Line of Duty Series-Blog: Episode 2

LINE OF DUTY – EP2: Tuesday 3rd July, BBC2, 9pm

*Read our review of episode one here*

In my review for the first episode of Line of Duty, I came under fire from one commenter on a few things. I called DS Arnott the head of the anti-corruption unit, which he is not, and for this I apologise. He is, as his name obviously implies, a detective sergeant. Sorry.

Secondly, the commenter in question took issue with the fact that I called the new series “compellingâ€? and “with enough twist and turns to be interestingâ€?, but then ultimately dismissed Line of Duty as “just another British crime-dramaâ€?.

Episode one was compelling. I wanted to know more about the characters, naturally, and it wasn’t predictable; it was entertaining and surprisingly very watchable. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to describe Line of Duty as anything particularly original, judging from the first episode at least. Even the police corruption angle has been done before, most notably in The Wire.

Perhaps, if something does set the new BBC series apart from other crime-dramas, is its focus on bureaucracy, which is definitely featured more prominently in episode two. Occasionally, for instance, officers are reminded that they need to fill in risk assessment forms.

“That is so many more forms to fill in,â€? says one of the officers, after watching a burglar jump from a block of high-rise flats, onto the hard concrete below.

The build up to all of this is the most action-packed moment in the entire episode and is, unfortunately, accompanied by unbearable 1990s-style dance music—the kind that sounds like obnoxiously loud rhythmic defection. The police find the burglar during a routine inspection of the building and an exciting chase ensues.

Questions are not so subtly raised in this episode about whether or not procedure gets in the way of justice, which is interesting. We see an elderly man arrested for attempting to defend himself against a group of anti-social school kids and Gates himself is used as an example, a man whose whole career is evidence that procedure can merely be forged, if you know the system well enough.

This week he’s not fighting hoodlums with just his hands. He calls it off with Jackie, his eerily unemotional mistress. Speaking to her professionally at the station, as if he doesn’t know her, he hands Jackie a note that reads: “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID WE’RE FINISHEDâ€? But the temptation of receiving another creepy extra-marital BJ proved too much and he can’t help himself.

Meanwhile, DS Arnott (who is the head of the anti-corruption unit, isn’t he?) is back on his PC, which makes little bleepy sounds every time he clicks or googles something—like he’s in the movie Hackers. This is his main form of investigation it seems, but miraculously, it works, as he becomes ever closer to bringing down Gates and his relationship with Jackie.

We’re left, of course, with the very graphic ending, which I won’t ruin for those of you have missed it, but I must admit that it was a surprise. Now I’d be happy to see the entire series move more towards Gates inevitable downfall as he tries to get himself off the hook, but it’s too difficult to tell where it’s going quite yet. Either way, I’m intrigued to find out, and episode two is definitely a notable improvement on the first.