Line of Duty
And… breathe. After 90 minutes of nerve-shredding tension, the fifth series of Line Of Duty ended tonight on a bombshell with a killer twist.
It turned out that lawyer Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker) was the rotten apple in the bent cop barrel. Mother of God, it was her all along! She was the devious plotter trying to frame Supt Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), get him kicked off the force and have his beloved AC-12 unit shut down.
Why? Presumably to leave her and the ever-mysterious H to carry on living the high life off the proceeds of organised crime. Maybe even buy another pink blouse? She never had that one off.
When Gill is unmasked as being in league with the OCG, she calls them to rescue her. Uncertain whose side an armed officer is on, Kate Fleming and Steve Arnott force him to lower his gun
In a thrilling finale full of gasps, we were kept guessing right until almost the end. At one stage, Gill even appeared to be a saviour, pointing out errors in Detective Chief Superintendent Patricia Carmichael’s (Anna Maxwell Martin) investigation and reassuring Hastings, who she had slept with back in episode four.
‘You don’t have a bent bone in your body. This will all go away, Ted. Trust me,’ she said, squeezing his arm in the interview room.
It was only solid grunt work by DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) that saved Ted’s Ulster fry – that’s bacon to you, fella, and it’s cooking on gas.
They discovered that Biggeloe had been responsible for recruiting DS John Corbett (Stephen Graham) as an undercover officer to be embedded with the Balaclava Gang. She then made him believe that Ted not only was H, but was also responsible for the murder of his mother.
Sergeant Tina Tranter launches at the crooked lawyer with a tiny knife last used to scrape some carrots in the canteen
She even stole some of Ted’s lovely hair from his comb, and used it to plant DNA evidence on Corbett’s body after he was murdered by the gang. (There should have been a special credit – Ted’s Hair was played by Ted’s Hair.)
She had gone to a lot of trouble and it was down to Ted to voice the confused concerns of the nation. ‘Why?’ he asked, when her evil machinations were finally revealed.
‘It’s complicated,’ she shrugged. It sure is! Did we really go through all this murder and mayhem just to avenge a spurned woman who was oddly in love with a man she could not have? Couldn’t someone have just written a country and western song instead?
Still, we all knew there was something suspicious about Gill, right from the get-go. She has been panting after Ted since series two; slinking around his office, turning up uninvited, inveigling herself into the action. Now, as Senior Legal Counsel to Police and Crime Commissioner Rohan Sindwhani (Ace Bhatti), the Pink Panter even managed to finally bed Ted and about that, the least said.
After Biggeloe was unmasked in the interview room, Line Of Duty protocols mean that she must immediately be neutralised, so as not to reveal the identity of the corrupt high-ranking police officer who is behind everything. Operation Kill Gill swung into action, with shocking scenes reminiscent of a surprise attack by Chucky in the Child’s Play films.
Sgt Tina Tranter (Natalie Gavin) followed her into the AC-12 loos, then stabbed her with a tiny vegetable knife. The flame-haired policewoman only managed to plunge it into Biggeloe’s palm, before Arnott did a bit of neutralising himself and shot her.
After all that, H is still at large, remaining stubbornly unmasked and at liberty to do his or her worst; an enigma wrapped in a blanket on the thin blue line. Just to complicate things ever more, we also discover that H is not an initial, it is a clue and that there are not one but four Hs; Dot Cottan, ACC Hilton, Gill Biggeloe and Someone Else.
Thank the Lord, bless you Jesus, Mary and Joseph, it appeared not to be Supt Ted who emerged as a hero, with his principles intact and his standards as high as his bouffant, which remained as alluring as ever, despite those nights in jail.
It was terrible to see the much diminished Ted, unshaven, red-eyed and confused in his prison issue tracksuit.
Gill takes a minute to compose herself in the AC-12 loos. Her cunning plan has come unstuck – and now Ted will never go out with her
In beautifully scripted interview scenes – two of them lasting for more than 15 nail-biting minutes – we saw a new side of AC-12’s usually authoritative commanding office. He cried, which was awful to behold. He admitted to watching porn, ditto. ‘Nothing illegal, nothing extreme,’ he said, ‘but I did not want it to be found. Look, it was private stuff. My wife had left me.’
Gill’s face was a picture. We were treated to some vintage Tedisms, including the following: ‘The man had it coming to him in spades. As God is my witness! Corbett was Anne Marie’s wee fella? My decision was based on saving police officers lives. Priceless I would say.’
Ted is moved to tears when he learns John Corbett is the son of Anne Marie McGillis, an informer murdered by paramilitaries while he was in the RUC
He even managed not to laugh when Carmichael suggested there was some connection between the balaclavas worn by Irish paramilitaries during The Troubles and the balaclavas worn by the Balaclava Gang. What a knit wit.
‘There is no parallel there. I am not H,’ he roared. Quite right, too.
By the end, Hastings was back in his uniform, a cheering sight indeed. However, someone else was wearing one, too. The final chilling twist was that baby-faced gang member Ryan Pilkington – the stab-happy teen who killed John Corbett – has joined the police force. And in series six he might turn out to be the bentest copper of them all.
If your nerves can cope… it’s not over yet
C’mon now fella, is Hastings H?
At this time, the answer seems to be NO. Yes, he did hide his laptop in the computer shop because he knew that it would be seized. There was incriminating evidence on it – but nothing that would expose him as a criminal mastermind. In fact, he was looking at porn.
Was ‘definately’ definitely a clue?
Yes. Ted intentionally copied H’s spelling mistake when he was posing as H. His superbrain noted and retained that bit of information. Yes, even in the middle of this complicated investigation.
Was Lisa McQueen (Rochenda Sandall) an undercover cop?
No, just a gang boss with shaky hands. Although she has entered a witness protection programme in return for giving the police evidence about the OCG, she kept one utterly crucial piece of information from them. She told the cops that it was Miroslav Minkovic (Tomi May) who killed Corbett, before he was killed himself. Actually it was Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper), who is now a police cadet and certain to cause mayhem in the next series.
What happened to the money?
Hastings somehow hid half of the £100,000 planted on him by Gill Biggeloe via Mark Moffat.
In final scenes he was spotted near the graveside of DS Corbett, where his grieving widow was paying her respects.
He was carrying a package under his arm, presumably to give to her and presumably containing the £50,000.
Oh, Ted! You are a hero after all.