronyms.

Last time out it was all about ‘OCGs’. This series is less interested in organised crime groups and seemingly more about covert human intelligence sources. Which is why ‘CHIS’ was casually trotted out every 30 seconds for the full hour. Admit it, you had to Google it, didn’t you? We certainly did. If for no other reason than to check we weren’t mishearing things. Twitter confirms the mix-up – a very similar-sounding rude word trended on there for the entirety of Sunday night.

Casual viewers may feel a little out of the loop with all the abbreviations and initialisms, but it’s indicative of a level of realism and confidence in folk watching at home. Line of Duty makes no apology for the fact that it’s complex, unrelenting and full of jargon. The deal is simple: They make complicated high quality drama, we pay attention. Get distracted with Instagram or tea-making duties and you’re done for.

To the plot and, as ever, it comes at you thick and fast. The opening scene sets the pace and presents us with a brand new character/lead suspect in DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald). She heads up a serious crime team investigating the murder of investigative journalist Gail Vella (Andi Osho). Her number two is none other than Kate Fleming who, we learn, has recently left AC-12 and is now a DI.

DCI Davidson is soon thrown under the suspicion bus when she reroutes a unit that’s out to arrest a suspect in the Vella case, instead sending them to attend a suspicious-looking armed robbery. When the op is finally back underway it appears as if the real suspect has been replaced with a fall guy. We’re left with the distinct feeling that McDonald’s character is subtly pulling strings and sabotaging the case, but we’re not sure exactly how or why. Not yet, anyway.

Getting Steve Arnott and AC-12 involved is DS Farida Jatri (Anneika Rose), a member of Davidson’s team and, we discover, her (ex) lover. That latter fact perhaps suggesting that Jatri may not be the most reliable of sources for Steve. Has she really smelled a rat? Or is she merely preparing to grind an axe?

Hints at a burgeoning connection between Joanne and Kate lay the breadcrumbs for episodes to come. Will Kate and AC-12 square off as loyalties become split? It looks likely as ex-AC asset Kate suspects her former ‘gaffer’ Ted Hastings of holding some ill will against her. New boss Joanne is not only likeable and wily, she also presents Kate with something of a role model and career path. And that’s without any personal, romantic entanglement factored in.

The wider mythology of the Line of Duty universe is coming into play for the first time in the series’ history. Previously, series existed almost separately – aside from the ongoing ‘H’/caddy storyline. Here though, we’re seeing multiple references to series, plots and characters past.

Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells is back as the boss of DCI Davidson’s team. Suspect Terry Boyle returns, not seen since he was being manipulated by the bad guys of the first series. There’s also the suspect’s flat being slap bang opposite last series’ OCG HQ (they’ve got us using them now, look…).

While entirely watchable and packed full of twists and great performances, 2019’s fifth series lacked some of the spark of previous runs. Even guest star Stephen Graham failed to lift it out of a slight malaise in places. From this showing, series 6 appears to have got Line of Duty very much back on track.

What’s most positive about this return is that it’s true to itself. The show’s overwhelming popularity could have seen writer/creator Mercurio demand more money from the Beeb and write in explosions up the hoo-ha. Instead, Line of Duty’s gone back to basics. Strong plotting, clever casting and bulletproof writing means that, for the benefit of the DIR, the sitrep on AC-12’s AFOs, UCOs and SIOs is that they’re all A-OK.

BRB.

What did you think of Line of Duty series 6 episode 1? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments below…

Can’t get enough of Line of Duty? Check out our book recommendations for fans of the show here.

Read Steve’s review of Line of Duty series 6 episode 2 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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Line of Duty series 6 episode 2 review

Minor spoilers for Line of Duty series 6 episode 2 below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 1 here.

Right. We’re really getting into it now, aren’t we…?

The conspiracy is beginning to unravel already. The victim at the centre of Operation Lighthouse – Gail Vella (Andi Osho) – was an investigative reporter, so the idea that she was killed by an obsessive fan was a smokescreen that was fairly easy to waft away. The truth appears to be that the journalist’s murder was more of an assassination, the style of shooting suggesting a hit. As Steve and his new DC Chloe Bishop (Shalom Brune-Franklin, Our Girl) discovered here, Vella was about to drop some pretty heavy truth bombs.

