A gripping finale for Line of Duty!
My reservations about the finale being able to live up to the immense build up were unfounded, as Jed Mercurio the writer of Line of Duty has done a very clever shift in this final episode, of what has been an emotionally tense gripping series.
With DCI Tony Gates (Lennie James) on the run facing charges of Conspiracy, kidnapping, GBH and attempted murder. Gates goes from trying to hide his guilt to proving his innocence; DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) goes from a dog with a bone to a lost puppy, now uncertain of Gates guilt and more inclined than ever to give him a chance after his gratitude for saving him from lost fingers and near death. (He seems to have overlooked it was Gates’ fault he was there in the first place) Of course the biggest twist is background man Dot, who not only is now promoted into Gates deadman walking shoes, but turns out to have been Tommy’s criminal master-player all along. (It has to be said Tommy was a let down, and needs to stick to voice acting. He wasn’t menacing at all in person) You always know in a crime drama when someone says they were influenced by someone as a child, that someone is not just gonna be the local WI who taught you how to bake a cake.
You could argue what a handy coincidence that Ryan’s bolt cutters didn’t work, but I’m prepared to overlook that, for the episode was edge of your seat stuff, with character motives being flipped and enough of an understanding of these characters to think you know what they will do – only to be surprised by what they actually do. You could also argue that the series promotes that criminality pays as none of those featured paid for their crimes with innocents losing out. But you also have to question what a compelling and original drama has been presented and as much as we hate it, we all know life isn’t fair.
There were a few distressing scenes especially the death or should i say Murder? of Gates dog Sammy which were unnecessary (I held my cat that bit tighter then). Although he wanted to save his dogs pain I also felt disgusted he didn’t call a vet just so he could save his own skin. But the writing cleverly made it so by the end of the episode I had gradually come to feel (a bit) sorry for Gates. His time with his children overshadowed by his realisation of what he has lost and the sacrifice he is about to make for them. To ensure his family receive his pension by dying in “The Line of Duty,” his last words to Arnott an agreement to agree to that statement.
It would seem Gates’ downfall wasn’t the truck that knocked him over, or his affair with Jackie, but his ego. He had built himself up to be such a powerhouse, corruption was never far away and those watching even closer. He may not have been the bent copper in the way we all thought, but his attitude didn’t exactly endear you to him, especially when he’s behaved all series like he’s untouchable.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom as Superintendent Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) always has a quick jibe to make you laugh, meanwhile Fleming was on-hand to keep Arnott and his simmering jealously in check. DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and young gangster wannabe Ryan provided a harsh reality of some of today’s youth but this episode focused more on the Gates/Arnott interplay. Martin Compston, Lennie James and Vicky McClure have all acted superbly. Jed Mercurio and BBC Two have created one of British TV’s greats.
Of course the main story of Line of Duty is corruption in the force. A path which could easily continue for more series if the BBC were to recommission. The ending was a refreshing change and gave one of the first real depictions of the lack of action and consequence handed down by the law to their own law enforcing teams. As Arnott swears “to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
There were a few baffling elements.
• Why did we not learn before of Fleming’s family? Were they meant to depict the sacrifices and danger she had taken in her quest to catch Gates?
• Is Jackie’s body forever to stay in that poor mans freezer?
• Did nobody think to check Gates’ house while he was on the run. He spent most of the episode there. Come on guys basic policing surely?
• And finally, why did Tommy not escape when Gates had left the car door open?
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