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?
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE ONE REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE TWO REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE THREE REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE FOUR REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE FIVE REVIEW