Talk about a cliffhanger – Steve’s attack by Balaclava Man and subsequent plunge down a stairwell must count as one of the most shocking moments in modern drama. What’s the betting we’re kept hanging for ages before we discover whether he lives, or dies?
NB: Spoilers ahoy!
Whenever Patrick Baladi is involved in a drama, you know the level of charm and perfidy is going to skyrocket. As the mysterious lawyer Jimmy Lakewell, he makes his first appearance in the flesh and appears to defend Nick Huntley… and immediately puts Hastings’ back up by suggesting he ‘dial down the Ian Paisley’. Ooh!
Hastings is having none of this, knowing full well that Huntley is implicated. But thanks to CCTV footage he suddenly isn’t necessarily Balaclava Man – though he does confess to Roz that he was in the building when Steve took the fall, he doesn’t actually admit to being responsible for it. Could Lakewell have done the deed?
As Huntley’s interrogation drags, Hastings is clearly impatient with new boy DC Desford’s paper-shuffling hesitations – he has a long way to go before he can achieve Steve’s slickness, and Hastings give him a partially deserved rocket.
Sweaty Huntley is obviously hiding something, but is it his own guilt, or is he covering for his murderous wife?
But what about Steve Arnott? He’s in a bad way, but with Kate by his bedside, can it be long before he opens his eyes and croaks his version of events? It’s interesting here because Jed Mercurio often has no bones about ditching cast members without too much of a conscience, but here he seems to have reeled things back in. It was the perfect set-up as well – a new member of the team, DS Desford, had been brought in and for all the world it looked like an opportunity to get shot of Arnott and bring in fresh. But – aptly for Easter – Arnott, if not exatctly risen, survives. For now.
Back to the story. Nick admits that he was following Roz, but rather than confess that she was at the murdered Ifield’s flat, she invents an affair, which satisfies Nick’s suspicions for the moment. But can she get away with lying on two fronts? One invention or another is sure to trip her up.
As Desford picks up on Huntley’s trickery with the blood samples from Ifield’s flat, Steve recovers consciousness, and we get a glimpse of his parents for what feels like it will be the first and only time. Well, Hastings feels that Steve is his boy, really.
As Roz starts to feel the pressure, she calls for help from her slimy boss Hilton, who tries to pull her in a Travel Tavern. She keeps him on the hook but at arm’s length. Meanwhile she tries to discredit forensics officer Kevin Gill (Christopher Coghill), but he isn’t having it.
Roz finally gets treatment for her wrist wound – which has now reached such a festering state it looks like she’s turning into a zombie before our very eyes – and is knocking back the paracetamol like Mini Eggs, but still has the strength to slap around her wimpy husband. This domestic abuse adds another layer to her… control freakery, her hunger for power? Her withering rejection of anyone other than herself?
She then proceeds to slap around Ted Hastings, too, turning a classic Line Of Duty interrogation scene (this one was an enthralling 20 minutes) into a scathing series of accusations against AC-12, which, after Hastings and Desford seemed to get the upper hand, she depicts as habitually planting evidence, coaching witnesses and discriminating against female officers. Kate’s cover is blown, Ted is devastated and Roz is triumphant – but now she has to pay the piper. Again, a classic Line Of duty interrogation scene worthy of other series – it ebbs and flows, slithers one way and the other and changes direction completely. We got this with Lindsay Denton, and we now got it with Roz huntley, who absolutely took Hastings and, especially Desford, to the cleaners. As ever it ws powerhouse writing, choreography and acting, especially from Thandie Newton. Hilton, who supplied her with the information she used against AC-12, expects his payment in kind. When he’s turned down, he turns to Plan B – which seems to be AC-12’s faithful Maneet, lurking in the shadows with a suspicious folder.
Hilton, who supplied her with the information she used against AC-12, expects his payment in kind. When he’s turned down, he turns to Plan B – which seems to be AC-12’s faithful Maneet (nooo, not Maneet!), lurking in the shadows with a suspicious folder. What a slimeball.
Though suspicions of Nick Huntley still remain, we now have two more suspects for the role of Balaclava Man – slimy Jimmy Lakewell, and lubricious ACC Hilton. But it’s Maneet’s involvement that has us most baffled – has she been suborned by Hilton, or is he the secret father of her unborn child. That would be ridiculous – wouldn’t it?
Anyway, our theory that tiny Steve could have survived his fall by floating, light as a feather, to the ground seems to have been borne out. But will he be back in action next week, and will he remember anything useful from the attack?
In the battle of wills between Ted Hastings and Roz Huntley, there can be only one winner – at the moment Roz has the upper hand, but her carefully constructed tower of evidence is built on sand, and who is left to kick at its foundations if AC-12 is off the case? We reckon that battered Steve will be back in action next week, off-duty but still determined to crack the case.