Image: BBC Pictures.

This is devastating but I can’t stop watching – Line of Duty Series 5 Episode 5

Anyone who has been following these reviews might be able to guess that this episode – which was essentially the downfall of Superintendent Hastings – did not please me.

 

*spoilers ahead*

Indeed, I was devastated to watch all this take place. Most devastated of all simply because I can’t see a way back from it for the character. Hastings may have cried out in frustration that he’s been set up, but that’s not really what’s happened. If it were then there would at least be hope that the truth could be reached and he could be forgiven. But while the accusation that he’s H may well be a set up (by Corbett, Patricia Carmichael or whoever), the questioning of his conduct by Kate and Steve was accurate. So, really, if Hastings has been set up, then it’s only by one person: the very man who created him, Jed Mercurio.

for all the criticism I’ve put towards this series, it’s time to make a concession

As I’ve already complained about, the character has been plagued by foolish, unprofessional and uncharacteristic actions this series, from not doing something sooner about an ultra-suspicious envelope of cash to diving into a foolish undercover in direct disobedience of Kate’s sound advice. I’m relieved that he isn’t actually corrupt (or so we can assume thus far) but can’t help but feel like the character’s lost his common sense just to contrive suspicion from the audience and a story about his downfall.

I can’t remember the last time I was so invested in a TV drama

But, for all the criticism I’ve put towards this series, it’s time to make a concession. This week’s episode was exceptional drama. I might well be frustrated by the way things are going, but I can’t remember the last time I was so invested in a TV drama. With the focus off of the OCG (Organized Crime Group) and onto Hastings, I really cared about what was going on this episode.

Furthermore, watching Hastings undercover as H, even if it was probably the beginning of his end, was an enormously fun scene. Vicky McClure and Martin Compston were also superlative throughout this episode, as we watched them go through the tragic but necessary motions of reporting their boss. Only in AC-12 could such backstabbing be portrayed as so honourable.

I’m clutching at straws with very little to go on here, but plausible suggestions are thin on the ground

As for Carmichael – a delightfully contemptuous performance from Anna Maxwell Martin – could she be a new face in the frame for H? Admittedly, I’m clutching at straws with very little to go on here, but plausible suggestions are thin on the ground. It also appears that I was wrong to suspect an impending twist about Lisa McQueen. It was satisfying to see her finally arrested, but the moment was robbed of attention due to everything with Hastings taking precedence.

It’s difficult to know where things will go from here with only one episode left in the series. I could certainly see a scenario where Hastings is framed as H as a cliff-hanger for Series 6. I could also imagine a scenario where he’s cleared of that particular accusation but still disgraced and dismissed. I could even see a scenario where, God forbid, he ends up dead. What I can’t see is a scenario whereby he’s completely cleared and everything is back to normal by the end. I’m not sure a return to that kind of normality is ever going to be possible, let alone in the space of one episode. As a result, regretfully, this is probably the beginning of the end for Ted as our main man.

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