At the time of her murder, the intrepid Vella was working on a tell-all podcast about corrupt police officers’ involvement with organised crime, seemingly frightening both the bent coppers and the crims. In an interesting scene, real-life events are referenced, which remind us all that while Line of Duty may be a work of fiction, the topics dealt with are very much real.

‘It’s now a matter of public record that Jimmy Savile cultivated relationships with senior police officers. Savile exploited those relationships to intimidate anyone attempting to investigate his offending. We now realise what Savile was getting out of those relationships with senior officers’ Gail says in a piece to camera.

Shades of Jill Dando’s still-unsolved murder continue to be suggested to us. The former Crimewatch reporter was said to be working on a big exposé involving Savile and corruption when she was gunned down outside her Fulham home in 1999. The killing was initially pinned on a local man in much the same way as the Terry Boyle thread here.

And that’s just the start of it. Things are getting complicated. Very complicated.

Line of Duty obsessives should be in their element here, as there are frequent callbacks to characters and events past. The wider mythology of the series is really being explored, making perfect viewing for students of the show. But more casual – or newer – viewers may be left a little in the dark. Our advice is not to feel guilty about having a few browser tabs open on your phone as you watch. There’s nothing wrong with reminding yourself of series past while you tune in to this latest run.

Handily, the odd bit of exposition is thrown in to help us out. It’s useful for keeping up with the plot, but it doesn’t always make for the most natural dialogue imaginable. Still, we’re thankful for it.

Boyle was never really a suspect in Vella’s murder, was he? He was set up, with a far more sinister man called Carl Banks in the frame for the hit. Here, Banks was found dead. Just like the ‘CHIS’ (informant) was last week. So not only are those threatening to expose the murky goings-on getting clipped, so too now are the hitmen hired to kill them.

We hardly needed proof of it but this second episode confirmed that DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) is indeed in cahoots with organised crime; having the undercover crim PC Ryan Pilkington in her team was perhaps a bit of a giveaway. That said, she appears to be involved under some kind of duress. Is she being blackmailed? It seems likely.

In a packed hour, Steve got a promotion to DI, making him think twice about giving AC-12 the elbow. His painkiller addiction continued apace, still gobbling up codeine tablets like they were Tic-Tacs and quite possibly scuppering his chances of a relationship with John Corbett’s widow Steph. We also saw Kate and Jo grow ever closer and Hastings met with further resistance and passive-aggression from his superiors. Steve and Kate are also growing further apart – it won’t be long before they drop the ‘mate’ from their reciprocal greetings.

All in all, this week’s was a solid if rather unspectacular instalment – up until this sixth series’ first interrogation scene. It’s the drama’s USP, where it really shines. And round one of Davidson vs AC-12 didn’t disappoint. The decision was unanimous, the points went to defending champs from the anti-corruption unit. Although the challenger landed a serious blow towards the end of the round with her decision to plant burner phones at PC Jatri’s house.

Round over, it was time for everyone to sit on their stools, catch their breath and take a swig of water. Until it’s seconds out for another round next Sunday night.

How did you rate Line of Duty series 6 episode 2? Let us know in the comments below…

Can’t get enough of Line of Duty? Check out our book recommendations for fans of the show here.

Read Steve’s Line of Duty series 6 episode 3 review here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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Line of Duty series 6 episode 3 review

Minor spoilers for Line of Duty series 6 episode 3 below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 2 here.

Before this sixth series of Jed Mercurio’s labyrinthine corrupt police drama began on BBC One, the Beeb were quite enthusiastically promoting its back catalogue on iPlayer. It made sense because there’s a captive audience for television content right now – and there are few better ways to pass time at home than by binge-watching something of the quality of Line of Duty.

Three episodes into the slightly extended run of seven here and it’s clear there was an ulterior motive for the promotion of series 1-5. Top brass knew that this latest series was going to need viewers to be fully refreshed on Line of Duty’s not insubstantial history.

True, each new hour begins with a healthy reminder of previous incidents and the central characters aren’t afraid of a little helpful exposition. Some scenes are seemingly crowbarred in to allow Steve, Ted or Kate to go over old ground and remind us all of something from years ago that’s about to prove pivotal. Yet for all those reminders and hints, it’s starting to feel a little heavy going. Newer fans will be scratching their heads so much they might be drawing blood by episode 5.

To the events of this week and there’s plenty to get through. An eyewitness comes out of nowhere (which is always suspicious…) to put Terry Boyle back into the frame. After Kate and Joanne quiz Boyle it yet again becomes clear that the boss is leading the investigation away from links between Gail Vella’s murder and organised crime.

