Line of Duty season 6 recap – we ask the 10 questions raised in episode one
THE tough-talking trio from police unit AC-12 returned to our screens last night, showing once again that they are ready to do anything to take down bent coppers.
DI Kate Fleming, DS Steve Arnott and Superintendent Ted Hastings – played by Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar – were back for the long-awaited sixth series of the hit BBC1 drama Line Of Duty.
Operation Lighthouse is the unit’s new case, with murdered TV journalist Gail Vella the new victim – and suspicion is growing about the work of the anti-corruption unit.
Here, Rod McPhee puts the first episode under investigation.
1. Why did Kate Fleming split from her husband and has she really left AC-12?
We see Line Of Duty’s leading lady in dire straits after clearly splitting from husband Mark, with whom she has a young son, Josh.
And it’s not the only major change in Kate’s life, as she appears to have now left AC-12 to work with another team.
But is it a complete coincidence that she has joined the crew headed up by DCI Davidson? After all, the latest suspected “bent copper” is a senior figure working on the Vella murder.
It seems too much of a coincidence.
Perhaps Kate has been placed there by another individual within the force to investigate — but to keep information from Supt Hastings, who is clearly still under some suspicion.
2. When did Steve get hooked on painkillers and how will it affect his job?
Fans of DS Arnott will have been shocked to see his addiction developing after he was left in agony due to injuries from “Balaclava Man” in series four.
The big question is what effect this is likely to have on his job.
At the end of series five we saw him in extreme pain during the arrest of a suspect — and then there was his impotence problem.
And was he serious about wanting to move from AC-12 because he is bored, or is it simply due to his addiction making him world-weary?
It is certainly looking difficult for Steve to stay at the anti-corruption unit, with his walking-wounded boss and the absence of Kate, his partner-in-crime-fighting.
3. Can Ted Hastings salvage his reputation, which is clearly badly dented?
Supt Hastings is seen being unceremoniously shunned by the Deputy Chief Constable at a meeting of senior staff, which suggests he is still in the bad books of Central Police.
It all stems from his suspicious behaviour during series five, when he visited a criminal in prison and destroyed his laptop, for reasons that have yet to be determined.
Although he received a formal warning and kept his job, he has clearly not been accepted back into the fold and nor is he fully trusted.
Can he solve another case and prove he is still a man Central Police can rely on to bang up bent coppers — or will the cloud of suspicion still hover over him?
4. Is Kelly Macdonald’s character a baddie or not?
There’s definitely something fishy about DCI Joanne Davidson.
There is her secret relationship with Sergeant Farida Jatri, which risks revealing to her colleagues that she is a lesbian and romantically involved with a junior member of her own team.
This is a clear conflict of interest.
But that’s only intensified when we see her miraculously spot a robbery taking place at a side-street bookies as she is rushing to raid the flat of a suspect in the Vella murder.
The number of locks on Davidson’s door is also deeply suspicious, suggesting she has even more skeletons in her closet — while a final intimate moment with Kate Fleming suggests their relationship is set to get complicated too.
5. Can we take anything Davidson’s aggrieved/bitter girlfriend says as truth as she tries to smear her?
Only at the end of the first episode do we realise that Davidson is in a relationship with Sergeant Jatri, played by Anneika Rose.
Crucially that relationship is coming to a stormy end and Jatri is clearly paranoid and unstable, and harbours resentment towards her lover and boss.
And since she is the informer, suggesting she is a villain, it is hard to take any word she says seriously.
Or is she just a woman scorned?
She may even be the real baddie of the series, in league with the criminals to bring down her boss — and if she is out for revenge, she might be more than willing to do anything.
6. Is Chris Lomax likely to be another 'caddy'?
Another new addition to the cast is Detective Sergeant Lomax, played by Perry Fitzpatrick, a member of Davidson’s team and another potential bad apple in the barrel.
Admittedly he hasn’t given any great cause for suspicion so far, but he is in a prime position to act as a go-between for cops and criminals.
After all, “The Caddy”, Matthew “Dot” Cottan — played by Craig Parkinson — didn’t sound any huge alarm bells in series one, but later it was obvious he was a lynchpin.
There’s clearly some relevance to him having such a prominent role within the squad — he even looks like he could be a new love interest for DI Fleming.
