The finale of Line Of Duty served to wrap up the biggest question on viewers’ lips – the identity of the Fourth Man, H – but, for many watching the nail-biting final episode, there were plenty of questions that writer Jed Mercurio’s script simply didn’t answer.
With rumours swirling that last night’s hour-long episode could be the BBC police drama’s last hurrah, millions of viewers were hoping for a crescendo that tied up all the loose ends.
However, many were left scratching their heads over how some of the plot threads played out – including whether Superintendent Hastings would face prosecution over his revelation that John Corbett was an Undercover Officer, and why H tried to kill Jo Davidson after she’d apparently done him a favour by leading AC-12 to Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank – taking the heat off him, for a while at least.
The series, which centred Hillside Lane police station’s officers solving the murder of journalist Gail Vella, saw AC-12 weakened but with the divided trio of DI Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) back together again in the final moments, suggesting Mercurio has another series up his sleeve.
Here, MailOnline looks at some of the mysteries that remain unsolved…and the questions the show did answer:
Over and out! The sixth series of Line Of Duty came to its long-awaited conclusion on Sunday night but writer Jed Mercurio didn’t tie up many of this season’s loose ends – leaving viewers hanging on for a seventh series
Mother of God, it’s Buckells: On Sunday fans – many of whom were left underwhelmed by the finale – learned that Superintendent Buckells was the Fourth Man – aka H – after he’d liased with OCG’s to bring down officers who’d failed to do their bidding
Why did H want Jo Davidson dead after she took the heat off him?
Puzzle: Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells – revealed as the so-called ‘Fourth Man’ – in the season finale appeared to be behind Jo Davidson being whisked out of her prison cell, destined to be killed – but the plot line made little sense because she’d actually helped distract attention away from him
Why did Buckells try orchestrate a grisly demise for Jo Davidson, whisking her to certain death in a white prison van, when she had effectively helped his cause by identifying former Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank (pictured) as ‘a bent copper’?
Stitched up: viewers watched as Jo Davidson was summoned for a ‘post charge interview’ and led to a white van – but it wasn’t clear why Buckells would want the locked up former police officer dead
Buckells is led to his cell in the epilogue of last night’s finale …but viewers were still left wondering whether he was actually the final answer to AC-12’s questions, or if there’s more corruption to be found
Ahead of learning that Tommy Hunter was both her uncle and father, an under pressure Jo Davidson first appeared to pin the blame on former Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank by simply confirming that her adopted dad was a ‘bent copper’ – a move that temporarily took AC-12 off the scent of Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells, revealed as H in last night’s show.
DI Steve Arnott and hard-working DS Chloe Bishop (Shalom Brune-Franklin) then decided to speak to Fairbank – a regular face in the early series of the show – upon learning that he was part of the same team involved in the murder of Lawrence Christopher, but AC-12 failed to get any answers due to his deteriorating mental state – leaving Ted Hastings fleeing the room in frustration.
By the series’ end, viewers were left still confused as to why Jo Davidson had tried to blame her supposed father – given that she herself was being blackmailed, making her an easy target for the organised crime group after she ended up behind bars.
Why did H try to orchestrate a grisly demise Jo Davidson, whisking her to a certain death in a fake prison van – until Steve Arnott and Kate Fleming dramatically intervened – when she’d almost certainly already taken the heat off him for a while, and could effectively be left to rot in prison? Was it simply because she was now deemed ‘a rat’ and must be picked off?
How did Arnott and Fleming intercept the van carrying Jo Davidson?
The white van used to escort Jo Davidson to Buckells’ lair was driven by this police officer…but minutes later Steve Arnott was in the driving seat
What happened in that underpass? Viewers were none the wiser but the van emerged moments later with a different driver – Steve Arnott. Right: Arnott pulls out a taser gun on the OCG that’s are trying to capture and kill Jo Davidson
And Kate Fleming hadn’t been in the back of the van…but somehow the crime-busting duo had managed to intercept the vehicle without viewers seeing them do it
A moment of action that viewers couldn’t follow. After Jo Davidson was bustled from her prison cell into a fake white prison van – with bent coppers at the wheel, it seemed certain she was destined for an untimely end.
