Verwoester waarskuwing: this blog is for those watching series six of Line of Duty (it also contains spoilers from earlier series). Don’t read on unless you have watched the first episode of the new series.
Hello and a warm welcome back to everyone who has been eagerly awaiting the return of the UK’s most twisty crime drama. Eerste, a small bit of housekeeping – while I will avidly read all theories, speculation and opinions below the line, I may not be able to comment much due to health, though I will try. Right with that maudlin piece of information out of the way, let’s get on with the show.
This was something of a slow-burning start by Line of Duty’s often frantic first episode standards, and I rather enjoyed it. I’ve always preferred the seasons that take their time to build to a climax to those that begin crash, bang, wallop, with all guns blazing. This series apparently revolves around the year-old murder of journalist Gail Vella (Andi Osho), an investigation led by DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald), who is under increasing pressure to get a result. But is Davidson a slick professional determined to catch the killer, or is there something more sinister going on?
A number of eyebrows were certainly raised over her decision to pull an entire convoy over to intercept an apparent armed robbery when officers were following their first real breakthrough on the Vella case. Add this to a problematic relationship (more of which later) and some mysterious conversations with her lazy and perpetually flustered boss (welcome back Nigel Boyle, who plays the hapless Detective-now-Superintendent Ian Buckells) and I’m intrigued, to say the least.
Oh AC-12, it’s not looking good for any of you following the events of the last series. Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) is being squeezed out of all meetings in what I took as a not-so-subtle hint that he should take early retirement (mind you, it is quite hard to justify heading up an anti-corruption unit with the taint of corruption hanging over your own head). Intussen, Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure), still estranged from her family, has quit AC-12 but is fortuitously working with Davidson’s team, a job that seems to be going well until Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) contacts her with the information that they’re going to investigate her boss’s recent actions. Ah Kate, just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in …
As for Steve, he appears to be in the worst position of all. Bored of working at AC-12 and stockpiling codeine, even his new beard and rather snazzy waistcoat don’t seem to be bringing any joy. Come on guys, pull it together. We all know that the power of AC-12 is as a tight-knit team. If you’re all falling apart then, sweet mother of God, whose going to cleanse these dark and dirty streets?
The biggest question at the end of this episode is who the real antagonist is. Is Davidson under pressure, out of her depth and involved in a murky corruption scheme? That’s what’s being alleged by PC Farida Jatri (Anneika Rose, last seen in series four), who works with her and tells Arnott that her boss is dangerous and capable of anything. Or is Jatri seeking revenge against Davidson, by whom she has just been dumped?
It’s an interesting plot twist, albeit one that will need to be tackled sensitively. What we do know about Davidson is that she has no issue mixing work with pleasure – not only was there the relationship with Jatri, but there’s also her hand-brush with Fleming, to whom she is clearly attracted. She also finds it easy to keep secrets and compartmentalise her life, made evident when she left Jatri and went back to her impersonal flat, where we discovered that there is some issue with her mother given she threw a wine glass at the picture of them together in the main room, having previously told Jatri that she had no family. My bet is that her mum was murdered and her subsequent actions are being driven by revenge, but I’m excited to read additional theories below.
What of Jatri herself – she seemed genuinely terrified when she spoke to Arnott, yet later events prove she’s a pretty good liar. She’s also pretty unstable. It’s quite a leap from tearfully demanding that your girlfriend stays with you to trying to destroy her career. Tans, I think that each woman might be trying to set up the other, but nothing can be ruled out.
Tempted as I was by Jatri’s over-the-top pleas and Davidson’s endless “shits”, you all know that I can’t resist a good colloquialism and Ted’s “haud yer wheesht” to shut up an over-eager Arnott brought me right back to my Scottish childhood.
Weereens, I was tempted to give this to Elizabeth Rider’s DCC Andrea Wise (nobody puts Ted in the corner), in truth it’s a dead heat between Davidson and Jatri, both of whom seem to be playing games with each other and, more worryingly, with the murder they’re supposed to be solving.
So what do you think? Who is telling the truth and who is lying? What did you think of the twist? Will Kate be tempted by Davidson’s charms? And most importantly, will AC-12 overcome its differences for the old team to come together on the glass mezzanine of doom? As always, all speculation and no spoilers welcome below …