REVIEW: Line Of Duty (S5 E1/6)

Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) is a very worried man.

Not only has all hell broken out on his patch with an armed police convoy transporting a £10 million-pound heroin seizure for incineration hijacked, and three firearm officers dead, he also has what 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon would call ‘a home toilet situation’.

Aimlessly flicking at the useless flush handle at his concierge-serviced lodgings, he reflects on his earlier elation that the ‘H’ problem has been resolved. The recent demise of Assistant Chief Constable Derek Hilton (Paul Higgins) – widely assumed to be the bent-cop mastermind who was enabling a city crime syndicate (and last seen in Docklands, having apparently committed suicide by blowing off his head with a shotgun) – seemed to indicate that only the loose ends of the gang need tying off.

But life in the City with No Name is not as easy as that.

We hope you did your revision on series one-to-four on iPlayer, you lot at the back, now pay attention and stop live tweeting because there’s a lot going on here in the setup and as this is the most acronym-heavy police franchise on TV you’ve got to know your UCO (undercover officer) from your OCG (organised crime group) or you will get hopelessly lost.

Anyone who thought that Balaclava Man shot dead by Hastings at the end of the last series was a lone gunman is now disabused of that view. Indeed, there are hordes of them in different teams tootling around the country lanes – and one of them is a woman – bad girl Lisa MacQueen (Rochenda Sandall). She plays decoy in the ‘mum with a baby trapped in burning car’ ruse to stop the police convoy. The ‘baby’ is a doll and once this is discovered, MacQueen’s accomplices gun down the police officers.

She is obviously a ‘player’, but seems equivocal about administering the coup de grâce to severely injured policewoman DS Cafferty (Sian Reese-Williams, Emmerdale), hesitating despite orders from the gang leader to “finish her”.

She’s a goner,” she lies.

Naturally, the fact that Cafferty is the only one left alive (apart from the civilian armoured lorry driver, who makes a run for it) sparks suspicion in the minds of AC-12 anti-corruption cops DS Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) that she is complicit in the heist. Protesting her innocence, Caffery says she believes that the woman might be a mother and didn’t want to make another child motherless – and she was the only parent on the convoy.

The whole debacle elicits a heartfelt “Mother of God” from Hastings, and it’s decided to work on the theory that the hijack had been carried out by a rival gang to the one from which the drug stash had been confiscated.

Which is bang on the money, as lead hijacker John Corbett, a poundshop Al Capone, plans to sell them back at an astronomical profit to the original ‘owner’, rival gang boss Slater (Barry Aird).

Corbett is played by big-name guest star Stephen Graham (the impish-faced but powerful actor who so memorably played the real Capone in Boardwalk Empire at the behest of Martin Scorsese, no less).

As Steve busily scans through the database of known female gang mugshots, Kate indulges in a cosy mum-chat over baby videos with desk-based PC Maneet Bindra (Maya Sondhi) in a ‘when this war is over I’m gonna marry my best girl’ dramatic cliché. Why not just dress Maneet in the red ensign’s shirt from Star Trek? This is an uncharacteristically clunky scene for Line Of Duty.

The police database throws up a betting shop robbery with a similar MO – a woman had diverted staff from a raid with a ‘baby’ that had stopped breathing. But CCTV footage of the raid has apparently been sequestered by DSU Alison Powell (Susan Vidler), who has been brought in from an outside force to help a critical undercover op. She has no intention of naming the ‘embedded asset’ to Hastings’ team. “AC-12 has stumbled on an undercover operation and now I’m asking you all to stumble away,” she tells a very miffed Ted.

If Cafferty wasn’t the leak then, our bloodhounds reason, the woman who let her live must be the officer working under cover. This all makes sense to Kate, who is an experienced UCO.

Maneet’s colleague PC Tatleen Sohota (Taj Atwall) tells Steve she has failed to flag up the disciplinary record of Vihan Malhotra (Maanuv Thiara), a civilian administrator at the facility organising the disposal of controlled substances. Unsurprising, really, as Malhotra is Maneet’s cousin. He doesn’t do his case any good when he flees from the interview room and has to be rugby tackled to the pavement by Steve in the street. And the cash found under his floorboards doesn’t help him either; he is held in custody for conspiracy to murder, having admitted that a woman had suborned him.

