Line of Duty: Episodes 4 & 5

Arnott and Hastings

Isn’t BBC iPlayer a wonderful thing. I missed Line of Duty last week and caught up with it just in time for last night’s engrossing fifth episode. So there’s a lot to catch up on in this double header review.

From the execution-style shooting of a petty criminal by a bullying firearms officer, a trail has been laid to the doors of high-ranking police officers, well-known celebrities, respected politicians and other people in positions of authority that higher powers do not want exposed. Does this storyline sound at all familiar?

Of all the previous seasons of Line of Duty, this is the most difficult to watch. The exploration of the systemic neglect of duty and corruption that suppressed the abuse of vulnerable young people in state care and the subsequent collusion and cover-up continues to be painstakingly unravelled.

It is a case of art imitating life and though the knowledge of abuse is there for all to see, the evidential support is not and to make matters worse the AC12 officers find access to information blocked, redacted from files or worse still, purposely removed and destroyed.

Keeley Hawes

Disgraced officer Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes) is now free from prison and categorically maintains her innocence – and is single-mindedly in pursuit of those who put her behind bars for 19 months. But who is her target?

Well, she certainly has DS Arnott (Martin Compston) in her sights and plays a trump card against him during a bureaucratic reconciliation meeting. She knows too well, how exposed an officer is when his/her integrity is called into question and Arnott’s forced admission of perjury in front Supt Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) and legal counsel for AC12 Gill Bigelow (Polly Walker) places him right where she wants him.

Denton is a very cool customer; she has had her conviction quashed and is in ruthless pursuit of her own ends, and will trample all who obstruct her path. She was fitted up for a reason in the last series and her knowledge of the corrupt activities of former and serving officers means she could hold the key the case and the exposure of the handlers of ‘the Caddy’.

“The people who actually did the crime that I was imprisoned for, they’re still out there,” she rages at Hastings. “If you held one iota of doubt about the conviction, no officer would do more to right that wrong.”

Cottan- Craig Parkinson

Indeed, but Hastings suspicions are misdirected and after more manoeuvring by the Caddy (Dot Cottan, played by Craig Parkinson) it is Arnott who is suspended from duty and in the frame as the inside man perverting the course of justice at the behest of an organised criminal network. What is clear is that Cottan is the footsoldier; the man on the ground doing the dirty work. Those pulling the strings are much more influential and extend their reach as far as Bigelow.

With both Denton and Arnott out in the cold and the Caddy busily extinguishing all avenues of further inquiry, it appears that the secrets of the past shall remain hidden. But Denton’s desperate need to be fully cleared and reappointed as an officer leads her to make a fatal error as she climbs into Cottan’s car and attempts to negotiate a trade; the list of names of those implicated in the child sex abuse ring for a pardon. However, she fails to measure just how desperate Cottan has become and though she seems to hold all the cards she is unable to reason with the bullet shot from his gun.

Line of Duty concludes next Thursday at 9pm on BBC2.

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