There's always a wealth of plots and characters and acronyms that twist through each episode of Line of Duty. It's more than most series will achieve over entire seasons. And, so far, each chapter of season six has filled to the brim – mixing in nearly 10 years of AC-12 policing. But episode three, in particular, ties up many threads that were left hanging for years. It’s bliss to witness.
Temp DI Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) finally discover who PC Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper) is. Although he, as a character, feels two-dimensional at the moment – evil with a trusting smile – perhaps the season will gradually unlock more about him.
Ryan started out as a BMX kid in season one, doing the OCG's bidding and mangling Steve's fingers with a pair of pliers. At the end of season five, he joined the police in order to feed information back to the OCG. Now, he's coercing Terry Boyle (Tommy Jessop) into sticking to the script. 'You know I'm your best mate?' he says to him.
After Terry seems on the verge of giving the game away, DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) bizarrely stops the interview and Ryan, later, tries to drown him in a fake car accident. And that’s all in the first 15 minutes. Writer/creator Jed Mercurio constructs a seething, frustrating suspense: tracking Kate’s instincts to stealthily follow Ryan and Terry in her car.
Terry has been an exciting curiosity throughout this season. Considering his closeness to the OCG, he’s the best witness AC-12 has encountered in a while. His abuse at the hands of OCG members, taking advantage of his reluctant hospitality, makes him deserve a win. But we'll just have to wait a bit longer. Mercurio loves to tease.
Tommy Jessop and Gregory Piper as Terry Boyle and PC Ryan Pilkington. Photo: BBC
The dodgy relationship between Steve and Steph Corbett (Amy De Bhrún) has escalated, making this critic feel very uneasy. Of all Steve’s lust-fuelled exploits over the years, some of which have jeopardised investigations, this is probably the most nauseating. But with his addiction to pills for a hidden disability (crushingly depicted by Compston), that desperation for human affection is, at least, believable.
But what if Steph is deceiving him? She told Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) about the addiction, and the money package in the loft looks like those handed out by the OCG. (They recruit many officers by exploiting their debts and money issues.) Suspicions rise with her ambiguous and unexplained relationship with Ted, who’s still a potential ‘H’ suspect. Over six seasons, Mercurio has created a constant flurry of distrust – even for characters we’ve grown to love. Everyone's under scrutiny now.
Kelly Macdonald as DCI Joanne Davidson. Photo: BBC
And then there’s Buckells (Nigel Boyle), the most irritating character in Line of Duty. The question still hangs: is he really that incompetent or is he covering his corruption? (Many believe that he is 'H'.) His arrest by AC-12 at the end of this episode is incredibly satisfying: poetic justice after being so annoying for so long.
Will the eventual interrogation result in a deep spring of dark information, or a confused and arrogant process of Brummie grumbles? If he is in the OCG, the questioning process could end in gunfire – like DI Matthew 'Dot' Cottan (Craig Parkinson) in season three and lawyer Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker) in season five.
But Joanne could be using Buckells' incompetence as a decoy for AC-12, blaming him for all the holes in the Gail Vella investigation. If that’s the case, how entrenched in the OCG is Davidson? The messaging software on her laptop resembles that used to contact 'H' in season five, so she could be talking to the top dogs. Not Buckells, in that case, but maybe Ted? Or maybe she's 'H', contacting her OCG members? Her mystery continues.
Line of Duty season 6 continues Sundays at 9pm on BBC One
|What||Line of Duty season 6 episode 3, BBC One review|
04 Apr 21 – 04 Apr 22, ON BBC ONE
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