Steve and Kate look embarrassed and faintly flinch as in the interrogation room Maneet gets the full Rev Ian Paisley treatment from her erstwhile boss. Not only had she been suppressing Malhotra’s passing of info to a gang, she had also been downloading confidential files using PC Jamie Desford’s login to keep ACC Hilton in the loop. He, in turn, was asking her to spy on Hastings’ team. Well, what could she do? He outranked her.

Poor Maneet is lost from this point onwards. By trying to intercede with the gang on her cousin’s behalf by making an empty offer of police intelligence, she seals her fate, which has echoes of Jackie Laverty’s death in series one.

Declaring to his staff that he has finally got Hilton banged to rights, Hastings even offers to pay for celebratory drinks at the Red Lion. But Kate is unconvinced that Hilton is at the bottom of the conspiracy and tells Steve they must find the female UCO.

Meanwhile, after having lied about the surviving policewoman, Lisa is trying to get back into Corbett’s good books by setting up Slater so that the police, including Steve’s girlfriend Sam (Aiyesha Hart), catch him red-handed with the drug haul.

The bit now between his teeth, Hastings, with Kate and Steve in his wake, orders Powell to identify her UCO, who seems to have gone rogue by not reporting in for months. Relenting, Powell shows them DS John Corbett’s file.

OK, we knew it had to be him but the reveal is still a shock.

Steve’s back is still giving him jip since he was chucked into a stairwell at Nick Huntley’s legal chambers in the last series – although he’s made a miraculous recovery from a drop that would probably have seen him invalided out of the service, if not permanently disabled.

Still, he has so far got off lightly considering that series four’s police protagonist DCI Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton) had to have her septic hand removed, and tragically misunderstood DI Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes) was shot in the head as she tried to turn in DI ‘Dot’ Cottan, ‘The Caddy’, who had manipulated her when he orchestrated the murder of his former mentor, gangland leader Tommy Hunter.

Mostly deceased pawns in the conspiracy adorn the suspect board – Tony Gates and Jackie Laverty, Lindsay Denton, Danny Waldron, Dot, Hunter, DCI Mike Dryden (still alive), DS Jeremy Cole (who defenestrated poor Jessica Raine’s DC Georgia Trotman at hospital in S2), his partner DS Manish Prasad (alive) retired Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank and paedophile (also alive). Of the other suspects – Michael Hill, Susan Hyde Albert, Paul Haleton, Raymond Hall and Michelle Harris – we have little knowledge.

Was Adrian Dunbar’s turn in police uniform circling the PM’s limousine in the recent Red Nose Day parody of Bodyguard meant to throw us off the scent? If so, it hasn’t entirely done the trick.

In series four Maneet appeared to be working for Hilton as an inside woman in AC-12. She did download Dot Cottan’s dying declaration using Desford’s log-in information and gave the video to Hilton, which led to Hastings being given a regulation 15 notice for being ‘H’. But we know he’s broke and facing an expensive divorce, so if he is ‘Mr Big’, where is the money?

Deborah Shrewsbury


BBC One confirms transmission date for The Victim

We’ve known four-part Scottish series, The Victim, has been thrust into the limelight in the last week or so, which meant that its transmission date was just around the corner.

Now we know when it’ll be.

Fifteen years after her son’s murder, Anna Dean (Kelly Macdonald) arrives at Edinburgh High Court for the start of a major court case – but who is on trial? Six months previously, on Halloween, Craig Myers (James Harkness) is viciously attacked and discovers he has been accused online of being the notorious child murderer Eddie J. Turner.

The investigation into the online post and the subsequent attack uncovers evidence that D.I. Grover (John Hannah) believes incriminates Anna – but senior officers seem intent on blocking his enquiries.

Meanwhile the first day of court proceedings brings Craig and Anna face to face and raises the question – is Craig really Eddie, or is this a case of mistaken identity?

The Victim: Monday 8th April, 9pm, BBC One

The 10 Best Crime Dramas This Week (Monday 1st – Sunday 7th April)

Line Of Duty dominates proceedings again this week, although we’ve taken the decision not to publish synopsis of the next episode because it’s such a twisty-turny show and we don’t want to give anything away. Elsewhere, were do have some new stuff – series three of Follow The Money starts on BBC Four next weekend, as well as Swedish series Quicksand on Netflix and German series, Bad Banks on Channel 4/All4. Enjoy!