Just as Boyle appears to be about to spill the beans, the lid is firmly shut on the can and it’s chucked into a reservoir. But bent young PC Ryan Pilkington’s attempt on Boyle’s life goes askew. Instead it’s just PC Linda Patel who ‘died in the line of duty’, an ironic little line that always amuses.

PC Patel’s murder alerts Kate to the shiftiness of Pilkington, played with a clever restraint by Gregory Piper. She goes to Steve who instantly recognises him as the kid that ‘nearly cut off’ his fingers.

The weird swipes at the BBC continue apace. For the writer of the BBC’s biggest show, Jed Mercurio has no qualms about dredging up his employer’s shadier past. Last week it was their covering up of Jimmy Savile, this week it was their filming of the police raid on ‘elderly pop star’ Cliff Richard.

Meanwhile, Steve and John Corbett’s widow Steph continue to grow close. ‘You remind me of him,’ Steph says. ‘What?’ Steve replies, ‘a shorta*se?’ Stephen Graham will have appreciated that little dig watching at home, no doubt.

The burgeoning relationship could be nice for Steve, given his painkiller addiction and loneliness. Well, it might’ve been nice until he snooped around Steph’s house and found an envelope full of cash. Something linking her and Hastings and a deal that’s not exactly above board. That’s not going to help our waistcoat-wearing friend. Nor is the seemingly random work drugs test he’s just been called in for. That codeine’s going to get him in some serious trouble.

To Ted and once more AC-12’s top cop is told by his superiors to cease the department’s search for the final H. ‘This isn’t about old battles,’ DCC Andrea Wise tells the gaffer. ‘The name’s Hastings,’ he shoots back. ‘I’m the epitome of an old battle…’

We ended with Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells in handcuffs, being led into AC-12 for an interrogation we’ll presumably see next week. The man’s a pillock, but despite the golf club he’s often seen waving about in his office, he’s unlikely to be another caddy or the next H. He’s just too thick. It looks far likelier than Jo Davidson is setting him up. And it appears she’s doing a good job. In fact, Buckells looks so well framed he wouldn’t look out of place on a wall of the Louvre.

With Buckells having been in the series since its debut run all the way back in 2012, plenty of things have gone down with him in the following decade. Next Sunday night’s episode and inquisition of the man looks set to reward those fans that decided to rewatch those earlier seasons as we were so urged to by the BBC.

What did you think of Line of Duty series 6 episode 3? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below…

Can’t get enough of Line of Duty? Check out our book recommendations for fans of the show here.

Read Steve’s Line of Duty series 6 episode 4 review here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

1 Comment

    Pilkington is just a probationer and it’s unlikely he would be anywhere near a major investigation. He would be on the streets with an older copper, learning the ropes.

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Line of Duty series 6 episode 4 review

Minor spoilers for Line of Duty series 6 episode 4 below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.

Mother of God… This week’s Line of Duty couldn’t have been more Line of Duty if it tried. The fourth episode of its sixth series was almost like a greatest hits hour, with everything fans of the show love – and now demand – packed tightly in.

Its critics might argue that this hour of television almost felt as if it was written algorithmically, such was its methodical hitting of all the marks and tropes. You won’t hear those critics, though. They’re heavily outnumbered and silenced by the show’s legion of dedicated and vocal fans.

There was intrigue, interrogations, revelations, old characters reintroduced, gunfire, shocks, twists and at least three or four of Ted’s best-loved catchphrases. This week’s slice of Line of Duty had it all.

We picked back up with the Buckells interview. Unlike previous square-offs that the interrogation room has seen, this was just a battering. The man had no answers to the team’s barrage of questioning. Unless you count ‘I don’t know why I don’t know’ as a legitimate response. He’s corrupt, but not at any high level. He’s just a bit of an idiot. One who enjoys a little pun ‘n’ typo-filled text fun with women – ‘will u show me your trunshon?’ made me genuinely laugh out loud.

Buckells now suspended, DCI Joanne Davidson stepped up as acting Superintendent. Her first bit of business? To kick killer PC Ryan Pilkington off the MIT. Although he soon reminds her that she’s in the OCG’s pocket and might like to rethink her plan.

To poor Steve. What do you do when you have a bad back? Rest up? Have a nice Radox bath? Well, quite. One thing you don’t do is sit in a Transit van that gets flipped over at 60mph and then get involved in a gun battle. And we thought getting hooked on prescription painkillers was a bad idea.

