In a devastating penultimate episode, has Ted Hastings finally met his match? Line of Duty turns the (interview) tables on our favourite anti-corruption officer.
Move over Ted, there’s a new head of anti-corruption in town and she’s not here to screw around. She’s cool, calm, collected and the icing on top of what is a very bad day all round for our Ted.
After an action-packed episode last week, episode five takes a far more relaxed approach – at least with regards to any shocking plot twists. The focus is more on putting all the puzzle pieces together, though the image we are left with might not be quite what is expected. With AC-12 being taken off the Peartree investigation, Ted decides to act quickly to catch the OCG, but a series of irrational decisions end up looking very incriminating for our favourite anti-corruption officer.
It’s not an episode of Line of Duty without at least one death and the one which got me this week was Miroslav – one of the original members of the OCG, a gem of a character who has been around since season one. Miroslav meets his end after Ted forges ahead with an unlawful undercover operation into the nightclub, after promising Kate (with a wink, no less) than he will stick to the surveillance operation only). Meeting face to face with Lisa and asking for Corbett to wrangle a deal on the stolen goods, no-one is really sure if Ted is now ‘undercover’ or if he is actually H. Oh Ted, it’s not looking good is it?
In a remarkably orderly sequence (for Line of Duty), the AC-12 team apprehend Lisa (farewell Miroslav), and also arrest Ted. Initially it looks like the team are keeping up appearances, but Kate and Steve are worried about much more than the gaffers safety. Doing the unthinkable, Kate reports Ted’s questionable behaviour. It’s a tough call, but one which proves (once again) Kate’s suitability as a DI. It was great to see her and Steve working through things together – their friendship has been one of the defining elements of Line of Duty and there’s been a distinct lack of relationship building between them this season. Steve’s message on Corbett’s voicemail is also a devastating moment – despite everything that happened between them, Steve saw himself and his values reflected in Corbett. His death will leave a mark.
As expected, the interview scene was by far the most formidable we’ve seen so far. As Ted took a seat on the opposite side of the interview table, the setting felt eerily familiar. Here sat the likes of Tony Gates and Lindsay Denton – officers who, like Ted, were not necessarily playing by the rules but were certainly not the villains, that AC-12 made them out to be. Perhaps you reap what you sow. Either way, AC-3 are clearly not a unit to be trifled with – Anna Maxwell Martin is introduced here as Superintendent Patricia Carmichael, a woman who Ted has no time for (on account of her being fast-tracked, apparently). The team (of three women, Ted’s worst nightmare) read him to rights on his visit to Lee Banks, his Fahrenheit order to Steve, the unlawful undercover operation into the nightclub and his receipt of the cash from Mark Moffatt. As Carmichael would say – it all looks a bit suspicious, don’t you think?
Carmichael could be the end of Ted Hastings – her interview technique so cutting, so soul destroying, one can’t help but look on adoration and fear. There’s something very satisfying about watching a woman telling a man to ‘calm down’ in a workplace and though Ted was being put through the wringer, it all felt a little deserved after how the gaffer’s been acting recently. Maxwell Martin, on-screen for only the last fifteen minutes, is fantastic to watch – here’s hoping she features heavily in the season finale.
As mentioned before, this week slowed the action right down. After several weeks of jaw-dropping deaths and double-crossing, this is a welcome change of pace. We’ve been hurtling at breakneck speed through a plot so convoluted that, on more than one occasion, it’s been difficult to keep up. Episode five left the high-stakes world of the OCG behind and dove deep into the evidence against Ted, whilst pitting Steve and Kate against their beloved boss.
The slower pace meant that there was also, after a few weeks off, an illuminating look into Kate and Steve’s personal lives. Steve is still suffering after his injury and a night with Sam proves to be too much for him, whilst it seems to be trouble in paradise for Kate as her husband has a dig about her capabilities as a mother. Kate seems to have the right response here – after a blinder of a day, the last thing a working woman needs is a man to tell her how she’s doing a terrible job at mothering her kids.
There are, as usual, more than a few loose ends to be tied up. Lisa McQueen’s interview shed little light on her involvement in the OCG, but perhaps she is playing a longer game. Then there’s Gill Biggeloe – another strong, female character whose sole characteristics seem to be telling Ted he needs to retire and acting suspicious, but in an overtly sexual way. What’s Gill’s game? There’s a reason why she is so keen to get Ted out of the picture, but what is it? The burning question, which I know is on everyone’s mind, is; will Ryan be accepted into university and forego this life of crime?
In next week’s 90 minute finale, hopefully all will be revealed. It’s been an exhausting ride this season, Mercurio only just now stopping to give us some breathing space. As the sixth season has already been commissioned, it seems unlikely that everything will be completely wrapped up – my money is on a cliff-hanger ending. We’ll see.
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