However, when a tracking helicopter watched the van duck under an underpass – there was an apparent off-screen interception.
When the car was, moments later, pincered by a pair of OCG Range Rovers on a side street, it appeared Davidson was the subject of a fake hijacking. However, from the van emerged a taser-carrying Steve Arnott, with Kate Fleming flinging open the doors of the back of the vehicle.
Somewhere along the way, the anti-corruption duo had managed to get inside the vehicle…but there was never any hint as to how – and viewers weren’t privy to the moment.
How was Jo Davidson allowed to start an idyllic new life?
After the bleakest of upbringings and a police career dedicated to helping criminals, Jo Davidson appeared to have the happiest outcome – but many viewers suggested it was unlikely she’d be able to just walk away without any punishment
Jo Davidson is seen at the end of the finale walking off with her new girlfriend and their pet dog, apparently evading any further police questioning
Destined for a prison term, or worse, death at the hands of a vengeful OCG, Davidson instead emerged free as a bird, and able to start a new life
The Witness Protection scheme certainly proved good to Jo Davidson. After AC-12 deemed that she’d spent a lifetime being coerced into helping the OCG, she was considered a bent copper against her will and her prison cell was promptly unlocked.
The corrupt cop – who, at one point in the series lured DI Kate Fleming to a deserted car park to face a nerve-jangling shoot out with bent copper Ryan Pilkington, who subsequently killed by Fleming – is seen in the programme’s epilogue apparently living the rural dream.
Dressed in a cosy knit, and with a Golden Retriever by her side, she’s seen walking off from the idyllic rural cottage she shares with her new flame-haired girlfriend. On social media, one viewer quipped: ‘Still unsure how Jo Davidson got off so lightly and ended up in Kate Winslet’s cottage from The Holiday.’
Some viewers suggested that it was too far-fetched that Davidson – played by 45-year-old actor Kelly Macdonald – would simply be allowed to start a seemingly blissful new life without facing some retribution for her decades spent actively helping criminals.
Will Steve finally get together with Steph, or Kate?
‘You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’: Kate Fleming may have been referencing her time in AC-12 when she gazed at Steve Arnott in the pub in the closing moments of the show…but fans were left hanging as to whether the line had more romantic connotations
Romance? Throughout the series viewers saw Steve form a close bond with John Corbett’s widow Steph, even spending the night in her bed after continuing to struggle with back pain
Throughout the series viewers saw Steve form a close bond with John Corbett’s widow Steph, even spending the night in her bed after continuing to struggle with back pain and his painkiller addiction.
But by the end of series six, he was clearly doubting whether to pursue a relationship with her, given how she lied about a vast sum of cash given to her by Hastings.
As series six concluded, it was clear that Steve and Kate had never been closer, as she described him as being ‘the best’ during a meeting with Occupational Health, and hinted she could be ready to return to AC-12.
Fans have long enjoyed the pair’s close friendship but perhaps series seven could lead to something more.
MOTHER OF GOD! WAS THAT IT? VIEWERS LEFT ‘FUMING’ AFTER MINOR CHARACTER BUCKELLS IS UNVEILED AS THE FOURTH MAN…
Line of Duty fans across the nation were left underwhelmed and disappointed by the identity of mysterious antagonist ‘H’.
Loyal viewers took to social media in their droves to share their frustrations as officers from the police anti-corruption unit AC-12 discovered the identity of the elusive ‘fourth man’.
But the revelation the bent copper colluding with the organised crime groups (OCGs), was actually DSI Ian Buckells infuriated many seasoned Line Of Duty fans.
It saw the words ‘fuming’, ‘disappointing’ and ‘underwhelming’ all trend on social media in the aftermath of the show.
And the disbelief it could be him was compounded by the way he was only caught because of his repeated mis-spelling of the word ‘definitely’ – hardly the blunder of a hardened criminal mastermind.
