Review: Line Of Duty (S3 E4/6), Thursday 15th April, BBC2

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/04/2016 - Programme Name: Line of Duty - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 4) - Picture Shows:  Superintendent Ted Hastings (ADRIAN DUNBAR) - (C) World Productions - Photographer: Mark Bourdillon
 (C) World Productions – Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

If murdered cop Danny Waldron has deliberately created a trail of evidence leading to abusers from Sands View boys home, who were the guilty parties? Corrupt officer ‘Dot’ Cottan probably knows, and his masters are getting jumpy now that disgraced policewoman Lindsay Denton is out of jail, so she must know something too.

AC-12 boss Hastings and legal council Jill Bigelow  offer Denton a ‘truth and reconciliation’ session after her wrongful conviction, but she’d not about to do a Mandela, and insists that there’ll be no forgiveness until her former colleagues Arnott and Fleming jump through her hoops as well.

Denton throws enough doubt on Arnott’s sexual conduct that even Hastings has difficulty in defending the ‘irritating wee gobshite’, and Fleming begins to lose her trust in him as well.

Meanwhile Cottan is keeping an eye on Denton, so is she scheduled for elimination?

The fatally compromised Hari is grilled over the deaths of his coleagues Waldron and Kennedy; he admits to killing Waldron, but under whose orders was he acting, and what do his puppet-masters have on him?

Further questioning of abuse victim Joe leads to Oliver Stephens-Lloyd, a social worker at Sands View. His supposed suicide was suspicious, so was be bumped off to conceal complaints from the home?

Hastings cosies up to Bigelow, but his Catholic guilt makes him pull out at the last minute.

Lindsay Denton is living in a halfway house, fighting off a sleazy probation officer and trying to rejoin the police – fat chance, even if she wins her appeal. Meanwhile she’s mopping floors in a supermarket for a living.

Arnott realises that Waldron’s dying words referred to a list of names, and has forensics test the empty envelope found in his flat – we expected them to find traces of Cottan’s chili, but in fact it was torture victim Linus Murphy’s blood. Murphy’s file has obviously been redacted – when Arnott finds out he was a suspect in the murder of gangland boss Tommy Hunter, he tracks down Denton at work for a Lidl chat.

If the murders of Hunter and Murphy were connected, then maybe corrupt police officer The Caddy isn’t dead – Fleming, and of course Cottan, go to question sidelined Nigel Morton (Neil Morrissey), who under duress fingered dead cop Jez Cole as The Caddy.

The return of Morton which we predicted last week means that Cottan’s house of cards may come tumbling down. The two strike a bargain, each knowing they could bring down the other; Morton agrees to destroy the evidence he has on Cottan, and to affirm his story about The Caddy to AC-12. He gets himself off the hook, but Fleming is now even more determined to find out the real identity of The Caddy.

Forensics from the Oliver Stephens-Lloyd case suggest murder rather than suicide, and the original report leads to Chief Superintendent Fairbank (George Costigan), a vice cop, associate of abuser Councillor Roach, and old mate of Hastings.

So when Arnott and Fleming go to question the plausibly befuddled Fairbank, it’s an amazing development that Hastings turns up to sit in. Arnott recognizes a Masonic handshake – cold fingers run up our spine here – surely Hastings, so sterling in his pursuit of justice, couldn’t be compromised himself? Surely he couldn’t be the ultimate mole in AC-12? If so, why would he be so determined to keep the unstoppable Arnott on the team?

Cottan finds himself in the unenviable position of having to present an inspectors’ briefing on The Caddy, but ingeniously uses it to implicate Arnott; then he retrieves the incriminating burner phone from Morton. Their parting hug looks genuine, but Dot has a gun in his pocket, so it could have gone either way. But Morton’s no fool, and has kept another phone, so Cottan, though he doesn’t know it, is not off the hook yet.

So, is the seemingly dim Hastings in fact the mastermind behind this whole Masonic conspiracy? Does Cottan actually want to get out and retire to a little farm, as his heartfelt conversation with Morton suggests, or does he have a hidden agenda? And will Arnott and Denton go off into the sunset hand in hand?

So there’s a way to go and plenty of questions to be answered before the apparently nerve-shredding extended finale.

Deborah Shrewsbury

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