Line Of Duty series 2 episode 5 review

Review Louisa Mellor 12 Mar 2014 - 22:00

It’s the penultimate episode of this superlative crime series and it’s all change on the theory front…

This review contains spoilers.

Line Of Duty’s second run has been a series of optical illusions. You know the ones: duck is rabbit, Marilyn Monroe is Albert Einstein, young woman looking away is old lady in headscarf, innocent victim is scheming villain… This week’s final shot of Denton sipping Chablis and watching the news of Dryden’s arrest was a page from a Magic Eye book. Let your eyes defocus and out of ‘innocent woman with wine’ looms a cackling she-devil with horns, tail, and glossy fringe. We’ve all been taken in. It was her! Wasn’t it?

That rather depends on the nature of the ‘it’. Was Denton’s expression the look of someone in their rightful place watching justice carried out, or someone gloating over a plan coming together? Did she take revenge on her arrogant, grimy sod of a lover, the man responsible for her getting rid of a cat and a foetus, by framing him for Carly Kirk’s murder or the ambush or both? Was it Denton who killed and mutilated Kirk, and have we, like Arnott and Fleming, been taken in by her performance?

Pinning down the possibilities after episode five is our hardest task yet. A murmuration of ‘whys’, ‘buts’ and question marks swoop around confusing any attempt to straighten the facts. The least headache-inducing option is to pull over to the slow lane, and wait patiently for the finale to find out who did what and why.

There’s plenty more to talk about besides, not least Adrian Dunbar’s affecting performance as Ted Hastings, the one honest copper in the force. Hastings’ heavy-hearted approval of Dryden’s arrest was a moment of real pathos. By giving the nod, Ted realised he was dissolving his chance of reconciliation with his wife, but, in his words, he “had to do the right thing”. Willing Hastings to do just that this week was proof of something else Jed Mercurio and his cast have got right this series; I don’t just want to know what happens in Line Of Duty, I care about it.

The reappearance of Neil Morrissey as Nige Morton this week was a treat thrown out to series one viewers. By leaking Dryden’s speeding offence to the press in the first place, Morton has unwittingly played a substantial role in this series. His having agreed to paint the now-dead Cole (Georgia’s killer would have been one thread too many to be tied up by next week’s finale) as “The Caddy” is also more significant than Dot would have him believe. Morton’s lie enables Cottan to continue along his crooked path. How crooked he really is this series, we’re yet to discover.

Dot's not alone. With just an hour of storytelling to go, there are question marks hovering over a number of heads, Cottan’s, Dryden’s, Denton’s… any more takers?

Whatever unfurls next week, we can all agree now that innocent isn’t quite the word to describe attempted-murderer DI Denton. Lindsay’s gruesome, methodical torture of Prasad may have been tit for tat but it showed her once again to be capable of extreme pragmatic violence and manipulation. Hawes was as good as ever in her broken, defeated state at Denton’s mother’s now-empty deathbed, but at this stage in the ‘is she a psychopath’ debate, we’re left asking whether that too was a performance.

Props also to Mark Bonnar for his transformation from belligerence to breakdown in Dryden’s closing police interview. The line of the episode though, goes to Vicky McClure for the same scene’s drily delivered, “Well I’m not an old perv so you’ll have to tell me”.

Thematically, Dryden’s insistence on being “an honest man” is Line Of Duty’s crux. We heard the same from Tony Gates in series one, and “I’m telling the truth” has been Denton’s refrain since episode one. In its winding journey to the truth, Line Of Duty has explored gradations of deception, the no-man’s land between honesty and deceit. Everybody lies to some extent, it tells us, even moral stalwarts like Ted Hastings. Crucially, villains don’t lie only to their accusers, but also to themselves. They dissemble, justify and mitigate because nobody, not even the worst of us, really wants to believe that we’re bad.

Increasingly, Arnott’s speech to Fleming a fortnight ago that “maybe there are people who always tell the truth and people who always lie, but the rest of us choose our moments” has emerged as the key to this series. Denton and Dryden can’t both be telling the truth, and next week, with any luck, we’ll find out precisely which moments they chose for honesty and deception.

Read Louisa’s review of the previous episode, here.

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. I think Dryden is guilty of having under age sex and is corrupt, but I don't think that he killed the girl and Lynsey has bunny boiler oozing out of her pores.

Great review, thanks for that. The point with this plot is that no officer is totally clean, all of them are compromised to a certain extent which opens so many possibilities that is impossible to even take a guess.

Hastings - squeaky clean? I don't think so....what is the issue between him and his wife? They alluded to money deceit but somehow I think she would have either forgiven him for that by now or put a line under their marriage and cut I wonder if there is something more to it otherwise why is she still in contact and why would a cruise help to heal the wound... surely that's rubbing salt in it if it was purely financial problems that caused the rift?

I think Kate is going to be revealed as the Caddy, she is into everything that has happened. Tommy identifies the Caddy as being "of one us since he was a wee laddie" but if you listen closely it sounds like "since she was a wee laddie" and Kate did look very boyish in series 1.

-She was having an affair with Jane Akers' husband, clearly having the means and opportunity to fit the tracker to the car. She was called on the night by Jane too. The husband is probably involved too.

-She recused herself from the early investigation but knew the hospital where Tommy was being treated and the nurse who was blackmailed.

-Denton is unaware of Kate's role until she steals her phone, it becomes clear to her that whoever is controlling her is involved with Kate.

-She finds the body of Carly Kirk, noticing a slight dip in the garage floor. Important for implicating Dryden as they already have staged the meeting and car photos. Carly needs to be brought into the case for the trap to spring

-She procures the flash drives from Richard Akers and she finds the phone links that corroborate Denton's affair.

-She meets Denton several times in jail and orchestrate the interview at police headquarters, where Denton can be recovered in transit.

-She also identifies Prasad and Cole with a bit of help from Carly's foster parents. She knows the DNA evidence was missing and it was likely Prasad could be identified. She spots Carly on CCTV very quickly.

Prasad, Cole and Denton are all victims of blackmail. Dot might also be being blackmailed with his job to make the Caddy a decease officer.

Kate's not the Caddy.

Remember the ending of the last episode of series 1?

Tommy says the line "Best caddy I ever had" and he says it to the Caddy.

One particularly glaring plot hole in this episode: how did Denton escape from the locked boot of a car in 20 seconds?

I'm sure Dot's the caddy - didn't we know that by end of series one? Which is why he asked Nige to say Cole was known as the caddy. Whether that's because he is corrupt or he wants to avoid taint because he has changed his ways I'm not sure.

There are more twists and turns in this series than Spaghetti junction Cant wait for the final part next week

I didn't even know there was a second season. I saw the first on Hulu a year ago. Gonna see where I can catch up on this.

In a lot of cars you can access the clip that holds the back seat up from the boot, really simple

Maybe he's not - but I'm assuming she is rightly angry that he spent HER life savings too, possibly without asking, on some kind of property scam / Irish price collapse venture.

A lot of people haven't seen S1 and are blissfully unaware of this (although I'd argue by tonight it was obvious whether you'd seen it or not...)

"Props also to Mark Bonnar for his transformation from belligerence to breakdown" true but I can't help thinking of him as Mr Sanny Van Man on Phoneshop and nothing else...

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