The detective – widely thought until last night to have been just a bungling stooge – was first introduced to viewers in series one as the SIO in the case of murdered businesswoman Jackie Laverty by then Chief Superintendent Derek Hilton.
He later went on to become Detective Chief Inspector in series four before being promoted once more to Detective Superintendent in this final series.
Sharing their disappointment on the revelation, one disgruntled Line of Duty fan wrote on Twitter: ‘Can’t believe I watched six seasons of line of Duty for Ian Buckells, the most pointless character to be the fourth man. Fuming.’
While another viewer added: ‘Buckells, the most pointless character’.
Who is the REAL leader of the OCG?
Despite the episode revealing that that Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells was actually the so-called ‘Fourth Man,’ some viewers were quick to note that he didn’t wholly confirm whether he was the leader of the Organised Crime Group.
Really? Instead, he pinned the blame on Tommy Hunter, who was killed back in series two, leaving many viewers unconvinced by his claim
Instead, he pinned the blame on Tommy Hunter, who was killed back in series two, meaning Buckells’ claims seemed less and less likely.
So the question still remains of whether another corrupt officer or criminal is still pulling the strings in the OCG, and Buckells’ role as a middle-man means they could still be out to cause trouble for AC-12.
What will happen to AC-12?
Despite finally uncovering the identity of H through a long paper trail of corrupt officers, fans were surprised to learn the organisation’s powers had been significantly weakened.
Fleming hinted she’d be open to taking her job back alongside Arnott and Hastings, who vowed to appeal his forced retirement despite confessing to DCS Patricia Carmichael he’s revealed John Corbett’s identity as an Undercover Officer.
Steve hinted he may take a break from active duty to overcome his addiction to painkillers, despite he and Kate appearing closer than ever as she told Occupational Health that he was ‘the best.’
Despite a final shot of the AC-12 elevator showed the trio reunited as they travelled down the lift together, viewers are less hopeful on whether they’ll get to see them together again, especially as bosses have been tight-lipped on whether the show could return for a seventh series.
So, how exactly was Steph involved?
What did she do? Aside from the mystery £50k, fans are still in the dark about whether Steph could have any further involvement in the OCG, especially given her presence in the sixth series
Who was it? Early in the finale, DC Bishop revealed that the report ordering Davidson’s transfer from her prison cell to Hillside Lane police station has been forged by an OCG, with a mystery member faking the signatures of both Kate and Lomax
Aside from the mystery £50k, fans are still in the dark about whether Steph could have any further involvement in the OCG, especially given her presence in the sixth series.
There were theories that she could have a secret Marcus Thurwell, but given her appearance in this finale stretched to little more than a voicemail, her appearance has left several unanswered questions.
Who forged Fleming’s and DS Chris Lomax’s signature – and is Lomax dodgy?
DS Chris Lomax appeared to be Hillside Lane’s straight man…but the questions left hanging over how his signature was forged…and the look he gave when receiving former crime boss Tommy Hunter’s son Darren into the police station during the epilogue suggests he may not be clean as a whistle after all
Unsolved: Given Buckells was still in prison at the time, it was unclear who was behind the plot to have Davidson killed, as she clearly knew too much about the OCG, and whether it could have been another officer who ordered her death
The discrepancies over signatures begs the question – can DS Chris Lomax be trusted too?
Early in the finale, DC Bishop revealed that the report ordering Davidson’s transfer from her prison cell to Hillside Lane police station has been forged by an OCG, with a mystery member faking the signatures of both Kate and Lomax to gain access to her cell.
Given Buckells was still in prison at the time, it was unclear who was behind the plot to have Davidson killed, as she clearly knew too much about the OCG, and whether it could have been another officer who ordered her death. Another unanswered question but one that seems to hint that Lomax might have something to hide? And the fact that he was at Hillside Lane to receive former crime boss Tommy Hunter’s son Darren – brought in again over the murder of Lawrence Christopher – could suggest he’s not quite as spotless as he appears.
Is Chief Constable Osborne bent?
