Review: Line Of Duty (S2 E2/6), Sunday 2nd April, BBC1

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(C) World Productions – Photographer: Aidan Monaghan

Last week’s episode did rather stray into Inside No 9 territory towards the end, what with forensic officer Tim Ifield’s bargain-basement B&Q-style Chainsaw Massacre tribute on his kitchen floor. Although, had Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton) been torn asunder, it would have been as good a death scene as Messrs. Shearsmith and Pemberton could have dreamt up for their star players. The scene did pehaps err on the side of silly – indeed, had the late, great Graham Chapman’s Colonel from Monty Python popped up to say it was all getting too silly, we wouldn’t have been surprised in the slightest.

NB: Spoilers inside

Faced with the alternatives of chopping up the very much alive Huntley, or offering to kiss and make up, what is Ifield more likely to have done? That rather depends on whether he is the balaclava killer – suggested by the fact that he actually owns a balaclava – or is innocent – as suggested by the fact that he seems to be trying to clear Farmer.

However, for the current killings at least, our money is still on Huntley’s husband Nick, partly because he’s played by the estimable Lee Ingleby, so must play a significant part in the plot, and partly because if he’s the kind of swine who doesn’t put the bins out, he’s capable of any sort of atrocity.

While Farmer’s hospital alibi gives Arnott a case against Huntley, her colleague Twyler (Michael Stobbart) fills in for her absence. Whan a dismembered body is found, of course we’re meant to think it’s Huntley – but Ifield surely wouldn’t have scattered the parts with such abandon.

No, this is bound to be Leonie , the second missing woman. When Huntley walks into the station, late and a bit shaky but very much un-dismembered, it looks like our suspicions are confirmed.

The first full-blown AC-12 interview of the series sees Hastings on top form, demolishing Huntley and her ineffectual rep with a one-two of dodgy evidence and questionable motivation. Has she really been influenced by a desire to get her stalled career back on track? This might be a low blow from Hastings, and sounds uncharacteristically unfair coming from him, but it has the ring of truth to it – unless he’s playing the long game and actually aiming his accusations at Huntley’s boss Hilton (Paul Higgins).

So with Huntley off the case, what’s happened to Ifield? Huntley has his laptop, and soon finds the biometric evidence that’s done her in – but how did she get his password? Has she tortured it out of him?

The atmosphere in the AC-12 office is tense – Kate’s passed her inspectors exam, so Steve is burning with jealousy, and Kate is grinding her teeth at Hastings’ sexist line of questioning to Huntley. So she takes great pleasure in showing them both the door when Ifield is found dead in his flat, and she gets a stinking glare from Steve in return.

At this point we have to assume that Huntley killed Ifield – but why did she do such a poor job of cleaning up, leaving her blood, and all his work refuting her evidence? Her attempts to interfere with the evidence initially succeed, as does her planting of Ifield’s DNA on the dismembered body – but we bet they’ll catch her out in the end, as will her attempts to conceal Ifield’s phone and laptop.

When it becomes clear that Ifield was in touch with kidnap victim Hana, his motivations become suspect. Now, could it be that he was indeed involved in the kidnappings, but had a partner who later did away with him? Could that partner have been Huntley’s husband, who always seems to get in late from work? (and we still don’t know what he does for a living  – he could be a balaclava salesman).

Buckells (Nigel Boyle), now in charge of Operation Trapdoor, has to be brought to heel when he recognises Kate from a previous op, but at some stage he’s sure to blow the gaff on her.

Hastings, meanwhile, is acting like some sort of sexist dinosaur, calling Huntley ‘darling’, declining to be seen in the pub with Kate and making references to Pan’s People which date him terribly. Hilton is just as bad. It looks like institutional sexism is going to be the underlying theme of the series, so will  Huntley end up being punished for her gender rather than for her crimes?

By the end of the episode though, Huntley is very much in the driving seat again, and there’s no going back for her, she’s ‘in blood so far steep’d’; she’s implicated Ifield, sabotaged the evidence against her, compromised Hilton, and undermined AC-12, and we wouldn’t put it past her to run rings around the lot of them. But she faces a mortal enemy in Kate, who is now seething at being denied promotion. Will the sistas stick together? No way. Someone’s going down hard.

Chris Jenkins

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9 thoughts on “Review: Line Of Duty (S2 E2/6), Sunday 2nd April, BBC1

  1. Although Huntley is a very bent cop and may well have been instrumental in the killing of Ifield, I can’t envisage her overpowering him from a prone position – however surprised he was to find her alive. I think she needed help. I think the reason his body was left in the flat is because it would have meant taking him down flights of stairs past neighbours’ flats – far riskier than taking a body out of a house. And home CCTV is getting far more commonplace now – a lot down my road. Far easier to deal with the body in situ.

    Buckells of course took over the first series investigation from Tony Gates – it came back to me when Hastings was threatening him.

    Ted – you really need to do some equality & diversity refresher training! Fleming has better instincts as a copper than Arnott

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    • I LOL’d when Hastings explained how (essentially) Steve has stronger leadership qualities so he gets the promo. Steve is an undisciplined hothead with all the tact of a bull in a china shop. That’s why he gets all the undercover assignments, right? Oh, wait. . .

      Yes, it sucks but institutional misogyny is alive and well, as always. In other news, water is wet.

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  2. Oh, Ted, I’m disappointed in you! Chauvinistic, sexist…..need I go on.

    Glad Arnott got the promotion, it seemed fair and Kate will be miffed.

    Can’t stand Huntley, but surely that’s the point, she presumaby has killed Tim (Jason, how could your you agree to be in only one episode???) given that she’s got his blood soaked jacket in her car boot. I didn’t buy the swapping of the blood evidence, far too convenient! That’s will surely cement back to haunt her.

    Something seems to be missing this time (Dot!) but I’m hopeful it will pick up.

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    • Yes, there is no one who really grabs you yet, is there?

      The Huntley character is OK, but she doesn’t have the deranged air of poor old DI Lindsay Denton – Keeley Hawes, with the help of THAT fringe, played a truly enigmatic character. You really can’t see mumsy Roz cutting off Ifield’s fingers and then going home to get the kids’ breakfast, but Denton did seem remote and bonkers enough to get her colleagues ambushed.

      I am sure I will never love again the way I loved Dot.

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  3. Also, I don’t get the feeling that Huntley is much cop as a cop; no wonder Hilton sees her as a kindred spirit – they both seem mediocre at their jobs, whereas Denton and Tony Gates from the first series were actually good cops who felt unhappy that they allowed themselves to be compromised – to the point where Denton got herself murdered while facing down Dot, and Gates sacrificed himself through suicide.

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  4. This is great, over-the-top roller-coaster fiction, awesome writing, terrific performances. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Thandie Newton better. LOVE this series.

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  5. I agree, Deborah. Denton and her fringe were so great! I’m not keen on Thandie Newton – I find it too easy to find nothing likeable (or even real) about her at all in this. I don’t even find her a convincing Mum. It’s all a bit too one-sided, but maybe that will change…

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    • I agree that Lindsay Denton was a more interesting character, but really all she had in her life was her job. Huntley is very, very controlled, which makes me wonder how she managed her life before she returned to work? Now that she’s back, she’s definitely focused on that and, not her household.

      We haven’t really met the kids yet and I wonder what Lee Ingleby’s character will get up to?

      PS I love the fact that you don’t like her. Great performance by Newton.

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