After last week’s shocking cliffhanger (when isn’t there a shocking cliffhanger in Line Of Duty?) we couldn’t wait to see whether our chippy wee fella Steve Arnott continued his recovery, and whether Roz Huntley and her husband Nick’s relationship – Jeremy Kyle will surely come calling after this series – further dissipated. All bubbling up nicely…
NB: Spoilers from the start
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – why is there a continuing question over Ted Hastings’ membership of the Masons? Surely the writers know that the Catholic church (and Ted is a good Catholic) disapproves of Masonry to the point of excommunicating its adherents?
Nonetheless, Roz Huntley has included accusations of trouser-rolling in her tirade against AC-12, and ACC Hilton has gone so far as to recuse AC-12 from investigations into Huntley.
Hilton is using Matthew Cottan’s dying accusations of police corruption as part of his evidence against AC-12, but is he, in fact, one of the network of corrupt officers? He’s certainly sleazy enough to raise our suspicions.
In episode five of six, the plot is now galloping at a ridiculous pace. Steve, who until recently was a shattered mess, is suddenly back at work (although admittedly in a wheelchair and unable to clean his disgusting-looking flat). We knew he was a superman, but one second he’s doing physio, and the next he’s back at his desk as perky as ever.
Equally implausibly, Desford is frozen out of the investigation, despite being desperately needed now that Steve’s in a wheelchair and Kate’s cover is blown. Ah, but Maneet has been using Desford’s passwords to feed ‘Dot’ Cottan’s dying confession to Hilton; so Desford is just a handy dramatic tool for Ted Hastings to rail against.
With AC-12’s reputation slipping – even oafish Buckells is no longer afraid of them – things are looking grim until more dismembered body parts are found. The imprisoned Farmer’s guilt now looks questionable, and he’s talked out of pleading guilty by his nan, obviously a better source of legal advice than Farmer’s comatose and incompetent (to the point of comedy) solicitor.
Having already proved himself a prime git by insulting Ted’s Irish heritage, slimy solicitor Lakewell refers sneeringly to the wheelchair-bound Steve as ‘Ironside’ (and we don’t have to explain the reference to A Man Called Ironside, the paraplegic TV cop played by Raymond Burr, do we?). We’re willing to bet that Lakewell was having an affair with Roz; but all she’s flirting with now is liver failure, as she chucks back voluminous amounts of painkillers. Certainly, she can’t get further support from Hastings, who has dumped her over her disinclination to show gratitude for his aid.
So when Nick Huntley turns to Lakewell for advice over his suspicions of Roz, we suspect that he’s digging himself deeper into trouble. When Roz inevitably collapses with septic shock, and has her forearm amputated, she blames Nick – well, who wouldn’t? – and has him arrested for the murder of Ifield. Lakewell, we reckon, is just going to bury him deeper. But this arm thing with Roz – has it humanised her? Has it given her character some quasi-mythical dimension? Does the amputation act as punishment for a crime committed? You can discuss all these things, although the loss of her arm does feel metaphorical in a way. No matter, Roz Huntley seems to have attained Macbeth levels of twisted ambition and now survival.
Meanwhile, when Steve hears that Leonie Collersdale’s body parts have been kept in deep freeze, he’s reminded of crooked property developer Jackie Laverty (Gina McKee), who (in series one) was murdered by a gang of balaclava-clad thugs, and kept in deep freeze. AC-12 leaps into action, assuming that Roz Huntley has been manipulating the evidence to protect her husband Nick, only to be stymied again when they find that Nick has been arrested and Roz is firmly back in control.
But a larger question emerged from this helter-skelter episode: are we back to the same kind if gangland involvement that underpinned the first three series?
Confronting Hilton, Ted is wrong-footed when ‘Dot’ Cottan’s dying confession is used against him; if he were in the Masons, now would be the time to pull the old secret handshake.
Though the suspects in the Ifield murder seem to have narrowed down to Roz or Nick, we’re still in the dark about who Farmer is being framed to protect, and indeed why he’s been willing to go along with it. We sense an enormous twist and possibly the return of a familiar character in the finale, especially because, thanks to Hilton, the ghosts of series past seemed to have resurfaced.
Though it was good to see ‘Dot’ Cottan again in this episode, if only on video, is it beyond the bounds of possibility that he could return, perhaps having been saved by the sort of medical miracle that restored Steve, and whisked away under the cloak of a false identity?
Surely we’re being primed for something on that scale of jaw-dropping audacity? This is Line Of Duty, so quite probably.
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