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Line of Duty Series Six, Episode Seven – “No-one makes mugs of AC-12”

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You do not have to read this.  But, it may spoil Series Six of Line of Duty if you do so.  Anything you do read may be given in evidence.

Interview terminated.

Reactions to the finale are mixed, there’s disappointed commentary online this overcast Bank Holiday.

Here are my thoughts.

Check out my Line of Duty posts
Davidson:

Nice sweater, nice girlfriend, lovely dog, and if that’s the kind of house that witness protection gets you, I’m off on a crime spree.  No idea where to start.  All I can think of is shoplifting sweets from Woolworths, but that’s going to be problematic.

I loved the contrast between Jo’s pad and the grim abode given to the horrid Gill Biggeloe at the end of Series Five.

So, while she was no innocent, she wasn’t all bad, and the kindness that Steve and Kate showed her was a rarity in a painful life.

She’d displayed cold-blooded manipulation early in the series, and I briefly thought the kill order on her was a double bluff to get her off the hook, but she’s gone on enough of a character arc for the outcome to be believable and satisfying.

 

H:

Okay, now we’re getting to it.

Last week I said, “maybe Buckells is secretly a brilliant, manipulative genius.”   Well, he wasn’t, but he was H.  I confess, I felt a pang of, not disappointment exactly, but of feeling underwhelmed.

However, when you realise that all along H was just a sleazy, incompetent, greedy moron to whom lying is like breathing, you see exactly the point that Mercurio is making.  I bet Buckells thinks John Lewis furniture is beneath him, too.

Nigel Boyle deserves credit for his portrayal, acted almost entirely with his eyes.  I’m relieved that there was no Keyser Söze style transformation, much as I love The Usual Suspects.  Instead, he wallowed in his pride, childishly unable to restrain himself.

The show hooked us with escalating drama and intrigue, only to kick us in the solar plexus with a hard shot of reality.  Corruption is endemic, it’s never going away, and the people most guilty of it aren’t Bond villains.  To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, sometimes a lying, cheating asshole is just a lying, cheating asshole.

He’s been there all along, in plain sight.  The moment our heroes realised was the closest the show has come to outright comedy.

Consider this: In the final episode of Series One, who is it that lets Dot Cottan have time alone with Tommy Hunter in the back of that van?  Ian bloody Buckells.

 

Kate & Steve:

I must put them together this week because the show did.  Mate.  And wasn’t it brilliant?

The brother and sister dynamic returned, giving us the best scene of the episode when they confronted Ted.  Kate’s understated “you’re not under caution, so anything you say to us at this time can’t be used in evidence.  That’s loyalty right there,” was, for me, one of the best moments of the entire show.

And her long-suffering realisation that Steve had again become involved with a witness was great.

 

Super Ted:

Did anyone else think he’d turned Carmichael with his example?

Ted’s inability to lie, to omit truth, or to avoid responsibility is the show.  Just like Steve in Series One, he can’t do anything to further his career at the expense of honesty and decency.  He’s flawed, he makes terrible mistakes, but he stands up and says so.  He takes accountability.   That’s a word as inexplicable to our leaders as algebra is to a Labrador.

Ted is who we all wish was in charge.

 

Everyone else, the plot and the future:

That lift scene was weird, wasn’t it?  Great to see the gang back together, strong, and united, but it just looked weird.  Perhaps they had to digitally composite it together because of Covid regulations, hence why it looked out of proportion.

And no, I didn’t cry when Terry Boyle was finally safe and happy, although my chin might have wobbled in a manly way.

While there was a passing of the torch, and while part of me would love to see another series with Carmichael as a frosty but good superior, I think that should be it now.  We have closure.

Jed Mercurio gave a political answer on the podcast when asked if there would be more, avoiding the question.  The BBC will be piling on the pressure after the record-breaking ratings this series, but he and the gang are busy.

We have (deep breath): a drama on ITV called Trigger Point starring Vicky McClure, Vigil, with Suranne Jones and Martin Compston, doing a very convincing Scottish accent (yes, I know), and a sequel series to The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, from 1999.

The last is the most important, but it’s also the one I’m most enthusiastic about.  This series of LoD was most alive when they discussed the analogous murder of Lawrence Christopher.  We’ve now learned that it was partly corruption that denied him justice, but it was also because people just didn’t care enough.

Some will be turned off by the downbeat ending, and truthfully, if you want to watch the best police procedural show of the last 10 years, featuring bent coppers, bad guys in balaclavas and breathless excitement, then watch The Bridge.

But LoD was never just a drama.  It was always about politics.  And visceral rage.

The ultimate message is that corruption, laziness, ineptitude, and people just not caring about what’s right is far too common.  Mercurio is undercutting our expectations and telling us to pay attention to real life instead.

He’s telling us to care.

He’s telling us to be more like Ted Hastings and less like the Prime Minister.

***

Thanks for reading, and please let us know your thoughts in the comments.

I expect I’ll be back with episode recaps for Vigil!

Until then, I’m off duty.

For more of my ramblings, check out FiskFilm or Medium.

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