Not that any of it was planned, of course. Steve and the team had figured out that Gail Vella’s explosive new source – perhaps the reason she was killed – was Jimmy Lakewell. An established character first seen back in series 4, Lakewell is a smarmy, dodgy and now-banged-up solicitor, one who knows where the bodies are buried. Perhaps even literally.

AC-12 realised that the information he was about to leak to Vella could well crack the case wide open and so Steve hatched an elaborate plan to get Lakewell out of prison where the OCG can get to him. It’s a fine idea until things get flipped 90 degrees and the bullets fly…

Is it the end for AC-12? It certainly seems that Hastings’ career is done for. His relentless search for the truth at the cost of bad PR led to top brass informing him that not only was he getting forced into early retirement, but that his team’s days were also numbered. AC-12 are to merge with AC-3 and AC-9 and can expect to see their numbers cut by 90%.

Ted has a month to announce the news before things start happening. Is that enough time to get to the bottom of Gail Vella’s murder and finally clear the force out of its insidious ties to organised crime? It’s an ambitious target.

We left Line of Duty this week on a cliffhanger. The forensics back from Sergeant Farida Jatri’s house, it appears that Joanne’s DNA very closely matches someone else whose DNA was already on the police database. Someone AC-12 is familiar with. Who is it…? We’ll have to wait for next week to find out.

Could it be Danny Waldron, Tommy Hunter, Dot Cottan? Mike Dryden, Nigel Morton, Chief Constable Osborne? Or someone else? It could be anyone – there have been 32 episodes of the thing televised over the past nine years, after all – but our guess is Tommy Hunter.

It was something of a classic episode, this. We were, perhaps, expecting one of the main characters to meet an untimely end – but can’t say we were disappointed they all came through unscathed. Well, apart from Steve and his back. Someone send some heat patches up to Central Police HQ, eh?

What did you think of Line of Duty series 6 episode 4? And what are your theories on who Joanne’s related to? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below…

Can’t get enough of Line of Duty? Check out our book recommendations for fans of the show here.

Read Steve’s review of Line of Duty series 6 episode 5 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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Line of Duty series 6 episode 5 review

Minor spoilers for Line of Duty series 6 episode 5 below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 4 here.

And you thought last week’s Line of Duty ended on a cliffhanger…

Compared to this week’s final scene, all that ‘who’s Joanne Davidson related to?’ stuff was nothing. That whole business was merely tripping up on a kerb compared to this week’s actual hanging-off-a-cliff cliffhanger. Can we all keep clinging on for a full week before we find out where those bullets ended up and who made it out of that tense Mexican stand-off?

Let’s rewind to the start of this week’s episode and all eyes were on that file. Viewers found out that MIT head officer Davidson (Kelly MacDonald) is a blood relative of OCG kingpin Tommy Hunter, as we very cleverly predicted in last week’s review. And, as we’ve learned so many times before, it’s handy when you’re a gangster to have the old bill on your side.

It looks like we may have stumbled across the crime that Gail Vella was doggedly investigating, the one which got her killed. It was the murder of one Lawrence Christopher, a young black man beaten to death by a gang of racist white men. Whose murder investigation was bungled due to institutionalised racism within the police force. Sound familiar? Well, quite. Don’t worry, it wasn’t designed to be subtle.

The connection between Tommy Hunter and Lawrence Christopher? Hunter’s son Darren was one of the killers.

As with the Jill Dando and continued Jimmy Savile references, these real-life references can feel rather clunkily crowbarred into a fictionalised universe, almost like Line of Duty is grasping at some kind of meaning or relevance. What’s wrong with settling for being the most talked-about and anticipated drama on the box?

While we’re being mildly critical, this sixth series, while tense and pacy, does feel a little like a greatest hits compilation that’s perfectly represented by Ted’s wheeling out of his old catchphrases. Last week’s ‘Mother of God!’ stood aside for his ‘now we’re suckin’ on diesel’ here. He’s got nowhere to go after using that, surely.

As if things aren’t often complicated enough in the world of Line of Duty, for a moment this week they went a wee bit head melting. The introduction of a new character, another retired bent copper, had millions of us furrowing our brows at the same time. Teased to us via a database photograph, it’s none other than James Nesbitt. Who just played a corrupt policeman in another Sunday night BBC One crime drama from Jed Mercurio, Bloodlands. What’s going on?!

