Initial impressions of BBC's infamous Line of Duty

Sophie McNally shares her thoughts about the BBC smash-hit show, Line of Duty

Sophie McNally
25th April 2021
Credit: IMDb


So far BBC's smash-hit Line of Duty has been as dramatic as ever in its sixth season. The past few weeks a throng of car chases, false allegations and shootouts, whilst tension has been continually building around who the notorious 'H' could possibly be.

The series has come back with a gun-fired bang, with views soaring past their best figures yet. The Sunday 21 first episode saw 9.6 million viewers excitedly take to their seats to see what was in store.

Jed Mercurio has again towed the fine line perfectly between overly-complicated plots versus tantalising screen action

After the dramatic scrutiny of our favourite Irishman, Superintendent Hastings, at the end of season five, I was worried this season could carry on from where it left off. But so far it's done more than that. Amidst all the unintelligible police jargon and name-throwing, Jed Mercurio has again towed the fine line perfectly between overly-complicated plots versus tantalising screen action.

The opening scenes saw the introduction of Detective Superintendent Joanne Davidson in a high-speed rush towards the alleged perpetrator's house. Davidson heads the investigation into: 'Operation Lighthouse', surrounding the murder of journalist Gail Vella. Yet, she becomes quickly embroiled in suspicions of corruption from both AC-12 and those around her. The inception of this season's plot has the quintessential Line of Duty kickstart, with confusion over the detained culprit and motives of silencing unearthed truths behind Vella's death.

Joanne Davidson has been a main character this season. Credit: IMDb.

Davidson's seemingly paranoia-driven sabotage of 'Operation Lighthouse' fits neatly into the plot, but can make for her characterisation as more of a nuisance than an actual threat at times. Successive mood swings and evasive commentary from Davidson also brings somewhat of a bore factor, to the otherwise high-paced drama of the series.

This series has really seen a mingling of the personal and the professional

Aside from that, the only other room for viewer disappointment was that the classic Fleming-Arnott duo wouldn't be together anymore. We soon learned that DI Flemming had left AC-12 to pursue 'normal' police work, and joined the 'Operation Lighthouse' team. I thought something would totally be amiss in the make-up of the plot and the character dynamics, but to everyone's relief the two couldn't go for long without each other either. They charismatic pair soon start as co-conspirators in a bid to tackle Davidson's suspect nature, and it looks as though Fleming had never truly left AC-12.

This series has really seen a mingling of the personal and the professional come to the foreground too. We see the blossoming of a potential love interest between Fleming and her superior Davidson, in the midst of a strict work setting. Though we also see negative personal developments from the 'line of duty', with Arnott's worsening addiction to painkillers and Hasting's isolation from his peers.

Arnott's storyline could have been better-developed. Credit: IMDb.

Admittedly, Arnott's drug addiction storyline doesn't get the screen time or development it deserves. But, then again how could you possibly give it the moment it deserves alongside the shocking interview scenes and exhilarating action sequences? Nonetheless, this season's character development seamlessly slots into the violent criminality and ever-shifting grounds of suspicion.

Drama, mystery, and intrigue all in the perfectly police-wrapped package

The new series has again ignited detective aficionados amongst its fanbase, with Twitter exploding each week with theories and clues fresh off the press as to what's going to come next. The top theories so far have argued Detective Chief Superintendent Patricia Carmichael is 'H', whilst others have speculated Fleming could be dead in this Sunday's episode due to her name disappearing from the credits.

Whatever happens, we are certainly in for a ride this Sunday. With a record twenty-nine minute interview scene penciled into our weekly fix, and last episode's cliffhanger leaving the life of Flemming in the balance at the hands of thug-in-disguise Ryan Pilkington.

Whether you love BBC dramas or loathe them, this series has it all. Drama, mystery, and intrigue all in the perfectly police-wrapped package.

(If that doesn't convince you, Steve Arnott's beard will).

Credit: BBC on YouTube.
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AUTHOR: Sophie McNally
Courier Fashion sub-editor, and Newcastle History undergraduate

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