Should we trust him? It’s possible that Chief Constable Osborne could be involved in the OCG have openly dismissed any claims of corruption on the force, even after AC-12 discovered H’s identity
For years CC Phillip Osborne has been a prime suspect in AC-12’s investigations of corruption, and it was revealed this series that he worked on the Lawrence Christopher murder case now-deceased Marcus Thurwell, and ‘H’ Buckells
In a televised conference, Osborne commended the work of his officers in locating Gail Vella’s murder, but once again dismissed any institutional police corruption as ‘an outrageous lie.’
Given he is clearly willing to dispel any credible leads AC-12 may have, it’s possible could be involved in an OCG, and may carry on doing their dirty work for years to come.
Will DCI Patricia Carmichael expose Hastings’ wrongdoing….
What will she do? She’s become one of the show’s most maligned characters, but viewers were left hoping that Carmichael had some glimmer of compassion after Hastings decided to make a confession
In doubt: Despite finally uncovering the identity of H through a long paper trail of corrupt officers, fans were surprised to learn the organisation’s powers had been significantly weakened
She’s become one of the show’s most maligned characters, but viewers were left hoping that Carmichael had some glimmer of compassion after Hastings decided to make a confession.
Clearly still a lawful man despite years working in corruption, Ted admitted that he did reveal to Lee Banks that John Corbett was working undercover in organised crime, indirectly leading to his death.
Carmichael simply asked: ‘What do you want me to do with that information?’ leading to one of Hastings’ best speeches yet, declaring: ‘Whatever you do, you do it because you carry the fire…’
As Hastings made his exit, Carmichael’s stoic expression hinted she is less keen to report him then viewers may think…
…. and will he succeed in appealing his forced retirement?
Coming clean: Clearly still a lawful man despite years working in corruption, Ted admitted that he did reveal that John Corbett was working undercover in organised crime, indirectly leading to his death
During his final meeting with Carmichal, Ted also revealed he is planning to appeal against being forced to retire from active duty, despite finally putting one of the team’s longest-serving mysteries to bed.
It was clear from the start that he wasn’t ready to step down, so it remains to be seen whether he’ll succeed in keeping his job, and AC-12, going strong to fight corruption another day.
Will there be a series seven?
It’s the question on every Line Of Duty fan’s lips following the finale, with the concluding episode ending on a somewhat cliffhanger.
BBC bosses are yet to confirm whether the show will be back for another outing, and even the show’s star Martin Compston stating this conclusion will be a ‘perfect ending.’
Fans will have to wait and see whether Line Of Duty will be back for another run, but it seems unlikely BBC will let the show go given its record-breaking viewership.
The mysteries that have finally been solved…
Who is H?
It’s been a question posed by die-hard and casual fans alike, after years wondering about the identity of the fourth man known as H.
On Sunday fans finally learned that Superintendent Buckells was the famous fourth man, having liased with OCG’s to bring down officers who failed to do their bidding.
Despite painting himself as a bumbling fool, the copper actually formed a secret operation with an array of ‘bent coppers’ and even blackmailed Acting Superintendent Davidson thanks to her history with the group as Tommy Hunter’s daughter.
It appeared that AC-12 had caught him red-handed, especially as Steve dealt the fatal blow by revealing he had to co-operate to make him eligible for witness protection.
Hastings delivered the final line, declaring: ‘No one makes mugs of AC-12,’ before leaving the interview, with viewers later learning that Buckells would have to receive immunity, or none of the corruption evidence will be heard in court.
Upsetting: In a shocking bombshell last week Acting Superintendent Davidson learned that she was both the daughter and niece of OCG member Tommy Hunter, having previously been led to believe her father was little more than a bent copper
Who was the man Jo Davidson believed was her father?
In a shocking bombshell last week Acting Superintendent Davidson learned that she was both the daughter and niece of OCG member Tommy Hunter, having previously been led to believe her father was little more than a bent copper.
But, after Davidson is rescued by AC-12 from a group of OCG members who attempt to kill her, she finally admits the man she thought was her dad was former CS Patrick Fairbank, a retired officer thrown behind bars when it was revealed he both covered up and participated in abuse at a children’s home.
