If you’re one of the 12.8 million people who tuned in to Line of Duty to see the much-anticipated reveal of the fourth man, dubbed ‘H’, then chances are you’ve got strong feelings about the episode. If you’re like me then you were on the edge of your seat as armed police surrounded an unknown person being led into the AC-12 building - was it Osborne? Had Carmichael, the character everyone loves to hate, been arrested? The long beep of the interview room signals we’re about to find out the answer to a mystery that has gripped the entire nation, please step forward err... Ian Buckells?
Yes, that’s right. Ian Buckells. At first, I found this to be completely underwhelming, but there was still half an hour left of the episode and I was intrigued. After all, aren’t the brilliantly crafted interview scenes the reason why the programme is so popular? Unfortunately, after a series of “no comments” from Buckells I felt that, much like Ted, Kate and Steve, I’d been mugged off. The episode finished and a feeling of dismay set in, which was only exacerbated by the promising start where Jo was saved from the bloody clutches of the OCG.
However, after sleeping on the episode I changed my mind slightly about this controversial ending. Revisiting the episode for a second time was more enjoyable than the first viewing, it made sense that the conclusion was unsatisfying - that was the point. Most viewers had completely disregarded Buckells after his mid-series arrest, how could this buffoon be a criminal mastermind? In fact, this meant no one suspected him, which in turn hammered home how corrupt the police service had become. So, whilst it wasn’t the ‘urgent exit required’ ending we were all hoping for, it was certainly realistic. Mercurio’s frequent allusions to our current political climate became even more relevant with this reveal, after all the parallels between greedy Buckells and a certain UK prime minister are hard to miss.
Moments of brilliance shone through the episode and Adrian Dunbar gave his greatest performance to date as Ted Hastings, particularly when delivering his impassioned speech about truth and integrity. Similarly, Martin Compston and Vicky McClure were on top form and it was reassuring to see both characters get the professional support they needed.
Unusual for the series was a set of happy endings, specifically for Jo Davidson and Terry Boyle. It was heartwarming to see Kelly Macdonald’s character with her dog and girlfriend, yet I can’t help but despair that her relationship with McClure’s Kate never developed into the romance that was hinted at.
An episode that divided opinion, but one that’s cleverness shines through when revisited, the question remains of whether it will be renewed for series 7 - I “definitely” hope so.