Never far from our minds, Line Of Duty lost out to Broadchurch at the glamorous NTAs this week. But never fear: because it was nominated in the Crime Drama category, all its stars were in attendance and one of them had something interesting to say about series five.
There’s a lot of detritus on the ground after the excellent series four finale of Line Of Duty. It’s like going to a music festival and waking up on the Monday morning after a heavy weekend where not everything made sense, but was brilliant all the same; wading through acres of rubbish and seeing fellow festival-goes stagger around bleary-eyed and in a bit of a daze. Line Of Duty is that kind of series: intense, brilliant in places and utterly addictive. So, now series four is done and dusted, here’s a round-up of Line Of Duty news.
Normally we wouldn’t bother with such business wheeling and dealing new items – this site is, after all, about the viewer experience and the end product itself – but I felt this was quite significant. Or at least could be. World Productions, the people behind things like In Plain Sight, The Great Train Robbery, The Bletchley Circle and, currently, Channel 4’s Born To Kill and Line Of Duty, has a new owner. That owner is ITV.
Whatever you think of this fourth series of Line Of Duty – and we definitely don’t think it has been the best of the bunch – there’s something so addictive and so intoxicating about this show, you just can’t help going along for the ride. And what a ride. People are now playing Line Of Duty bingo on the internet, people now speak like Ted Hastings on social media… Line Of Duty has really entered into the nation’s consciousness. Even though this site has expressed reservations about a few of the narrative elements and characters (read that here), tonight’s finale proved to be a superb ending to an enjoyable if frustrating series. It had a lot of work to do and a lot of questions to answer. There were at least four biggies: who is the Balaclava Man, and is he the serial killer? Who killed Ifield? Is Farmer guilty, or is Huntley framing him? And is any of this tied in with the network of police corruption discovered in previous series?
NB: For the love of God, spoilers inside, fella
I love Line Of Duty. I love Steve Arnott and his chippy little ways; I love Kate Fleming’s calm insouciance; I love Ted Hastings and his paternal, old-fashioned sheriff ways; and, more to the point, I love the fact that writer and director Jed Mercurio has torn up the rule book when it comes to crime drama. He kills people – established characters no less – without too much concern. Big-name actors, too. I love the fact that the characters he allows to stick around are deeply flawed but have so much ambiguity you don’t know whether you’re coming or going with them. Lenny James’ Tony Gates, Keeley Hawes’ Lindsay Denton, Daniel Mays’ Danny Waldron. and not forgetting Craig Parkinson’s Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan. Heck, even the members of AC-12 are hardly heroes in the traditional sense. They all had so much going on with their characters – nuances, depth, emotional entry points. You weren’t sure whether to love them or hate them. So the addition of Thandie Newton – a seriously good actress – and her character DCI Roz Huntley should have been a shoo-in into this esteemed gang of flawed are-they-aren’t-they characters. But with the series finale looming large on the horizon, I’m still waiting for the moment when things click with me with Roz Huntley. As dazzling and as addictive as the show is, I’m not quite there with it this series. Why?
NB: Spoilers inside
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
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!