S5 E2/6
No synopsis available.
Sunday 1st April, 9pm, BBC One

S3 1&2/10
Businessman Nicky is back in Denmark after two years in Spain, but hears surprising news about his five-year-old son Milas, whom he has not seen for two years. Meanwhile, police officer Alf is given a new role in a task force after an unexpected find in a basement.
Saturday 6th April, 9pm, BBC Four

S1 E1-6/6
A tragedy takes place at a prep school in Stockholm’s wealthiest suburb, where a normal high school student, Maja Norberg, finds herself on trial for murder. When the events of that day are revealed, so too are the private details about her relationship with Sebastian Fagerman and his dysfunctional family.
From Friday 5th April, Netflix

Young, ambitious investment banker Jana Liekam is suddenly fired by an international bank in Luxembourg. However, the person responsible for the error was actually Luc Jacoby, the son of Credit International Financial Group’s chief executive. Jana is soon forced to decide how far she is prepared to go to further her career after the shameful sacking.
Thursday 3rd April, 11.05pm, Channel 4 (then all episodes on All4)

S1 E3/6
Main suspect Nick goes missing, and Lisa is concerned about Sean’s possible involvement in the disappearance. The discovery of a key piece of evidence provokes a number of new theories, and the police begin to look more closely at other members of the Meredith family. Elsewhere, Abbie falls deeper into Vincent’s world, bringing Sam with her, while Sean’s vigilante justice leads him down a dangerous path. 
Wednesday 3rd April, 9pm, ITV

S1 E5/8
Twenty years of family hurt and betrayal come to a head as Kathryn, Max and Caden gather at a remote rural house near Caden’s rehab facility. Kathryn discovers the truth of the upbringing that Max inflicted on Caden – the creation of a man taught to feel nothing. She realises how profoundly she failed her son by losing him to Max. This is a chance to fight the battle she lost during Caden’s childhood – emotion against machismo, idealism versus pragmatism. Will the family fight take the world stage?
Wednesday 3rd April, 9pm, BBC Two

S1 E3/20
After Nolan and Talia lose control of a crime scene and debate whether people are fundamentally good or bad. Lucy worries that Tim is enabling his wife’s destructive behaviour.
Thursday 4th April, 9pm, SkyWitness

S1 E4/12
The team investigates a kidnapping, only to find the victim’s entire family has gone missing.
Wednesday 3rd April, 9pm, 5USA

9 Murdoch Mysteries *NEW UK PREMIERE EPISODE*
S12 E12/18
Murdoch’s distressing childhood memories are evoked while investigating the death of an orphan under the care of the same Jesuit priest who taught him.
Monday 1st April, 9pm, Alibi

10 Endeavour *REPEAT*
S4 E2/4
The leader of a censorship campaign comes to Oxford on a speaking tour, and Morse is charged with protecting her in light of a series of death threats. A bricklayer working on a controversial pop singer’s house is later found dead, and when a second killing occurs, a connection emerges to the speaker’s movement, plunging Morse into the middle of a conflict over the nature of British culture.
Monday 1st April, 8pm, ITV3

REVIEW: The Bay (S1 E2/6)

Last week, we were introduced to the characters in The Bay, a six-part series with two missing, twin teens at its heart. Its main character, DI Lisa Armstrong (Morven Christie), a Family Liaison Officer tasked with looking after the distraught Merchant family. Except there was a bump in the road: Lisa had drunkenly had sex with Sean Meredith the night before his children were reported missing.


Instead of reporting this personal connection to the case, Lisa decided to stay schtum, and this provided an element of teeth-grinding tension to the piece (not least because this aspect was so unbelievable I found I was grinding my teeth in anger more than anything). The missing person’s case also developed into a murder investigation when one of the twins, Dylan, was found dead on the beach.

In this second episode, attention focused narrowly onto Sean. As any reader or watcher of crime fiction or drama will know, a large percentage of domestic missing children’s cases and indeed murder are perpetrated by a member of the family. And Sean, who had a big hole in his time on the night in question, was now the prime suspect.

