From gripping drama to edgy style: how Line of Duty smartened up

Line of Duty has had many of us yearning to be back to work, if only to flaunt our work wardrobe again. This season of BBC One’s gripping crime thriller has, more than previous ones, felt sleek and chic. The outfits of Vicky McClure’s Kate Fleming and Kelly Macdonald’s Jo Davidson have, with their cream polo necks, cross-body bags and slim-fit suit jackets, seemed cool and visible, unlike in previous seasons. “Kate actually wore A.P.C this season; her trenchcoat and bomber jacket were from that label,” said Maggie Donnelly, who has worked on the costumes for the show since season 2. “This season, the 2019/20 winter range of ME+EM worked well for both characters,” she added, “as did Maje and Jigsaw.”

But have the looks been slightly too good, compromising the hard-earned realism the show is known for? “[They’re] not always in everyone’s budget,” said a policewoman who has served on the force for two years, “and most cops don’t want expensive clothing to be ruined. For example I could be directed to effect an arrest and end up crawling about someone’s house, doing a search.”

Another officer, who has served on the force for a decade, said: “I’ve worked in some roles that are non-uniform and I’ve gone for budget [clothes]. I wouldn’t wear high-end clothes just in case you get involved in an altercation.”

“Given the type of organisation we are, there is an expectation that you dress smartly,” another female officer said. “When you’re dealing with members of the public and serious allegations and crimes, you need to look and act professional.” She adds that “smart” can extend to meaning different things, depending on what part of the organisation an officer works for; it might be smart casual, suits or somewhere in-between.

Fleming’s hair – this season kept very short – also gets the thumbs up. “It’s about having [hair] up and out of the way, so it can’t be a distraction and it can’t be pulled if someone tries to reach out and attack you,” said a serving officer.




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