Suggestions of a crossover or even an interdimensional portal opening up at Steve Arnott’s desk were soon dispelled when we learned that Jimmy N wasn’t playing his Bloodlands character Tom Brannick, but another dodgepot officer – this time by the name of DCI Marcus Thurwell. His role in the final two episodes should look to help tie up the case. Unless he just remains a photo on a screen… What a cameo that would be. How would you go about charging for that kind of appearance as an actor?!

Sweeping in at the end of the episode like Cruella de Vil with a badge was the familiar Anna Maxwell Martin as the officious ice queen Detective Chief Superintendent Patricia Carmichael. Her grand entrance effectively marking the end of Ted’s tenure and AC-12’s existence.

Speaking of the end of existence… that cliff we were left hanging over. We were pushed towards it by a series of little plot shoves that – were we to go into them all here now – would take you all day to read. Suffice to say that there’s a lot going on and now just two episodes to uncover it all in. If we have to do that without one of the Big Three, it’s going to be all the more tricky.

Let’s hope it’s Ryan Pilkington who doesn’t end up clawing his way back up from the cliff edge.

What did you think of Line of Duty series 6 episode 5? Let us know us your thoughts in the comments below…

Can’t get enough of Line of Duty? Check out our book recommendations for fans of the show here.

Read Steve’s review of Line of Duty series 6 episode 6 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

Join the discussion

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Line of Duty series 6 episode 6 review

Minor spoilers for Line of Duty series 6 episode 6 below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 5 here.

Ordinarily, the end of the sixth episode of Line of Duty is also the end of the series. A month and a half of twists and turns culminates in a big finale after half a dozen instalments. Not so this year. With so many back stories and new stories coming together to create one giant jigsaw of complex and complicated corruption and conspiracy, a seventh hour was created. And Mother of God, is it needed. As the dominatrix said to the octopus, there’s a lot that needs tying up here.

To the resolution of the second almighty cliffhanger in a row and – PHEW! – Kate’s alive. OCG asset PC Ryan Pilkington, alas, is not. A double tap to the chest from DI Fleming saw to that. Fleeing from the scene with her boss, a corrupt officer who just lured her to her potential death, Kate sped off in Steve’s MX5 for a flashy car chase. Why she didn’t just hand herself in, we don’t really know.

A tense standoff followed where, for a moment, it looked as if Kate might draw her gun on her arresting officers and go out in a Young Guns-style blaze of glory. Steve calmed her down though, and she was cuffed alongside her boss/friend/love interest/enemy/who knows what else, Davidson.

It was certainly a lively opening 20 minutes. What followed was slightly less so.

Line of Duty has always been about waves and peaks, ups and downs. Thrilling action scenes followed by tense interrogations scenes. The two trading off and creating a TV rollercoaster. Here, though, the final forty minutes saw AC-12, led by Detective Chief Superintendent Patricia Carmichael, quiz Davidson. The new boss cagily steered the conversation away from top level corruption and Davidson answered ‘no comment’ for 90% of her questions.

The scene certainly fleshed out Joanne’s character and motivations but at two thirds the running time of the episode, it felt a little like overkill.

For our weekly check-in at the Ted Hastings Catchphrase Hotel and this visit was a cracker. After a couple of weeks of rehashing old favourites, we wondered what everyone’s favourite Superintendent had left up his impeccably pressed sleeve. We didn’t leave disappointed…

‘Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey!’

We can only wonder what next Sunday’s seventh and final episode will have in store in terms of verbal flourishes from the irrepressible Northern Irishman.

Now unless something unexpected happens in the final episode and Marcus Thurwell isn’t really ‘muerte’, it looks as if James Nesbitt’s bent copper was silenced with a silencer over in the Costa del Crime. If he really was, it has to go down as the briefest and easiest cameo in TV crime history, with the Cold Feet man appearing in precisely zero scenes. Nice work if you can get it, eh?

How is this sixth series stacking up in the wider context of the show? Is it a classic? Well, perhaps not. On balance it has more to it than series 5’s overreliance on Stephen Graham’s charisma. It’s weighed down slightly by its dedication to sew together every plot thread the show’s ever touched upon, but only a little. Oddly, this run’s weakest aspect is what usually makes the show so good – the script.

