REVIEW Line Of Duty (S6 E6/7)

If it was any other series of Line Of Duty, episode six would signify the end of the series.

However, with an extra episode tacked on to season six, and an almighty cliffhanger (another one!) to resolve, it’s just as well there was an episode seven.

Last week, we saw Kate Fleming in a stand-off with bentest of all bent cops Ryan Pilkington. As the credits rolled we heard two shots, but didn’t know who fired them. Or indeed who copped them.

Thankfully the cliffhanger was resolved almost immediately.

As AC-12 (and Carmichael) descended on to the lorry park, there lay Ryan Pilkington – two very neat holes in his thorax – and Kate and Jo Davidson not to be seen.

It was a fairly ignominious end to a character who had been in the series since the very first season, and I did wonder if Pilkington deserved more. I know that sounds slightly insane because he’s been a character that has attracted almost pantomime baddie levels of ire, but he’s been there since the beginning. Yes, the stand-off was extremely tense, but the way his death was glossed over was slightly… meh.

As for Kate, she went to Steve’s apartment complex, took his car and off she and Jo sped. My initial reaction was… why? Why not hang around and face the consequences? She was lawfully issued with a firearm and Pilkington and Davidson were known associates of the OCG, so surely she would have been in the clear.

She only got a sense that she was being set up when the police appeared.

Aaaanyway, Jo was keen to prove she wasn’t bent, so she suggested going by the print shop, which sat across the road from Terry Boyle’s flat. Why this proved she wasn’t bent I wasn’t entirely sure – if anything it proved she knew the OCG’s cover businesses and the framing of Terry Boyle.

No matter. After a chase through the streets of Midlands City (Kate in full action movie mode here) the cops had caught up with them. At the scene of the shoot-out, Carmichael had issued arrest warrants for the both of them, and when they were finally cornered Kate knew something wasn’t quite right – how did the cops and AC-12 know where they were?

What happened next could have been a disappointment to some. Such has been the pace, the levels of information bombarding us, and the twists and the turns during episodes four and five, episode six began to resemble getting off a fairground ride you didn’t want to end.

For the next 40 minutes Jo Davidson was interrogated by Arnott, Hastings and Carmichael in one of the show’s longest interview scenes in recent times.

And I understood the need for a pause. As I’ve mentioned before, these interrogation scenes work on different levels – they’re riveting and intimate, but they also serve a purpose in terms of recapping a case. Exposition-heavy, yes, but necessarily so.

This interrogation scene in particular went on for a loooong time, and those 40 minutes went by in a flash. It was yet another bold move by Mercurio after all the excitement and breakneck speed of the last two episodes, and you have to take your hat off to messrs Dunbar, Maxwell Martin, Compston and Macdonald for performing such a long scene. However, there was no real pay-off – no huge twist, no huge piece of new information, or no Dentonesque table-turn. The nearest we got was when Davidson saved Kate’s bacon and took the rap for Ryan Pilkington’s death.

Back to the interview.

Everything was laid out – Davidson’s family and her connection to Tommy Hunter, how she was groomed by him from a young age to become a policewoman, how the OCG turned against him.

And yet questions remained (mostly after the ones she answered ‘no comment’ to).

Are we any closer to finding out who ‘H’ or ‘The Fourth Man’ is?

A little. Marcus Thurwell turned up dead in Spain so he’s off the list. Everything points to CC Philip Osborne, which would make sense – throughout this series we’ve had callbacks galore to past series, and another huge one calling back to series one would fit with this general theme. Osborne was right in the thick of it right at the start of that first series, so if Mercurio is tying things up a villain from series one would represent some serious symmetry.

As for this episode, it felt like the calm before the storm – a pause and a deep breath to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

And in a series like Line Of Duty, you need it sometimes.

For your consideration:

