Not just another police drama!
Police and crime shows are ten a penny at the moment with schedulers seeing them as a safe bet. So you’d be forgiven for rolling you eyes thinking “not another one.”
Where Line of Duty differs is our lead; voted police officer of the year, DCI Tony Gates (Lennie James) is no hero; although he appears to those in his vicinity as the charming messiah, everyone wants to be on Gates’ team including DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) who secures herself the coveted position.
Reality is Gates is corrupt; the very definition of a bent copper. Prepared to cross any line to cover up the fact he’s having an affair with Jackie Laverty (Gina McKee) who has used her car to murder her accountant, feigning her car was stolen beforehand. Gates also uses the system to bolster his crime rate success. He gets away with it largely cos he cherry picks his cases, making the statistics look good, while keeping the bosses happy; his idiotic team follows him like a bunch of immature school boys (including Neil Morrisey who appears like the older version of his former Men Behaving Badly character) looking for the latest laugh.
However Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) suspects “no-one can be that good” and instructs DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) to investigate him feeling he’s the perfect man for the job after being ostracised for not toeing the party line when a raid of a terrorist bomber goes wrong.
Interestingly this drama shies away from the norm, with little focus on police catching the criminals and more on what it means to work for the police now. How statistics are more important than protecting a pensioner, and if it means more paperwork – it’s not worth doing. DS Steve Arnott is an example of doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily mean success! It’s a brave side of story to portray! Vicky McClure is also seen as an ambiguous character, going from stoic supporter of Gates to privately spying.
Talking of spying the opening sequence was very Spooks – like and certainly started it off with a bang and a promise of things to come. Whatever you thought of episode one, I would urge you to stick with it – episode two will have you hooked as things twist and turn.