Line of Duty series five is back with a bang and as gripping as ever, but we still have questions. Here, Gareth Watkins unpicks the mysteries. (Warning: there will be spoilers)
Questions, questions. So many questions. Sometimes, watching Line Of Duty gives you the unsettling feeling of what it must be like to be a kitten with a ball of wool. What the hell is all this? It’s so complicated? Where do all these threads go? I’ve got one! Oh no, slipped out of my paw. There’s another one! Get it! No, gone again. God this is infuriating, but by God do I feel ALIVE!
No other show toys with its protagonists and audience in such an addictive way. No other show leaves so many questions unfulfilled, leaves us dangling at the end of so many threads, but the genius of Line Of Duty is that no other show credits its audience with actually being more intelligent than a kitten. From the outset you’re asked to think, immediately trying to work what OCG or UCO means, while trying to keep up with the breakneck speed at which events are moving. Now I am not for one second going to pretend I know what’s going on (I really am about as bright as a small cat), so here’s just a few of my major questions from the first episode.
1. What is going on with Hastings?
“Mother O’ Gawd!” Ted’s rightly outraged by the early leads into the investigation. One of AC-12’s very own, PC Maneet Bindra is implicated, and duly fired, but there’s something about Ted’s posturing that feels a little overdone. He’s all too quick to point the finger at ACC Hilton, the corrupt officer from series four (and conveniently also ‘H’). Plus, he’s living in a crappy hotel, up to his eyeballs in debt and staring down divorce proceedings. He’s been in the firing line before, who’s to say this could be the series when we find out Hastings has been pulling the strings all this time.
2. Is Lisa really a bad guy?
The blurred lines between the good and the bad guys has always been the show’s strong point. Lisa, we now know is not a UCO (undercover officer as I’m sure you have all worked out by now), but obviously she’s no cold-blooded killer. Is she a good person trying to do the right thing in a world gone horribly wrong? Is she working for someone else, possibly another organised crime gang, could she become an asset to AC-12 as they go after their rogue undercover copper?
3. Is Det Sergeant Jon Corbett really a good guy?
OK so he’s the undercover cop, risen to the head of an organised crime gang, a valuable asset for the police no doubt, if he was returning their calls. But has he gone silent for a reason? Is he working on something really big, double cross the double crossers, blow the lid on all the corrupt officers once and for all? The gang has been going for eight years, has he decided that a police pension is no recompense for what he’s had to do, or is he playing the longest of long games?
4) Who planted the bug in Maneet’s phone?
Maneet got a burner phone to contact the gang, but it was bugged. Who knew what she was planning to do? Lisa handled her and vouched to Corbett that she could help them with info on AC-12’s investigations, who could have known, or been able to plant a bug there, thus incriminating Maneet and at the same time undermine Lisa’s position? Did Corbett do it himself? Would he sabotage one of his own if he had to? Probably, he looks mean enough.
5) What’s this larger investigation then?
Right at the end of the episode we find out that the wheels within wheels are in fact a larger undercover investigation run by DC Alison Powell called Operation Peartree, but they’ve not heard from their officer for how long? At this point Ted Hastings steals the entire show with the line, “Now listen Alison, I didn’t float up the wagon on a bubble, how long?” (Float up the wagon on a bubble? What does that even mean?) But do we buy this? Ted and Alison are, or have been on first name terms at some point, there’s more to this relationship and investigation than meets the eye.
So the only thing we truly know from the end of this episode is that it’s bloody stressful being in AC-12 and we’re really glad we don’t have to work there. I suspect it might be the very person that no one could possibly suspect. Personally my money’s on Steve Arnott, everyone know’s he’s hiding his Scottish accent and you should never trust a man with that many waistcoats. You heard it here first.
Line Of Duty continues next Sunday 9pm BBC One
Images: BBC One