Line of Duty: 2.03
This review contains spoilers for the third episode of the BBC2 drama.
Reviewing BBC2’s Line Of Duty is a tough, if rewarding, job. This is a show that's involving and needs you to concentrate, but also where not a lot seems to happen but actually does. It’s talky, it’s office based, it’s tricksy, it’s compelling, and it’s superb TV. So let’s talk about episode three.
“Answering only yes or no…”
DI Denton is in prison, and it’s not fun. In the course of this hour she’s beat, literally eats shit (“The dirty bastards put shit in my food.”), has her hands scalded by hot water, and is outed as the key suspect to the press. There’s less of Keeley Hawes this week and most of her action is prison based, but she’s just as impressive. The scenes with Denton and DC Kate Fleming, with Vicky McClure on top form, are rife with tension and drama, even with a pane of prison glass between them. If you thought Lenny James was good in the first season you’ll be astounded by Hawes this time round.
Then there’s the return of DS Matt ‘Dot’ Cottan, now promoted to DI and working for AC-9, aka Witness Protection. It’s good to see him back, more confident, cocky, in control than in the first season, but let’s not forget he was a mole. Turns out his ‘handler’, criminal mastermind Tommy, was the witness in protection. The layers are starting to be peeled away slowly but surely as the hours go by. What started out straightforward is now moving into the realms of conspiracy. Is Dot involved? Surely. Is DCC Dryden the big bad? Maybe, but you think there’s someone he’s answerable to. Is DI Denton really innocent? Well she’s doing a good job of making us believe she is. And what about Superintendent Hastings (as subtly nuanced as ever by Adrian Dunbar)? Surely his money problems are just a red herring. Surely…
What is for definite is that DS Arnott is a bit annoying, and not as morally right as he was in the first series. Not only is he happy at sleeping around, with colleagues and witnesses, but he’s also happy to tell DC Fleming to lie, to cover up her affair (“Maybe there are people out there that always tell the truth, or always lie. The rest of us choose our moment. This is that time.”). The big question is, why would she? Currently a massive hole is being dug and she’s floundering around in it. Denton has her number and Fleming's complicity in the lies is compromising her position. Just tell them Kate.
“I believe you.”
Arnott may be a dolt but he’s also a decent copper. With him onside has Denton got a chance now? Tune in next week where there are bound to be more surprises and revelations, this is that kind of show.