Once again, Fairbanks claims he cannot remember Davidson or her mother, insisting he doesn’t recall much of his own criminal past.
Luckily, it seems Davidson finally gets her happy ending after years under the control of the OCG, finding a new life in the countryside in Witness Protection.
Him? But, after Davidson is rescued by AC-12 from a group of OCG members who attempt to kill her, she finally admits the man she thought was her dad was former CS Patrick Fairbank
Who killed Gail Vella?
This mystery proved to be the crutch of the whole series, as fans waited to see whether they would finally learn who killed Gail Vella.
At last fans discovered that it was Carl Banks who had shot her after weapons discovered in a strong box hidden at the OCG’s workshop, meaning suspect Terry Boyle could be released.
Luckily it appeared that Vella’s death wasn’t completely in vain, as the episode’s end also revealed that Darren Hunter was now under investiation for Lawrence Christopher’s murder, though an official inquiry was yet to be opened.
What a relief! Fans feared that Steve could be struck off for failing a drugs test due to his painkiller addiction, and by the episode’s end it appeared that he was getting help with his superior Hastings’ support
Was Steve sacked for failing his drugs test?
For several weeks viewers saw Steve attempting to ignore multiple emails from Occupational Health after submitting to a mandatory drugs test.
Arnott had been struggled with a painkiller addiction to control his searing back pain from an injury suffered back in series four when he was attacked by one of the ‘Balaclava Men.’
The series six finale saw him finally sit down with the Health team who noted that while none of the drugs he’d taken were illegal, the high levels were concerning, and stated he may need a take a break from active duty.
To no surprise Steve refused, and insisted he must continue with his investigation, though he did agree to the possibility of surrendering his firearm.
Arnott then revealed his addiction to Hastings, who later implied he’d kept quiet about Steve to keep him on active duty adding he was grateful he was ‘getting some help.’
By the series’ end, Steve hinted he may take a break from work to finally ditch the pills, but still appeared to be a fundamental part of the AC-12 team.
Revelations: Hastings also revealed that he gave £50,000 to Steph Corbett after inadvertantly causing the death of her husband John by revealing his undercover status to OCG member Lee Banks
What happened to the £50,000 Ted gave to Steph?
After being given an envelope full of £100,000 in cash, fans had been wondering what happened to half of the money, when Steve discovered £50k in John Corbett’s widow Steph’s flat.
Probed by both Steve and Kate, who feared that the gaffer could be bent, Hastings insisted he only came clean about Corbett’s undercover status to Lee Banks, who later told Ryan Pilkington who killed him, in the hope he’d get back in contact.
He then revealed he gave Steph half the money in the hope it would clear his conscience, adding: ‘If there is one thing I could take back, it would be that. What a terrible thing I did.’
Alive or dead? Many fans were convinced that DI Marcus Thurwell could have been secretly living in Spain despite AC-12 being led to believe they’ve found his body last week, but it turned how he was definitely killed
Is Marcus Thurwell alive?
Many fans were convinced that DI Marcus Thurwell could have been secretly living in Spain despite AC-12 being led to believe they’ve found his body last week.
However, this turned out to be a huge red herring, as DC Bishop confirmed in the finale that Thurwell was definitely strangled to death, and his body had acutally been left for several weeks before being discovered by Spanish police.
It was a disappointing end to a character that had been tipped for big bombshells in the series as he was played by James Nesbitt.
Line Of Duty’s sixth series finale leaves fans underwhelmed as 12million viewers FINALLY learn the identity of the elusive criminal Fourth Man – but are convinced there has to be ‘one more twist’
By Laura Fox and Bhvishya for MailOnline
Line of Duty fans across the nation were left ‘fuming’ as the nail-biting series finale drew to a close tonight and the mysterious antagonist ‘H’ was finally unmasked.
Seasoned fans took to social media in their droves to share their frustrations as officers from the police anti-corruption unit AC-12 discovered the identity of the elusive ‘fourth man’, who had been colluding with the organised crime group (OCG), was none other than DSU Ian Buckells.
