Line of Duty makes an explosive return with eight unanswered questions — we analyse the BBC blockbuster


POLICE thriller Line Of Duty made an explosive return – with a spectacular hijack, a shocking twist and a plot more tangled than Christmas tree lights.

The fifth series of the hit BBC drama sees anti-corruption unit AC-12 tackle a drugs gang who have killed a string of officers, and try to identify “H”, the insider who is in league with the baddies. Duty calls for Rod McPhee, who suggests a few lines of enquiry.


The new series of Line of Duty got off to an explosive start in a dramatic shooting[/caption]

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Superintendent Ted Hastings played by Adrian Dunbar returns for series five of the cop drama

Is PC Jane Cafferty in league with the hijackers?

Suspicion that she might be dodgy fell on PC Cafferty the minute she halted the police convoy containing the heroin haul, and allowed it to be hijacked by gangsters.

And Cafferty, played by Sian Reese-Williams, was then miraculously spared execution when all her colleagues were gunned down.

As AC-12’s DI Kate Fleming (played by Vicky McClure) said: “The organised crime group didn’t look into a crystal ball.

“The hijack required inside information – anyone spared immediately becomes a person of interest.

We are starting to get a little suspicious of PC Cafferty played by Sian Reese-Williams

“It wasn’t just knowing the itinerary, the hijackers needed the convoy to stop.”

Cafferty raised even more suspicion by changing her story.

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Martin Compston is back as Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott[/caption]

Initially she said she had just been “lucky” to survive the deadly hijack. Later she admitted that she had actually been spared by gangster Lisa McQueen.

She said: “She didn’t want to leave my kids without a mum. I don’t know. But whatever the reason, she told the others that I was dead. She saved my life.”

Is Det Supt Alison Powell a criminal?

She is the top cop running Operation Peartree, an undercover investigation with her man DS John Corbett.

But is her unwillingness to share information with AC-12 a sign that DS Powell has something to hide? Possibly she is also in league with the criminal underworld.

She certainly gave short shrift to Kate and Steve, telling them: “AC-12 have stumbled on an extremely sensitive undercover operation.

“And now I need you all to stumble away.” Powell (played by Susan Vidler) is a mysterious, cold figure who has come from another force.

Susan Vidler plays Detective Superintendent Alison Powell

Initially she is keen to keep Corbett inside the gang, despite the criminals slaying several police officers.

She said: “Our operations are at a critical stage, best served by leaving our undercover officer in place.”

Only later does it emerge that Powell has no choice in the matter because she has lost contact with Corbett.

The fact that this situation has been allowed to continue for months raises suspicions that she is somehow involved.


Is Lisa McQueen a secret insider for the police?

It was a real shocker to discover Corbett was an undercover cop placed among the gang by DS Powell, but that does not rule out another cop also having infiltrated their ranks.

Certainly Lisa McQueen (played by Rochenda Sandall) is reluctant to carry out the gang’s dirtiest work.

That she spared PC Cafferty’s life in the bloody hijack suggests she is not entirely on board with their dark and violent schemes.

AC-12’s Steve seems to think McQueen could actually be one of the good guys. He said: “Maybe she couldn’t make contact without breaking cover, it makes sense.

Lisa McQueen played by Rochenda Sandall could be an undercover cop placed in the gang

“She couldn’t stop the hijack but the best she could do was limit the loss of life.”

Even gang leader Corbett senses Lisa is not fully committed to their cause.

He told her: “I look at you and there’s a little voice telling me she’s soft, she’s a bottler, she’ll drag us all down. That little voice is going to start telling me I’ve given you enough second chances.”

If Lisa really is undercover, AC-12 had better get to her fast.

Have they really found the identity of the mysterious H?

The mystery surrounding the identity of “H” – the very senior officer who is feeding information to undesirable elements – rumbles on.

In series four, all the clues pointed to H being ACC Derek Hilton, who appeared to shoot himself. But was it really his finger on the trigger?

AC-12’s PC Bindra admitted she was in league with Hilton. But that does not necessarily mean he is H.

Supt Ted Hastings (left, played by Adrian Dunbar) seems keen to link H to Hilton – maybe because his surname also begins with an H. He said: “Maneet’s confession has put the final nail in Hilton’s coffin.

