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BBC’s Line of Duty goes out with a bang

 

Guns blazing, plot twisted to perfection, Line of Duty goes out with a bang – but you’ll have to wait for the NEXT series for all the loose ends to be wrapped up

Line of Duty, BBC ONE

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It is the crime drama that had millions glued to their screens. But as the fourth series of Line of Duty ended last night, fans found the finale left as many questions as it answered.

For those who may want to watch the last episode later, read on only if you don’t mind knowing exactly what Roz Huntley did – and just who was under that balaclava…

It is the crime drama that had millions glued to their screens. But as the fourth series of Line of Duty ended last night, fans found the finale left as many questions as it answered

It is the crime drama that had millions glued to their screens. But as the fourth series of Line of Duty ended last night, fans found the finale left as many questions as it answered

They all dunnit! Line of Duty ended with a string of suspects in cuffs, or dead. Even the mysterious masked murderer, the so-called Balaclava Man, did not turn out to be a single individual but just one of many anonymous pawns, their faces hidden at the bidding of a gangland overlord.

In other TV police shows, this trick would have been an anti-climax – a cop-out, in fact. Here, however, although I’m sure many viewers would have been frustrated by the conclusion, I believe it provided a solution that was twisted to perfection.

Indeed, it was so complex that only a trademark interview by the fictional anti-corruption unit AC-12 – taking up nearly half the episode – could untangle it.

Whereas last year’s Line of Duty finale strayed unconvincingly into action-thriller territory, with DS Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) in an armed chase to snare the villain, this time the drama was set in the office.

By doing so, the battle to catch and convict slippery, one-handed DCI Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton) and her venal boss Derek Hilton (Paul Higgins) was much better television.

Unlike most crime series, Line of Duty is never about the clues. What matter are the interrogations. And so, the finale opened with a classic example of how not to conduct an interview, as ham-fisted detectives from the murder squad muscled in to quiz Roz’s husband, the wimpy Nick (Lee Ingleby).

They all dunnit! Line of Duty ended with a string of suspects in cuffs, or dead

They all dunnit! Line of Duty ended with a string of suspects in cuffs, or dead

Even the mysterious masked murderer, the so-called Balaclava Man, did not turn out to be a single individual but just one of many anonymous pawns, their faces hidden at the bidding of a gangland overlord

Even the mysterious masked murderer, the so-called Balaclava Man, did not turn out to be a single individual but just one of many anonymous pawns, their faces hidden at the bidding of a gangland overlord

Nick was accused of killing forensics officer Tim Ifield and chopping the fingers off the corpse. Anyone could see he was so feeble, he’d faint if he was asked to carve a roast chicken.

The more desperately he tried to tell the truth, the more officers stuffed words into his mouth. The only surprise was that they didn’t steal his lunch money before chucking him into the cells.

It was left to the experts for a real demonstration of how to conduct a face-to-face inquiry, as for the first time this series all three of AC-12’s key players entered the interview room together.

In due course, during one tense confrontation, Kate, her oppo DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and their boss, Supt Ted Hastings, cracked the case.

Hastings, played by the magnificent Adrian Dunbar, had been on the brink of accepting defeat from the woman he called ‘a wee witch’ (a most un-PC attitude, it must be said, towards a woman colleague from a former PC). It was dogged work from his juniors that saved him.

What made this scene especially gripping was a secret that viewers presumed that none of the characters had guessed – Roz’s own solicitor was part of the criminal conspiracy

What made this scene especially gripping was a secret that viewers presumed that none of the characters had guessed – Roz’s own solicitor was part of the criminal conspiracy

Whereas last year’s Line of Duty finale strayed unconvincingly into action-thriller territory, with DS Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) in an armed chase to snare the villain, this time the drama was set in the office

Whereas last year’s Line of Duty finale strayed unconvincingly into action-thriller territory, with DS Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) in an armed chase to snare the villain, this time the drama was set in the office

Their grilling of Roz started halfway through the episode and seemed it would never end, as streams of her lies were exposed like miles of coloured handkerchiefs pulled from a conjuror’s hat.

What made this scene especially gripping was a secret that viewers presumed that none of the characters had guessed – Roz’s own solicitor was part of the criminal conspiracy.

But she did know. Thandie Newton looked as if this was the most thrilling piece of acting she’d been asked to do in her career, as she switched from abject confession to attack, shrugging off the charges against her to expose not only her crooked brief but the rackety Assistant Chief Constable Hilton.

Within moments, the disgraced new boy at AC-12, DC Jamie Desford, blundered into the trap and revealed himself as another conspirator.

Within moments, the disgraced new boy at AC-12, DC Jamie Desford, blundered into the trap and revealed himself as another conspirator

Within moments, the disgraced new boy at AC-12, DC Jamie Desford, blundered into the trap and revealed himself as another conspirator

Unlike most crime series, Line of Duty is never about the clues. What matter are the interrogations

Unlike most crime series, Line of Duty is never about the clues. What matter are the interrogations

Suddenly, all the contradictions of the plot made sense. They were all guilty, the only possible answer – but I defy any viewer to honestly claim they had worked out the answer beforehand.

For weeks, viewers have been wrestling with the identity of Balaclava Man. But we finally learned that there are lots of them – anonymous minions in woolly masks. One dropped in at the police station lobby and was shot in the head.

When the balaclava was removed, he was no one we recognised – just a disposable, identikit villain, a goon for hire. There could be dozens more like him, controlled by a shadowy master villain.

But does that criminal controller’s name begin with an ‘H’? For his part, Superintendent Hastings was keen to stress that ‘H’ stood for Hilton, who was found dead from shotgun wounds, apparently self-inflicted.

Perhaps the Super was a little too eager, given that his surname shares the same initial.

With viewing ratings climbing steadily, a fifth series of Line of Duty has already been confirmed. Sadly, the work of rooting out corrupt coppers seems never-ending.

‘This is beginning to feel like a life’s work,’ Hastings grumbled. Albeit in fiction – not in our real-life police forces – we can only hope so.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-4460940/Line-Duty-goes-bang.html