The detective was first introduced to viewers in series one when he was appointed as SIO in the case of murdered businesswoman Jackie Laverty by then chief superintendent Derek Hilton.
The sixth series of the Jed Mercurio creation, also saw DI Steve Arnott, played by actor Martin Compston, finally called in for a meeting with Occupational Health, who noted that while he had not broken the law through his excessive painkiller use, he would have to surrender his firearms licence.
However, the episode’s end failed to offer any resolution on whether the fan-favourite team of DI Steve Arnott, DI Kate Fleming and Superintendent Ted Hastings would return, ending on the revelation that the team has ‘never been weaker.’
The mystery surrounding the identity of ‘H’ has been up for speculation since his character was first mentioned at the end of series three, which aired in 2016, and detectives at the anti-corruption unit discovered there were four officers working within the force who had links to the underground criminal network.
Sharing their disappointment on the revelation, one disgruntled Line of Duty fan wrote on Twitter: ‘Can’t believe I watched six seasons of line of Duty for Ian Buckells, the most pointless character to be the fourth man. Fuming.’
While another viewer added: ‘I’m fuming, can’t believe I waited this long for Ian Buckells to run the roost.’
At last! Line Of Duty’s much-anticipated sixth series came to its conclusion on Sunday night with the identity of the elusive criminal ‘H’ finally unmasked
Shocking: Viewers were noticeable underwhelmed to learn the identity of the elusive criminal, as the series ended on an ambiguous note
While another wrote: ‘We waited 10 years for Ian Buckells to be revealed as the OCG mastermind.’
Another commented: ‘Everyone in the UK when we waited all this time for Ian Buckells to be revealed as the OCG mastermind.’
Meanwhile another fan said: ‘I would have accepted Hastings as H over Ian bloody Buckells #LineOfDuty #LineofDutyFinale.’
Elsewhere another viewer added: ‘I once got the entire UK invested in a TV show only to end it with bumbling Ian Buckells being H #LineofDutyFinale #LineOfDuty.’
And another wrote: ‘Well I hate to say it but that’s a disappointing ending. I refuse to believe it was all down to Ian Buckells of all people.’
One frustrated fan added: ‘In whose universe is Ian Buckells any kind of mastermind of anything? I’m dazed and completely confused.’
During the episode tonight, Superintendent Ted Hastings, played by actor Adrian Dunbar, was seen asking his colleague Chloe to run checks on the constant misspelling of the word ‘definitely’ as ‘definately’ which had become synonymous with the ‘fourth man’ in previous episodes.
A number of checks traced the word back to Buckells who used the misspelling when messaging former undercover officer John Corbett, played by Stephen Graham, in series five.
When confronted with the revelation Hastings was left astounded, asking his colleague: ‘Are you sure Chloe?’
After being confronted by Hastings and his team Buckells declared: ‘I’m only the one whose made total mugs out of you lot!’.
He also revealed that would have to offer him immunity or Witness Protection if they wanted him to co-operate.
Pointing out that H did not officially exist as the investigation into corruption had been quashed, he insisted Tommy Hunter, the organised crime kingpin who was a sinister character during the drama’s early series, was the leader of the OCG.
What a let down! Fans shared their frustrations as officers of the police anti-corruption unit AC-12 discovered that the identity of the elusive ‘fourth man’
Also during the show, viewers watched as DI Arnott was left torn on whether to pursue fears that his boss Ted Hastings could be ‘H’ as the team raced to uncover the mystery figure’s identity.
The officer also admitted to his detective friend Kate Fleming that he had been involved with former officer John Corbett’s widow Steph.
As the team from AC-12 tried to unravel the mystery surrounding journalist Gail Vella’s death, they found a strong box hidden under the floor of the OCG’s workshop.
The box was revealed to contain an array of weapons used in murders investigated by Hastings and his team, including the gun that shot and killed Vella, and the knife that slit the throat of DS John Corbett, who was killed by the OCG in series five.
It’s the breakthrough that the team have been waiting for, as the box finally proves that Carl Banks was responsible for Vella’s murder before being killed by the OCG himself.
