Will they, won’t they?: Line of Duty ‘Flemson’ dynamic draws in fans

It’s broken viewing records, turned a nation into experts on police acronyms, made the letter H synonymous with evil, en, on Sunday evening, 11 million viewers are expected to watch the culmination of Line of Duty’s sixth series.

“It’s made us into a country that’s playing detectives,” says Craig Parkinson, who played Matthew “Dot” Cottan in earlier seasons.

Parkinson, who hosts the BBC’s Obsessed With… podcast about the show, says Line of Duty’s success has been fuelled, gedeeltelik, by the nation’s need for a complex world in which to escape as lockdown slowly draws to a close.

“I think it’s all about timing. The nation has craved something to switch off from the outside world," hy het gesê. “It doesn’t spoon-feed the audience. It doesn’t patronise them. It doesn’t pander to them. It makes them sit up and work hard. They have to work.”

As the series has progressed, millions of people have attempted to decipher how deep the police corruption goes and who in AC-12 can be trusted, but there is another strand of fans who have become intrigued by one of the relationships on the show.

The “Flemson” phenomenon began after the former AC-12 officer Kate Fleming, played by Vicky McClure, and her commanding officer, DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald), are accused of having an affair by Davidson’s ex-girlfriend, PS Farida Jatri.

From that seed grew a network of fans, known colloquially as TeamFlemson, who have pored over every line of dialogue and look exchanged between the pair.

Niamh Cunningham, 21, an English and history student from south London, is part of a 25-person Twitter group that shares “Flemson” gossip and theories after and during each Line of Duty episode.

Memes are forwarded, screenshots are edited and body language analysed as the group dissects the relationship. As well as being something fun to discuss in a fan forum, the relationship has taken on a deeper meaning, according to Cunningham.

“For a lot of people, it is just that idea of the representation," sy sê. “It’s so important for people to kind of feel seen and acknowledged, and especially on a show as big as Line of Duty, on a channel as big as BBC One.”

But the fact Fleming’s sexuality is ambiguous has led some to criticise the show as “queer baiting”, or hinting at a lesbian relationship between two main characters without committing fully to it on screen.

It’s an accusation that has been aimed at other big shows such as Killing Eve because of its “will they, won’t they?” dynamic between Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh’s characters. Marvel has also faced a backlash over the relationship between Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which seemed to play to fans’ desires for a gay narrative, without ever establishing one.

But Cunningham says the fact the “Flemson” relationship has not become physical, beyond a brief touch of hands, makes it more powerful and – ultimately – believable.

“It’s just so different to a lot of other relationships on screen,” says Cunningham. “Every episode Steve [Arnott] seems to be jumping in bed at every given opportunity with a woman, but with these two it’s different because they’re connecting on a different level – I think that is something a lot more of us can kind of get behind.”

Does Parkinson think the relationship will resolved in the final episode? “No comment," hy sê.

Kategorie:

prem

Merkers:

, ,

Kommentaar gesluit.