7. Could Davidson’s boss be the real baddie?
DS Ian Buckells also seems dodgy, mainly because he wrecked the oper-ation to raid the criminals’ property, buying them more time.
He also “messed up” paper-work which meant the property was left unobserved for more than three hours before police arrived — was that accident or design?
Buckells, played by Nigel Boyle — last seen portraying another nasty copper in BBC1 drama Small Axe — is lazy, slovenly and out for an easy life.
So he’s the perfect target for gangsters to exploit as a potential insider.
The character, who has been in and out of the drama since series one, could also fix events to ensure Davidson looks guilty while all the time he is the real villain — possibly even H?
8. Is this the same organised crime group that we have seen operating previously?
The suspect taken in for questioning was Terry Boyle, the lad with learning difficulties who the criminals were exploiting in the previous series.
They used him as a lookout and the guardian of a freezer used for storing bodies — which now seems to have been moved from his flat.
Terry is clearly being set up to suggest he is Vella’s killer, but the nature of the DNA evidence in his flat makes it obvious he is being framed.
The big question is who the gang leader is, since undercover cop John Corbett was killed and his No2, Lisa Maxwell, went into a witness protec-tion programme.
Essentially, is there a new kingpin at work?
9. What the heck is a CHIS, and what does it do?
Within seconds of last night’s episode starting, writer Jed Mercurio’s script spouted a flurry of his famous acronyms.
And one of the first was CHIS, which stands for Covert Human Intelligence Sources.
These are informants who prevent the worst types of crimes — terrorism, drug dealing, gun crime and child sexual exploitation.
In this case the CHIS was a young man who, after his information led to a raid taking place, was thrown from the top of a building — probably by the criminals.
But there were also a few old favourites scattered through the script, including SFC, a Strategic Firearms Commander, and the PNC, or Police National Computer.
10. And can someone translate 'Haud your whisht'?
As viewers may have guessed from the context, Supt Hastings was telling DS Arnott to shut up when he uttered this fantastic phrase during last night’s opening episode.
It’s a classic Ted-ism from the AC-12 boss, whose most famous line is: “Now we’re sucking on diesel.”
During the last series he came out with yet another corker: “I didn’t float up the Lagan in a bubble.” Translation: “I’m not daft.”
“Whisht” is a commonly used word in Scotland and the whole of Ireland, and simply means Sshh! So “Hold your whisht” means, “Be quiet — and stay quiet.”
The big question now is, what gem will Ted Hastings come out with next?
FIRST REVIEW: JED HAS SHOCKS IN STORE
FOR the benefit of the DIR – the Digital Interview Recording, or the “tape” as it was once known – I’d like to make a full disclosure: I wasn’t blown away by last night’s Line Of Duty return.
Sure, there were the hallmark acronyms, lots of tantalising references to previous seasons and even a much-needed Ted-ism to lighten the mood.
Trouble was, it didn’t quite have the suspected terrorist peppered with bullets that we saw launch series one, or the cars bursting into fireballs that kicked off series two, or even the police convoy ambushed by gun-toting gangsters at the start of the last series.
But what it lacked in big bangs, it made up for with the start of some sizzling storylines.
For a start the heroes of the show, DS Steve Arnott and Supt Ted Hastings, look more like losers.
At the end of season five Arnott was crippled by pain and impotence as a result of an attack.
Now we see him touring chemists late at night buying pills – and it isn’t Viagra.
As a result he could quit AC-12 at any moment, which might just spell the end of Hastings’ career, which is already hanging by a thread.
Meanwhile, the show’s heroine DI Kate Fleming has already quit anti-corruption, but not quickly enough to save her marriage.
Then in the closing scenes of the first episode there was a moment where the suspected “bent copper” – lesbian DCI Jo Davidson (Kelly Maconald) – seemed to make a pass at her.
And all along, there’s barely a single, obvious criminal in sight – just shadowy figures operating from the sidelines with no hint as to who they are.
Nobody expected this series opener . . . which is just the point.
An explosive start would have been predictable and writer Jed Mercurio likes his audience in a constant state of mild bewilderment.
My best guess is that he’s keeping his powder dry for further into the series – and last night’s show was him lighting a very long fuse.
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