After weeks of incessant emails, Steve is finally called in for a meeting with Occupational Health, who note that while he hasn’t broken the law through his excessive painkiller use, he should take time off from his duties.
To no surprise, Arnott refuses, but does agree to hand over his fire-arm, and comes to clean to Hastings about his drug use. To his, and the viewers’ surprise, Hastings doesn’t dismiss him, simply saying: ‘I’m glad you’re getting some help.’
Despite fans’ theories that Thurwell had to be alive, it is revealed that he was killed in the previous episode, and had actually been dead for several weeks when his body was found after being strangled.
DC Chloe Bishop, also reveals that any communication involving Thurwell and the OCG had been re-routed through Spain from a device in the UK, meaning the fourth man was definitely still amongst the corruption team.
Who is it? It was at least revealed that the so-called fourth man was actually DSU Ian Buckells, who had been originally imprisoned after appearing to have been framed by Davidson
Revelations: The team from AC-12 found a strong box hidden under the floor of the O CG’s workshop during the nail-biting episode
After being imprisoned for her own corrupt behaviour, Davidson is taken away in a police van under the ruse she’s being interviewed at Hillside Lane, but in reality it’s the same criminal who strangled Lakewell several weeks earlier.
It’s clear that H is involved in the attempt to kill Davidson, as the order for her transfer boests the same ‘definately’ misspelling, as well as the forced signatures of Fleming and DS Chris Lomax.
Luckily AC-12 reach the van in time to rescue Davidson, and vow to get her into witness protection if she comes clean on H’s identity.
Jo is clearly reluctant to give up the man in charge of the Order who kept her hostage for so many years, and so AC-12 opt to return their investigation to former Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank but find nothing in his cell.
Caught out: DI Arnott was finally called in for a meeting with Occupational Health, who noted that while he hadn’t broken the law through his excessive painkiller use, he should take time off from his duties
Despite AC-12 revealing Davidson was led to believe he was her father, Fairbank claims he ‘doesn’t remember’ anything related to her or the OCG, with a clearly-frustrated Hastings storming out of the interview.
Proving to be the clue that will crack open this decade-long mystery, Bishop spots the same ‘definately’ spelling inside a written note found in the records related to Lawrence Christopher’s murder.
The case was being investigated by Vella before she was murdered, having learned that the botched work corrupt police officers meant no one was ever charged with the racially-charged crime.
As AC-12 debate whether to go public with the information, Hastings finally confesses to Kate and Steve about the mystery bag of money he gave to John Corbett’s widow Steph, admitting he gave her the cash as a kind-hearted gesture.
He also fiercely denied revealing Corbett’s identity as an Undercover Officer to the OCG, which eventually lead to his death.
Admission: Despite finally uncovering the identity of H through a long paper trail of corrupt officers, fans were surprised to learn the organisation’s powers had been significantly weakened
She’s become one of the show’s most maligned characters, but viewers were left hoping that detective Carmichael had some glimmer of compassion after Hastings decided to make a confession
Regardless, the written note finally sets the stage for the most important police interview in the show’s history, with the stage set at last for Hastings to confront the criminal H who has caused so much havoc in AC-12.
The so-called Fourth Man is then revealed to be Buckells, despite perceptions hinting he was easily-manipulated and thus the perfect target for Davidson as she did the OCG’s dirty work.
It seemed the copper was far smarter than first thought, as he’d been exchanging messages with Davidson about his criminal behaviour.
Despite his bumbling exterior, it all seemed to be a ruse, as he declared: ‘I’m only the one whose made total mugs out of you lot!’ by revealing they’d have to offer him immunity or Witness Protection if they wanted him to co-operate.
Pointing out that H doesn’t officially exist as the investigation into corruption had been quashed, he insisted Tommy Hunter was still the leader of the OCG and since his death the system had simply scattered.
Despite this, it’s clear Fleming and Arnott want to keep looking into the investigation, and open an enquiry to finally get a conviction for Christopher’s murder, but Carmichael is less convinced.