Lisa looked worried. What if she was caught on CCTV with Sean? What if someone had seen them? Teeth. Grinding. Again. I get the idea and I understand why this element of the plot was conjured, but it just doesn’t make any plausible sense. I was swaying back and forth in my armchair, hoping that they wouldn’t make this a thing for the whole series. Add to that plenty of chat about Sean being a ne’er do well and someone you could not trust, and he was very much being built up as our focus. Thankfully for all concerned, not least for Lisa, he had been knocking off his work colleague’s girlfriend with illicit trips to her house. So, on that fateful night – the night he should’ve been picking his kids up from a youth club – he had had sex with a random woman who he had met in a pub, and then went straight round to his mistress’s for another slice of saucy pie.

A philanderer and highly irresponsible, yes, but a killer? At this moment, he was off the hook. As was Lisa.

So now, with all this out of the way (for now), it gave us time to refocus onto other characters and how they were dealing with the trauma of grief. Jess (Chanal Cresswell, on excellent form) is distraught and trying to keep it all together while her husband is being held at the station, worrying all the time that people think of her as a bad mother. This concept isn’t exactly distinguished when her ex-husband – and the father of the twins – gives a damning interview to a tabloid newspaper.

Meanwhile, there’s a new suspect – Nicholas Mooney, one of Sean’s fishing crew. He was seen on CCTV outside the youth club on the night of the twins’ disappearance and has been reported for hanging around the club on previous occasions. So they bring him in, careful to treat him with care because he has learning difficulties. It doesn’t help that Sean sees Lisa and police cart him away for questioning after a chase sequence.

After being released without charge, Sean is out for him and the episode ends with him ploughing him down while Nick is riding home to his infirm mum.  Look out – we have a Vengeant Father on our hands.

Elsewhere, there was plenty going on, and the theme of motherhood, and the concept of ‘good’ motherhood, was at play. Lisa’s own two teenage kids – Abbie and Rob – were getting themselves in a pickle. Anyone who has read this site in the last month or so will know that there has been a rash of Teenagers In Peril in crime drama, and even though this is a well-worn and, now, annoying trope, we get two great big helping of it here: Abbie is being all breathy and Lolita-ish when she forms a friendship with construction worker, Vincent (this shurely won’t end well), while Rob has an online tormentor, who is daring him via text message to steal items from the local shop, including a bottle of vodka, which he and Abbie both gleefully consume one afternoon.

Looking past the Teenagers In Peril tangent, it seems that both Jess and Lisa have things in common – they’re both mothers in charge of growing kids. They’re the same but different – has Jess been neglectful? We’re not sure yet. Has Lisa been neglectful? Perhaps. She works in a high-pressure job and is away from home during the day, and has to drop everything when she gets a call during the evening. Not the ideal environment in which to bring up kids.

As for The Bay as a whole, I still maintain that it’s a by-the-numbers procedural. The hope is that the ridiculous Lisa-Sean storyline will now calm down and everyone can just get on with giving the audience what they want – a twisty-turny whodunit.

Paul Hirons


BBC Four confirm Follow The Money series three transmission date

We’ve had a bit of a break on BBC Four from the crime genre during the past few weeks, but now we’re ready to go again.

Danish series, Follow The Money (Bedrag) will now fill that whole in a week or so’s time.

Across the course of the 10 episodes, the series shifts from white-collar crime in the world of high financing to the more gritty and rough world of street crime and drug dealing, and focuses on two characters from the previous seasons: Nicky and Alf. Nicky has become a heavy-weight kingpin in the Danish underworld, while Alf is in a new job with one of the Police’s gang units, which The Fraud Squad lends out employees to when the narcotics investigators need to crack the kingpin’s accounts and finances. Alf and Nicky are in direct opposition to each other – and when one of them pulls a clever manoeuver, the other counteracts. A new main character is also introduced, Anna, who is the centre of her own arena – a bank. Anna is the proficient but overlooked bank employee, who is suddenly recognized for her abilities in alternative ways. Throughout the season, she will become an important accomplice in the laundering of the criminals’ money.

Follow The Money (Series three): Saturday 6th April, 9pm, BBC Four

The Bridge gets a Serbian/Croat remake

The Bridge really is the crime series that really does keep on giving.

So far, we’ve had six spin-offs of the series: US/Mexico, UK/France, Germany/Austria, Russia/Estonia and Malaysia/Singapore. And now news reaches us that there will be a seventh.

As we all know by now, the series revolves around what happens when a dead body is found on the border connecting two countries – this time Serbia and Croatia – forcing a detective from each territory to work together to catch a serial killer operating on both sides of the border.

The 10-part series will be co-produced between RTL Serbia and RTS Croatia.


