‘Line of Duty’ series 5 finale review: We finally reach the ultimate reveal – but heavens, it takes an age to get there

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Jed Mercurio likes to lull his viewers right into a false sense of security, after which cosh them over the top with a surprising reveal. However within the exceedingly talky, feature-length remaining episode of Line of Duty’s fifth collection, he delivers the blow with a feather duster fairly than a truncheon.

Talky, actually, is an understatement. This can be a chin-wagger for the ages, and although the present – which has shattered its earlier viewing data this yr – wraps up most of its free ends, it does so with extreme leisureliness. 

The last word reveal is that AC-12 chief Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) is harmless of the corruption fees in opposition to him – particularly the accusation that he’s felony mastermind “H”. Evil lawyer (has there ever been a non-evil one on a police procedural?) Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker) was orchestrating an enormous stitch-up in opposition to him the complete time. 

However heavens, it takes an age to succeed in the pay-off. Alongside the way in which, we should sit sweating with Hastings as, minute by minute, he’s grilled by dead-eyed careerist detective Patricia Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin). Hardcore followers could have appreciated the slow-burn tempo after an action-heavy collection. Anybody rubbing their fingers in anticipation of an explosive finale, although, could also be underwhelmed by the emphasis on banter over blazing bullets. 

With one eye maybe on viewers who – tut, tut – haven’t been fully paying consideration, taking notes and so on, Mercurio has Carmichael rehash all of the proof in opposition to Hastings. The £50Ok within the massive brown envelope, that laptop computer wiped at a handy second (he claims it contained his porn stash), his murky previous serving with the RUC in Northern Eire and, specifically, his questionable friendship with a widowed IRA informant. 

He sighs and sweats. She appears to be like so very cross. Maybe the intention is to permit two formidable performers go face to face. However there isn’t a lot antagonistic chemistry. Dunbar and Maxwell Martin appear to be performing previous each other. 

What momentum the 84-minute episode does possess is courtesy of the ever reliable DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston). They’ve gone again to Liverpool for a repeat quizzing of the spouse of useless undercover copper John Corbett. Hastings stands accused of getting Corbett executed by leaking his undercover standing – a part of his evil machinations because the all-powerful “H”. 

Helpfully, Corbett’s spouse caves in and furnishes essential proof that can clear Hastings’s identify. And simply in time, too. Again on the interrogation room, DNA knowledge (faked by Biggeloe) is produced that connects Hastings to Corbett, although he insists they’ve by no means met. 

Recreation, set and match Carmichael – till Fleming and Arnott cost in with a secret recording saved by Corbett (and handed over by his spouse). Right here, we hear Biggeloe misidentify Hastings as the person who bought out Corbett’s mom – sure, the IRA informant – to paramilitaries again in Belfast within the Eighties. It’s all a part of her plot to weaponise Corbett, and use him to take down probably the most trustworthy cop on the pressure and a thorn within the flank of organised crime. 

Biggeloe, it transpires, went over to the felony darkish aspect whereas working as a defence lawyer – a clue she dropped beforehand. In fact, eradicating Hastings would even be a lift to senior police administration made to look incompetent by his unit’s relentless pursuit of rotten apples. Everybody can be a winner (except for pesky Hastings and AC-12).

In direction of the tip, there’s lastly some motion. Certainly one of Carmichael’s officers seems to be an evil secret ninja murderer working for the dangerous guys, and gorily stabs potential informant Biggeloe via the hand within the woman’s bathroom. 

But Biggeloe is in the end only a minor participant, and the seek for “H” is confirmed to be ongoing as Fleming and Arnott, reviewing the dying Dot Cottan’s remaining message from collection three, work out that there are literally 4 evil police overlords pulling the strings. 

As he bled out, Cottan spelt “dot, dot, dot, dot” in Morse code. His remaining utterance of “H” was not an preliminary however a clue (“H” in Morse code is 4 dots). “4 dots… 4 police employees in league with organised crime.” 

Three, we’re reminded, have been recognized in earlier collection. Who’s quantity 4? Hastings appears to be like perturbed. However is {that a} involved expression, or the frozen options of – cue potential Mercurio twist – a responsible man?

Line of Responsibility could have wended its technique to a chatty conclusion this yr. However with a sixth collection already green-lit, it’s clear there’s nonetheless a complete lot of thriller left to unpick. 

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