Line of Duty – episode 6

Vicky McClure as Kate Fleming

This series of Line of Duty was an odd one because we knew who the baddie (or ‘the Caddy’ as the case may be) was from midway through its run. Nevertheless, it has never failed to impress and has carefully built and undermined a giant Jenga-like tower of lies, which, as we enter the final feature-length episode, is about to come tumbling down – and along with it the edifice of respectability and lawfulness of the establishment.

So poor old Lindsay Denton was telling the truth all along; she was conspired against and discredited when she uncovered high-level corruption; was framed and jailed by the powers she was intent on bringing to justice, and within touching distance of her goal she was silenced with a bullet to the head. But killing the messenger is no longer as easy as it once was and Denton’s evidence ‘list’ was stored in cyberspace and shared with AC12 as she was dying.

George Costigan as Patrick Fairbank

Among the names on the list of child sex abusers is the hitherto unshakeable former senior police officer Patrick Fairbank (George Costigan), all his previous bluster evaporates when confronted with the evidence and only his fitness to stand trial will save him from the beak.

In the meantime, Arnott is the prime suspect for Denton’s murder; already suspended for misconduct and with motive against the deceased. It doesn’t look good for Steve, his was the vehicle in which the body was found and his service weapon was the gun used. In cuffs, in disgrace, and in the frame to take the fall as ‘the Caddy’, just as Denton before him, Arnott has discovered to his cost that there is a criminal network – within the force – that will do anything to maintain its position.

DS Cotton in Line of Duty - Craig Parkinson

And herein lies the problem for the real Caddy, Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan, with three dead police officers and two in custody on murder charges, he is the last link to a decades-old web of corruption and cover-ups – and his masters do not like loose ends.

When the spotlight falls on irregularities in his evidence, the squeeze really starts to tell on Cottan and as slippery as he is, he cannot slip this one. Making a desperate bid for freedom with another corrupt officer, Cottan heads for the pre-arranged rendezvous that he hopes will be his ticket out of the ‘business’.

But it isn’t to be, and he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. The conclusion is cleverly handled – in that it offers up Cottan (dead) and Fairbanks to trial, sentence and prison, but omits to answer who either was in collusion with? How extensive the criminal network remains? And who the gunman in the back of the getaway car was (and why he was wearing a blacked out crash helmet)?

Great series, well written and directed and supported by an excellent cast, this Line of Duty has been the best yet and we can’t wait to see its return.

Line of Duty is available on BBC iPlayer for 29 days from 28 April 2016.