To make matters worse, Chief Constable Phillip Osbourne makes a statement applauding the police force for finally uncovering Gail Vella’s killer, but once again denies any possibility of police corruption.
The episode concludes on an uncertain note, with Hastings coming clean about revealing Corbetts status as an UCO after vowing to appeal his forced retirement, before leaving with the AC-12 team, and on-screen text noting that their powers to curb wrongdoing in the force have never been weaker.
Davidson enters Witness Protection, while it appears that if Buckells gains immunity, none of the evidence for corruption will be heard in court, meaning the entire investigation will have been for nothing.
Anticipated: Given the show’s record-breaking viewership, fans hoped that the finale would answer all their burning questions, including the identity of the elusive ‘H’
Mere hours before the episode was due to air, both stars Vicky and Martin paid tribute to the show’s fans and their co-stars on social media, though neither post appeared to dispel fans’ concerns that series six could be the last.
Given the show’s record-breaking viewership, fans hoped that the finale would answer all their burning questions, including whether DCI Thurwell could still be alive after his body was supposedly found in last week’s episode and whether DCS Carmichael is the elusive fourth man.
Another mystery that has stemmed from series six was the £50,000 that Steve discovered in John Corbett’s wife Steph’s house, after being given the vast amount by Hastings himself.
Confronting Steph about her husband’s ‘life insurance,’ she insisted the money had been invested in a hairdressers, leaving many fans wondering whether she could be involved in an OCG after her husband worked undercover for a crime group in series five.
Having seen its ratings increase throughout its eight-year run, series six kicked off with a record-breaking 15 million viewers tune in for its opening episode in March, and since averaged between 12 and 13 million viewers.
The preview episode of the finale was shrouded in secrecy by the BBC, with TV insiders and journalists given a plethora of passwords to access the show.
A source said: ‘Staff were under strict instructions to keep character and plot revelations under strict lock and key.
‘Friends and families of the key actors also kept schtum on letting slip on any show details.’
An even longer wait: Like many shows, series six was hit by several delays due to the Covid pandemic, with filming in Belfast halted back in March 2020, just days before the UK was plunged into lockdown
Ahead of the sixth series finale, feared by many to be the show’s last hurrah, fans got a glimpse of the episode through an action-packed trailer, complete with a police standoff, the return of balaclava men and the discovery of a written note with THAT ‘definately’ misspelling.
However, despite the huge success of the BBC show, Martin Compston revealed the BBC drama could be coming to an end sooner than everyone thinks.
Martin – who previously revealed that executive decisions about the series are ‘above his pay grade’ – cast doubt on the show’s future during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show.
Speaking on Saturday’s show, Martin, 36, said: ‘We won’t come back just for the sake of it. That’s for sure. We’ll come back if there’s a story to tell.
‘If it ends well maybe sometimes it is best to leave it. But genuinely we don’t know.’
The admission comes after Martin teased that fans will get some ‘big answers’ during the finale, and admitted he believes it could be the ‘perfect ending’ to the police drama.
Speaking on the Shrine Of Duty podcast, Martin confessed that he thinks Sunday’s episode could be the best way to wrap up the ‘story arch’ – but he refused to rule out another series.
When quizzed on whether viewers will learn who the illusive ‘H’ is, Martin said: ‘I wouldn’t quite go the Jo Davidson no comment route – but what I will tell you is I think there’s a lot of pay offs coming this Sunday.
‘There’s a lot of big answers and it’s deserved, people have stuck with us for a long time, so there comes a point where the story arch comes to an end.’
Like many shows, series six was hit by several delays due to the Covid pandemic, with filming in Belfast halted back in March 2020, just days before the UK was plunged into lockdown.
Production was finally able to resume in September that year with strict safety guidelines, including the use of studio sets as opposed to real locations, regular testing measures.
Filming for series six finally wrapped in November, with bosses later confirming it would be seven episodes as opposed to the usual six.
‘The perfect ending’: The admission comes after Martin teased that fans will get some ‘big answers’ during the finale, and admitted he believes it could be the ‘perfect ending’ to the police drama