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Line of Duty: How will this “outrageous” critique affect the writing of series 6?

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Hollie Richardson
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Line of Duty featuring Vicky McClure

Cressida Dick has heavily criticised the writing of Line of Duty, but the show’s creator insists that it should remain a work of fiction.

The BBC has delivered some addictive crime dramas over the last 12 months.

First, we quickly became obsessed with the story of troubled but dedicated David Budd (Richard Madden) in Bodyguard

Then, fans were taken on another police roller-coaster ride with DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) in Line of Duty series five

And now, we’re rooting for DI Rachel Carey (Holliday Grainger) to get to the bottom of a kidnapping case in The Capture.

All three series have brought in some of TV’s highest audiences, but there’s one important person who’s made it clear she’s not a fan. 

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Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, has said that she was “outraged” by the misrepresentation of police work in Line of Duty. 

“I was absolutely outraged by the level of casual and extreme corruption that was being portrayed as the way the police is in 2018–19. It’s so far from that,” Dick told Radio Times while promoting the third series of BBC One documentary The Met: Policing London.

“The standards and the professionalism are so high,” she added.

Cressida Dick London police
Cressida Dick, commissioner of the Metropolitan police.

And it’s not just Line of Duty that the commissioner has a problem with.

Commenting on Bodyguard, she continued: “It drove everybody round here absolutely up the wall! 

“I actually did have to switch it off after about 20 minutes – the moment when the home secretary made a pass at the protection officer was just beyond me, I’m afraid.”

However, she did say that both shows have helped boost applications to join the police force.

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“Both series actually make us look a bit cool and interesting – a net positive, probably,” Dick said. “They bring in interest and applications. Even though it’s all completely ludicrous.”

Defending similar criticism of Line of Duty in the past, its creator Jed Mercurio told The Observer: “It’s a television drama about a fictional police department. Every series deals with a different story that throws up legal, ethical and moral issues.”

“Just because someone was a police officer doesn’t mean that they have supreme authority to say whether something is accurate or plausible. Other police officers might disagree,” he added.

Kate Fleming played by Vicky McClure in the TV drama series Line of Duty
Kate Fleming played by Vicky McClure in the TV drama series Line of Duty

Of course, Dick’s comments are not directed at the show’s leading star McClure. 

The pair met earlier this year at the Stylist Remarkable Women Awards and McClure had nothing but praise for the commissioner. 

The actor, who presented Dick with her Glass Ceiling award, said: “From speaking to the team at Stylist, I know just how important they felt it was to recognise this remarkable woman and the status that she holds.”

Dick’s achievement came in the same year that we are celebrating 100 years of women being able to join the Met police. 

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“We’re celebrating 100 years of women in the Met,” she told the room after picking up her award. “It was described then as an experiment, and the women had to buy their own uniforms at Harrods! But people like me are here because of those brave women.”

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Although it doesn’t sound like Dick will be tuning into series six of Line of Duty, it’s also unlikely that Mercurio will change the way he writes the show. 

And we won’t even bother to ask what she thinks about The Capture (even though she’s probably the only person who can make sense of what’s going on).    

Images: BBC

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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