At the behest of my parents, I once tried to get into Line of Duty. I sat patiently, waiting to be swept up in the magic of police v police drama but alas, I was left unmoved. Don’t hate me.
Years have now passed and the contents of the few episodes I fidgeted through have trickled out of my memory. But every Sunday my Twitter feed is a flood of memes and titbits from the latest series. Now that pubs are open, I’m failing to contribute to crucial chat. My own mother rejects my phone calls in favour of listening to Ted Hasting’s dulcet tones. Enough was enough. I decided once again to understand the hype.
But I wanted instant gratification. Sitting through six series of the show was not an option.
So, I watched the first and last episode of Line of Duty to try and work out what was going on.
Warning: Major spoilers ahead for Line of Duty
Series One, Episode One
I sat down and watched the opening scenes, curious. “This seems exciting, police are trying to apprehend a terrorist and they have got it wrong,” I mused. “I wonder what they are going to do next?”
It turned out to be a quick back story explaining why DI Steve Arnott had joined the police’s anti-corruption unit. Never mind.
Then they introduced DI Tony Gates, who seemed like a good policeman then helped his girlfriend cover up a car accident. Was this one of the bent coppers people kept talking about?
That was about as far as my attention span held up and halfway through, I remembered why I hadn’t been taken in by the show on first viewing, as I learnt more police-themed and procedural words than I cared to know and that DI Kate Fleming has five years’ experience on her CV. Snooze. I was fidgety. I was bored. I started scrolling through Instagram on my phone but, I carried on.
I soon learnt that the Steve character had the personality of drywall and the others weren’t much better. I yearned to find out how the anti-terrorism sting had got on, but apparently, that wasn’t the plot anymore.
Overall I thought the episode could have been tightened up a lot to around half an hour. And as it was a BBC broadcast, I couldn’t even rest in the solace of adverts. However, the music was great. To series six, episode seven I journeyed.
Series Six, Episode Seven
From the crumbs of information that I had picked up on Twitter, this was going to be the episode where I found out who ‘H’ was. I wish I could have claimed to be excited, but having not watched other episodes, I didn’t know who anyone in the alphabet was.
Luckily, the first two minutes of the show was a “previously” reel. Unluckily, it wasn’t that helpful. I was going to have to concentrate.
It seemed that in the last six series, Steve had managed to grow a beard – but he still looked like a work experience student and he hadn’t grown a personality. Alas.
Everyone seemed suspicious of each other and the workplace environment was far from vibey. “This is surely not a team who have worked together for years,” I thought.
They mentioned that Tony died in a car accident. That’s a shame. I wonder how many series he made it through. I also learnt someone had been shot and that they had evidence to pin it to someone unknown to me. I supposed that would have been satisfying if I had watched any other episodes.
Some more bent coppers then tried to take a witness away and in a car before being intercepted by the good coppers. She seemed important as she knew the name of the “fourth man” or “H”.
In what seemed a pivotal moment, the coppers discussed ‘Operation Lighthouse’ – a stupid name – and frothed at the mouth when they discovered two documents which both spelt definitely wrong and therefore somehow incriminated DS Ian Buckells – a funny name.
Hastings made a dramatic confessional about giving some money to someone and it seemed he was a bit bent himself?
There was also a scary shot of The Mum From Motherland. What was she doing in Line of Duty? I hope someone had arranged childcare.
From having watched the first and last episode of Line of Duty, it seemed to me that in the interim, the gallant troops at AC-12 had uncovered a whole lot of bent coppers and by the end barely trusted each other.
I think the emotional turmoil of being in such a paranoia-inducing job got to Steve – maybe the beard wasn’t a fashion choice but a sign that he has let himself go? I also think he got himself a reputation as someone who sleeps with people he shouldn’t.
I think DC Chloe Bishop quietly solved the whole thing herself and got little credit, while the others navel gazed about their own moral compasses - especially Hastings.
I think Kate just got on with it but probably also had a terrible work-life balance.
Am I right?
Look, there have been six series. Of course, I have no idea what happened. I’m just looking forward to being able to phone my mum on Sunday evenings again. That cheeky wee gobsh**e.
Ted Hastings is just iconic.
"Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the wee donkey." #LineofDuty https://t.co/8NiJ4XMOSQ