Netflix confirms Quicksand transmission date

We’ve been following the trajectory of Störst av Allt  (Quicksand), Netflix’s first ever Swedish original series. And it’s just around the corner.

Based on Malin Persson Giolito’s best-selling novel and adapted by The Bridge’s Camilla Ahlgren, Quicksand tells the story of a tragedy at a prep school in Stockholm’s wealthiest suburb, where a normal high school student, Maja Norberg, finds herself on trial for murder. When the events of that day are revealed, so too are the private details about her relationship with Sebastian Fagerman and his dysfunctional family.

The cast includes Hanna Ardéhn, William Spetz, Felix Sandman, David Dencik, Reuben Sallmander, Anna Björk, Christopher Wollter, Evin Ahmad, Maria Sundbom, Rebecka Hemse, Helena af Sandberg, Shanti Roney and Ella Rappich.

Here’s the trailer:

Störst av Allt  (Quicksand): From Friday 5th April, Netflix

Walter Presents teases German series Bad Banks

Bad Banks sounds like it’s a very topical financial thriller, full of twists and turns set within some enormous financial institutions.

The six-part German series is coming to Channel 4/All4 thanks to Walter Presents, and has won a stack of awards in its native Germany.

After being wrongly fired, young and ambitious Jana is quickly recruited by a top competing bank in Frankfurt, thanks to the unexpected help of Christelle Leblanc, her former boss. Leaving her family behind, she moves to Germany where her drive and ambition quickly pay off and she manages to impress her new team and most crucially her new boss, banking supremo Gabriel Fenger. Despite this upwards trajectory and swift success, she soon realises that Leblanc has secretly been manipulating her, to her own advantage. Will Jana survive this merciless power play?

Here’s the trailer…

Bad Banks: Thursday 4th April, 11pm, Channel 4 (and then all episodes on All4)

BBC releases first victim trailer for The Victim

Last week we brought you news about a BBC Scotland series that will be premiering across the network on BBC One.

Kelly Macdonald plays Anna Dean in The Victim, whose nine-year-old son was murdered 15 years ago. She is accused of revealing her son’s killer’s new identity online and conspiring to have him murdered. Has the anger of a grieving mother turned her into a criminal too?

Hard-working family man Craig Myers, played by James Harkness, is the victim of a vicious attack, after being identified online as a notorious child murderer. Is he simply the tragic victim of mistaken identity; or the dangerous killer he is suspected of being?

John Hannah plays DI Grover, an experienced detective investigating the attack on Craig and trying to discover who made the online accusation against him.

Opening on day one of a criminal trial in Edinburgh’s High Court, The Victim follows the legal proceedings, while also covering the events leading up to the trial. Craig and Anna are pitted against each other, but our sympathies will be divided. New potential suspects will be revealed and long buried secrets unearthed as the story builds to a final, devastating climax.

Now we have a trailer…

Look out for it in the next few weeks.

Marcella begins series three production; adds plotlines

Yes, Marcella is back. The Hans Rosenfeldt series, starring Anna Friel, has begun production on its third and final series, ITV says.

Following on from the dramatic conclusion of the previous series, the new eight-parter sees Marcella in Belfast as an undercover detective. She has taken on a new identity, Keira, and has infiltrated the infamous Maguire crime family but as she investigates their activities, questions come to the fore about how much she’s embraced the Keira personality and left Marcella behind.

In true Marcella style, the series has interweaving storylines with strands focusing upon the Maguires’ criminal operations.  As she inhabits the character of Keira, Marcella’s quest for the truth puts her in danger and others in harm’s way.  Her undercover role makes her take risks, but will her old life eventually catch up with her?

An array of new cast members are welcomed to the series including Amanda Burton who takes on the role of Katherine, the matriarch of the Maguire family; Aaron McCusker plays her son, Finn Maguire; while Hugo Speer, who made a brief appearance in the final scenes of series two, reprises his role as Frank Young, Marcella’s undercover handler. Kelly Gough also joins the cast, taking the role of Stacey, Katherine’s daughter; Martin McCann plays Stacey’s husband, with Eugene O’Hare as local police officer Eddie. Michael Colgan plays Rory Maguire, whilst Paul Kennedy plays Lawrence, Marcella’s initial contact within the crime family and Glen Wallace is Matt, a past acquaintance.