There’s the odd smirk-inducing line, but for the most part this series has been fairly exposition heavy, with the odd clanger of a line dropped in. Hearing Kate saying something like ‘I haven’t got the foggiest what’s going on, all I know is that somebody is behind all of this’ can make you wince some.

Nitpicking aside, this has been an impressive juggling act so far. There are rumours that this sixth season will be Line of Duty’s last. Next week’s seventh and final hour of series 6 will no doubt give us a strong indication if that’s to be the case or not. Expect Carmichael and Chief Constable Philip Osbourne to loom large over the climax of the series…

…then again, this is Line of Duty. Anything could happen. Most of the country will be tuning in to find out what does indeed happen. As will we. We’ll see you there.

What did you think of Line of Duty series 6 episode 6? Let us know us your thoughts in the comments below…

Can’t get enough of Line of Duty? Check out our book recommendations for fans of the show here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

Join the discussion

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Line of Duty series 6 episode 7 review

Minor spoilers for Line of Duty series 6 episode 7 below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 6 here.

As you’re no doubt aware, the ‘AC’ in Line of Duty’s ‘AC-12’ stands for ‘anti-corruption’ – and not ‘air conditioning’ as you’d have been forgiven for thinking when the programme first started way back in 2012. As a significant percentage of the British public sat down to watch its sixth series’ seventh and final instalment on Sunday night, it could also stand for a couple of other things. Was the hyped finale going to be absolutely cracking? Or an anticlimax…?

The answer is, well, it all depends on how you look at it. And plenty of people did look at it. In fact, this last episode attracted an average of more than 12.8 million viewers throughout its 58-odd minute run time. That’s a record for any TV drama (not including soaps) since these sorts of records began.

As for what the 20% of the UK that tuned in thought… it’s safe to say that not everyone was happy. The general consensus – at least from fans of the crime drama on social media – is that this final episode left large swathes of them feeling more than a little disappointed.

Why? Well, we’ll spare the finer details in case you’re yet to watch the last hour of the series, but what we can say is the identity of ‘H’, or the ‘Fourth Man’ left more than a few viewers surprised, even a little dismayed. The Big Reveal came with something of a whimper. ‘Who is the Fourth Man?’ has been modern British telly’s ‘Who Shot JR?’, where only the most incredible unveiling would have appeased fans.

It seems that Line of Duty may have disheartened a few of its devotees here, but – and bear with us on this – that may well have been the point…

The show’s famous for adrenaline-pumping stunts, tense cliffhangers, intense interrogation scenes and rug-pulling twists. At its core, however, is a level of realism and heart that was perfectly encapsulated in this sixth series by its references to real-life events such as the Jimmy Savile, Jill Dando and Stephen Lawrence cases. So when we found out who was left pulling the thin blue strings for the OCG, perhaps the most rational, authentic and logical answer made sense. The banality of evil and all that.

Now with an answer, at least Superintendent Hastings can relax a wee bit now. ‘This thing has been driving me mad for years!’ he exclaimed at one point. You and us both, Ted fella. You and us both. We all deserve a bit of a rest.

So is this the end of Line of Duty? The answer is that no one knows just yet. Except perhaps its writer, Jed Mercurio. The BBC are, of course, keen to see it continue. With eight-figure ratings, it’s hardly surprising. Whether those behind the series fancy making more is another thing entirely. The feeling of completeness and finality to this series and ending does suggest a tying up of loose ends.

Do we want – or need – more series? It’s tempting, of course. Everyone loves event television and Mercurio’s blockbuster is often great fun. In truth though, its past two runs haven’t quite hit the high standards that the first four set. Miss it as we might, this may just be the ideal time to draw a line under Line of Duty.

That said, would we watch another series or even a spin-off, perhaps? In the misspelled words of now-captured Fourth Man… oh, definately.

What did you think of Line of Duty series 6 episode 7? Let us know us your thoughts in the comments below…

Can’t get enough of Line of Duty? Check out our book recommendations for fans of the show here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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3 Comments

    Season 6 was really great but a bit of a anticlimax so no7 here we come

    I couldn’t help comparing the bumbling Buckles to our umbling PM Boris Johnson. Hiding behind the facade of a bumbling character that people find hard to take seriously, but in reality is making all the hard, corrupt decisions. Hastings speech at the end about integrity and honesty I thought could easily have been a statement about our Government too.

    Just rewatching from series 1 – 6 Was a fan from the beginning
    Definately would watch series 7 !!

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