Ted Hastings seems keen to link H to Hilton

“He was the senior officer running the show for organised crime. Killing himself was the only decent thing that man ever did.”

But Kate is not convinced. Last night saw a tense exchange of glances between the AC-12 lot.

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Detective Sergeant Kate Fleming played by Vicky McClure[/caption]

Steve believes the undercover cop who has infiltrated the gang can prove that what Hastings is claiming is true.

But, as Kate concludes: “Or prove him wrong… ”

Has Corbett really turned to the dark side?

The biggest bombshell of last night’s show was the revelation that baddie John Corbett was actually an undercover copper who had infiltrated the gang. But in a further twist, he appears to have gone rogue.

So far it is not clear why DS Corbett (played by Stephen Graham) lost contact with his police bosses, and whether he has gone bad or this is just his way of getting deeper into the underworld.

Corbett appears to be leading most of the gang’s criminal activity

When Hastings threatens to shut down Operation Peartree, which Corbett was a part of, DS Powell admits they lost touch with him months ago.

She said: “We can’t be certain what’s happened – it’s a deep cover operation. He may still be acquiring intelligence on organised criminal activity.”

Corbett certainly seems to be leading most of the criminal activity. He could believe it is collateral damage in a bigger fight against organised crime.

Who is Balaclava Man?

All the evidence points towards cop Corbett being Balaclava Man – the sinister criminal who appeared in the previous series of Line Of Duty.

It was certainly his headgear of choice during last night’s dramatic hijack. But everyone looks the same in a balaclava, so AC-12 could be looking for more than one person.

Is Corbett the criminal who appeared in a balaclava in the previous series of Line Of Duty

It might even be Balaclava Woman, in which case Lisa McQueen could be a far more ruthless gangster than she first appears to be.

Quickly establishing who they are looking for will help police shut down the gang by nabbing a key player. But as things stand they are no closer to unmasking the balaclava baddie.

Verdict — by Rod McPhee

FROM the sensational opening to the final shocking twist, Line Of Duty had us gripped.

How we have missed the high-octane action scenes and trademark mind-bending plots from writer Jed Mercurio.

Stephen Graham is an inspired choice of casting as Corbett. Few actors are skilled enough to leave us uncertain as to whether they are the hero or the villain of the piece.

And it’s so good to be reunited with AC-12’s Arnott, Fleming and Hastings – with the added intrigue that one of them might be a baddie.

The show is now in its fifth series but there is no sign of these corrupt cop hunters running out of steam.

Line Of Duty is still the hottest thriller on TV.

Is Maneet Bindra dead? If not, what is she up to?

In a gruesome climax to last night’s opener, PC Bindra had her throat cut and was left for dead by the waterside.

But is she really a goner?

When it comes to scriptwriter Jed Mercurio, seeing is not always believing, and storyline shockers and surprises are his stock in trade.

Maneet Bindra is played by Maya Sondhi


In a shocking climax to the first episode Maneet was attacked[/caption]

If she has survived the attack, Maneet (played by Maya Sondhi) could feed valuable information back to police about the criminal gang – who their members are and where they operate from.

However, given that in the previous series she betrayed her AC-12 colleagues by passing on info to bent copper ACC Hilton, they might not believe anything she says…

Could jailed Roz Huntley and Jimmy Lakewell hold the key?

One theory is that bent copper Roz Huntley and lawyer Jimmy Lakewell, who are both languishing behind bars, hold the key to the investigation.

They were found to be linked to the criminal gang in series four – particularly Lakewell (played by Patrick Baladi), who spoke of his connection to and fear of the “balaclava men”.

He also seemed to know that ACC Hilton was not “H”.

He told DS Arnott (Martin Compston): “You think Hilton’s top dog? How come he bricks it every time a new body’s found?” It remains to be seen just how much Roz, below, (played by Thandie Newton) is aware of.

Detective Chief Inspector Roz Huntley is played by Thandie Newton

Her husband Nick (Lee Ingleby) also came under suspicion in the last series. All three of them could be up to their necks in it.

And that’s before we even consider DC Jamie Desford (Royce Pierreson) who tried to kidnap Lakewell and take him to his criminal masters.

Could Desford even make a shock reappearance in this series… and maybe provide AC-12 with crucial information?


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