Line Of Duty: 2.01
That’s how you start a series. After a thrilling first series in 2012 Jed Mercurio’s Line Of Duty is back, back, back. It’s been said that Mercurio is the first real showrunner on British TV, that being someone that sets the tone for the whole show, not just writes the script. They own it. After the twists and turns of the first series you might wonder where the show could go next. Wonder no more.
Opening with real urgency we’re thrown into a police op, by the end of those five minutes we’ve had three deaths, semi-automatic gunfire, cars set alight, witness protection, and been introduced to DI Lindsey Denton, a sparsely made-up and ambiguous Keeley Hawes. As a side note, Hawes is becoming one of our most interesting television actors, see Babylon and The Tunnel as recent examples. In this opening episode we’re kept on our toes seeing her as the victim initially, then as the suspect. But hang on, is she the victim? No-one knows yet and this is brilliantly exploited by Mercurio’s script.
The core AC-12 trio are back, Adrian Dunbar is as smooth and calculating as ever as Superintendent Ted Hastings, Martin Compston is annoying, dogged, and a little smug as DS Steve Arnott, and Vicky McClure is DC Kate Fleming, still overly righteous especially as she’s now cheating on her husband. It’s been a year since DI Gates got flattened by a lorry and the gang are pretty much as they were back then, except Arnott has grown some fluffy stubble.
Then there’s new recruit, hard drinking, pool playing, Arnott seducing, former midwife starring Jessica Raine as DC Georgia Trotman. The backstory is given, the character developing, and we’re starting to see her as an interesting addition to the team. Then suddenly she’s gone. Out of the window. Your hand is over your mouth and it’s Lisa Faulkner in Spooks all over again, shocking, thrilling stuff.
And that’s not even the best scene, that happens early on when the AC-12 team interview DI Denton in an eleven minute scene that shows all that is fantastic about Mercurio’s writing. Five people in a room talking has rarely been this good. Roll on next Wednesday.