• Kate’s full-on action movie moment harked back to the end of series three, when she captured Dot Cottan.
• Kate and Jo on the run = Thelma and Louise vibes.
• Jo’s face during her interrogation scene when she found out that Tommy Hunter was pretty heartbreaking. She genuinely didn’t know this information.
• Kelly Macdonald = very good actress.
• If she didn’t know that Tommy was her father and believed someone else was, who was it? She mentioned he was also a bent copper, so could it be that he has something to do with the overall conspiracy?
• Also, if Davidson knew pretty much everything about the OCG and their attempts to sabotage everything, why didn’t she know about Gail Vella’s investigation into the Lawrence Christopher murder?
• Ted is not completely off the hook either. He was seen losing his marbles by the episode’s end, but he looked incredibly sheepish when Lee Banks was mentioned in the interview.
• And Carmichael… is she just so obviously into power and willing to shut down Ted and co at any opportunity, or is she deliberately sabotaging interviews because she’s part of it all? She often mentioned Osborne in this episode…
• Osborne is really looming over this series like a spectre. We’ve only ever seen him in video news footage form, but surely we’re all steeling for an enormo confrontation in next week’s finale. What are the odds on Arnott bringing down his old boss?
• The bent prison officers’ faces when they realised they couldn’t lay a hand on Jo Davidson as her prison cell shut were priceless.
• Kate and Steve, reunited: “Alright mate, cheers mate… I’LL DRIVE!”
• What are they going to find beneath that workshop floor?

Paul Hirons

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.







The 10 Best Crime Dramas This Week (Monday 26th April – Sunday 2nd May)

It’s a busy week in crime drama land. Not least because the series finale of Line Of Duty is aired next weekend. Elsewhere, look out for ITV’s new five-part thriller, Viewpoint – stripped across five nights. There’s also new Italian series Rocco Schiavone, Turkish drama, Fatma, and an adaptation of Harlan Coben’s The Innocent on Netflix, AND a new Australian thriller, Bridesmaids Secrets And Lies. Enjoy!

S6 E7/7

With time running out, AC-12 attempt to unmask H, the fourth individual commanding the network of corrupt officers behind the murder of Gail Vella. However, sinister and powerful forces appear intent on orchestrating a cover-up.
Sunday 2nd May, 9pm, BBC One

S1 E2/7

Mare questions suspects in a grisly murder case and gives an icy welcome to Colin Zabel, a county detective called in to assist.
Monday 26th April, 9pm, Sky Atlantic

S1 E1-5/5
When primary school teacher Gemma goes missing in Manchester, surveillance officers Martin and Stella are tasked with observing the prime suspect, Gemma’s boyfriend Greg Sullivan”. Five-part drama following a tense police surveillance investigation into a tight knit Manchester community and exploring whether it is ever possible to observe the lives of others with true objectivity and zero effect.
Monday 26th April – Friday 1st May, 9pm, ITV

4 The Flight Attendant *NEW UK PREMIERE EPISODE*
S1 E7/8

Cassie is forced to work with a surprising new ally as she reconsiders all that has happened since Bangkok, while Megan’s life begins to implode when her husband faces the consequences of her actions.
Friday 30th April, 10pm, Sky One

5 Ice Cold Murders: Rocco Schiavone *NEW UK PREMIERE SERIES*
S1 E1/6
After getting into trouble in Rome when he took on a well-connected crook, cranky detective Rocco Schiavone is posted to the small ski town of Aosta. Rocco’s detecting ability is allied with a delight in bending rules and a desire to chase women, but when operators turn up a disfigured body on the ski slopes, he discovers that his usual methods may not help him in this unknown locale. Rocco’s troubles mount when he is stuck with a sidekick, Italo Pierron, who cannot bear the sight of dead bodies.
Friday 30th April, 9pm, More4

S1 E1-8/8
An accidental killing leads a man down a dark hole of intrigue and murder. Just as he finds love and freedom, one phone call brings back the nightmare.
From Friday 30th April, Netflix

7 Bridesmaid Secrets And Lies *NEW UK PREMIERE SERIES*

A wedding proposal brings three friends closer together, but secrets and obsession begin to spiral out of control
Thursday 29th April, 10.10pm, More4

S3 E6/6

Rose tries to force Faith into helping her with the repossession of Cindy’s salon, unaware that her daughter is working with the police to gather evidence against her. Her campaign of revenge takes an even more personal turn when she kidnaps Alys and Megan from school and reveals their mother’s darkest secret. Osian falls into a coma, and the doctors do not expect him to recover, but Faith refuses to give up on him and insists on pressing ahead with the court hearing. 
Saturday 1st May, 9pm, BBC One

S1 E9/10

With pressure mounting, Michael finds an answer to keeping Carlo out of prison. While helping Adam with his relationship troubles, Charlie makes a shocking discovery.
Wednesday 28th April, 9pm, Sky Atlantic


Reeling from tragedy, a nondescript house cleaner embarks on a murderous streak as she searches for her missing husband and reckons with old wounds.
From Tuesday 27th April, Netflix