With the fourth episode of the British police corruption drama “Line of Duty” having dropped Sunday, 21 April 2019, we are more than half way through the fifth series. For the benefit of American readers, the British definition of the word ‘series’ is being used.
Each episode, from the beginning of the first series to where we are in the current one, always raises more questions than it answers them.
Brief Episode Synopsis
Tensions continue to rise in the OCG (Organised Crime Group) following events at Eastfield. With troubling questions hanging over the mysteriously elusive H, suspicions revolving around that identity mount among officers within the AC-12 team.
Did Superintendent Ted Hastings give the kill order?
In one of the most dramatic endings to an episode thus far, undercover police sergeant John Corbett (Stephen Graham) is killed. Lying in an increasingly growing pool of his own blood, the undercover officer’s throat is cut open. The dichotomy of Lisa McQueen’s (Rochenda Sandall) situation becomes apparent.
Even though McQueen snarls at the dying Corbett, “You’re a rat, John,” she is seen moments later trying to prevent her emotions taking over. Was McQueen in love with Corbett? Her reaction to Corbett’s death indicates she does or rather did. Even though Graham’s character is the latest Line of Duty guest star to see his character snuffed, it will be by no means the last time we see such an occurrence.
The need for Corbett’s death is questionable. How did McQueen know Corbett was undercover? Did she figure it out herself or did Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) tell her? Why, if she did not know, was there a need to kill him?
We should not forget the superintendent took over when the cybercrimes expert Amanda Yoa (Rosa Escoda) was assisting the AC-12 team was messaging Corbett and McQueen. Under the pretence of being ‘H,’ Yoa was about to give the OCG instructions. Note the glances DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) shoot each other when Hastings insists on taking the chair. These are perplexing expressions.
Is Hastings “definately” H?
During the John Strickland-directed third episode of this current series, we saw Corbett and McQueen receive instructions pertaining to the raid on the Eastfield police facility via an instant messaging service from a senior OCG boss. Assumptions are made this senior crime boss is ‘H.’ One of the lines he wrote is “Eastfield depot is definately high risk.”
In this fourth episode, the senior police officer uses the same spelling of ‘definitely’ that can be seen on the laptop screen during the previous instalment. The misspelling of ‘definitely’ is a common one; therefore, it is not necessarily an indication of Hastings being ‘H.’
With Yoa’s assistance, the AC-12 anti-police corruption unit can now mimic the conversational style ‘H’ employs. Hastings could be simply mimicking ‘H’ when he writes, “I can definately pull the right strings” but the part of the computer screen displaying examples of H’s conversational style does not have one that includes this misspelling. While there could be references to this spelling elsewhere on the computer screen, unseen by television viewers, it is questionable.
Why, if Hastings is ‘H,’ has he allowed Corbett to stay alive so long? The superintendent has known Corbett was an undercover since the first episode during this current series. Why has Hastings allowed Corbett to remain embedded? Would it reveal Hastings’ involvement in OCG? Does the superintendent think his cover is about to go sideways with either Fleming and or Arnott? These questions are only the tip of the iceberg. Will we, with only two more episodes in the current series remaining, discover who ‘H’ is?
Is Ted’s visit to Lee Banks significant to the OCG, the attack on his wife or both?
During this latest episode, Ted pays a brief visit to Lee Banks (Alastair Natkiel). Blackthorn Prison, the only corrections facility depicted in the Jed Mercurio-created series, must be overflowing with corrupt former police officers.
Neither Fleming nor Arnott is aware of Hastings going to the prison. Why is this? Why does the superintendent feel he needs to keep his subordinates in the dark? Who is driving Hastings?
The tone Hastings uses to speak with Banks will not go unnoticed by series fans. “Sit down, fella. This b*****d’s got a thing or two to say to you. Trust me – you’ll be glad you did,” Hastings tells Banks. It is not the same tone he uses when speaking with his subordinates or other people he has met. Of course, Banks is a convicted criminal. What information does the superintendent have Lee might find useful? Unfortunately, much of the visit is off screen. As a result of being off-camera, we do not know what is said between the two men. What is so important that brought Hastings to Blackthorn Prison? Why keep it from Fleming and Arnott?
Who is Anne-Marie?
Who is Anne-Marie? Anne-Marie McGillis died in 1989. She was married to Anthony Patrick McGillis. He died five years before his wife, in 1984. Who does this information connect with Corbett?
Even though the people responsible for carrying out Operation Peartree believed they had covered all the bases removing information from police databases, they overlooked Corbett’s fingerprints from when he first joined the police force. All applicants are required to provide their fingerprints when applying to join a police force as a matter of course. As a result of gaining access to Corbett’s flat, the AC-12 team has now gained tangible evidence they can use to move the case forward. With Corbett’s DNA and fingerprints, Fleming and Arnott instruct team members to dig a little deeper on the undercover officer and his personal history.
In 1989, when the now undercover police officer was 10-years-old, he was adopted by the Corbett family. Corbett’s adoptive mother, before her marriage, was a McGillis. PC Tatleen Sohota (Taj Atwal) discovers Corbett’s birth name, before his adoption, was John McGillis. As a result, the police constable suggests his adoptive mother may have been a relative to his birth mother.
The mystery of Anne-Marie, her connection to Corbett and her death deepens when the undercover officer places a call to his wife, Steph Corbett (Amy De Bhrún). When she tells Corbett Fleming and Arnott asked questions about Northern Ireland and his family connections over there, he responds by asking, “What’s this all about? Do they know about Anne-Marie?”