The BBC brought the fifth series of the Jed Mercurio created and written anti-police corruption drama to a close Sunday, 5 May 2019 with the six episode.
Brief Episode Synopsis: Line of Fire – S5.E.6. “Episode Six”
With long-buried secrets uncovered, the search of the mysteriously elusive H reaches its climax.
SPOILERS ALERT: If you have yet to watch this episode, please feel free to stop reading at this point in the article. Continue reading after you watch the episode.
Even though there is no firm date for the sixth series yet confirmed, with numerous questions answered during the fifth series finale, not all questions have been successfully addressed.
Did you see the video of DS Matthew Cottan’s (Craig Parkinson) ‘death bed’ confession? Did you see what he was doing with his fingers? If you were not paying attention, there is a good chance you would not have seen it. If it were not for Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), no one would have given it a second thought.
A basic understanding of Morse Code would tell you four ‘dots’ in quick succession is representative of the letter H. This suggests Cottan was one of four highly ranked corrupt police officers. With the conclusion of the fifth series, we now know Cottan, ACC Derek Hilton (Paul Higgins) and Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker) constitute three of the four corrupt officers. What is the likelihood the fourth member of the quartet is Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar)?
Despite Hastings’s position within AC-12 would certainly have advantages for the OCG, the chief has too many principles. He could never be a bent copper like Cottan, Hilton and Biggeloe. But then, that could be what series creator and writer Mercurio wants television viewers to think.
At the end of series five’s penultimate episode, it looks like Detective Chief Superintendent Patricia Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin) has Hastings’s by the short and curlies. Much of the evidence Carmichael is staking her case against Hastings on is Biggeloe’s doing. Despite this, his explanations for his meeting with imprisoned OCG member Lee Banks (Alastair Natkiel) and the reason for him disposing of the laptop does not appear kosher.
Who is the mysteriously elusive H?
Who is the mysteriously elusive H? We have not been able to identify H because he or she does not exist. Every good drama takes up down the rabbit hole to mislead viewers. It helps build suspense and intrigue. We are waiting to discover the identity of this mysterious figure, all the time, the series creator and writer is probably laughing at us as he eats his morning Weetabix.
Consider for a moment, when Detective Inspector Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) was pressing the dying Cottan for information pertaining to the OCG, she was looking for a name rather than a number. Because AC-12 were operating under the assumption ‘H’ is the codename, the hand movement was completely missed. It was not until Arnott reexamined the video did it occur to anyone that it was a clue to indicate the existence of four corrupt officers rather than the identity of a single individual.
Is Hastings the fourth bent copper?
Do you think Hastings could be the fourth corrupt high-ranking police officer in the quartet? It’s “definately” a possibility. While his explanation of the misspelling for the word ‘definitely’ as “definately” is for the most part at least plausible, the superintendent’s suspicious behaviour raises many questions. Hastings’ studious efforts to familiarise himself with how OCG members communicate must have been done off-camera because there are no scenes during the fifth series featuring the character doing this. Consequently, television audience members must determine for themselves whether they are willing to believe the superintendent.
Did Hastings deliberately compromise John Corbett’s (Stephen Graham) cover within the OCG?
We know the superintendent visited Banks in Blackthorn Prison because we saw the beginning of the meeting on screen. Even though we did not see much of the conversation Hastings and Banks engaged in during the visit, we do know Blackthorn Prison is the origin point for the tip-off. As a result, it must have been during there off-camera that Hastings divulged Corbett’s identity as an undercover police officer.
Lisa McQueen (Rochenda Sandall) smelled a ‘rat’ in the camp. She apparently deliberately set up a pretend meeting with ‘H’ to confirm her suspicions. OCG had an operative working at the shopping centre as a security guard. Other than Corbett, the only other person that knew of the meet was McQueen herself. Consequently, McQueen learned her suspicions of Corbett were correct.
Was Hastings calling McQueen?
During this series’ first episode we saw a scene were McQueen was ignoring her cell phone. She clearly had no interest in speaking with the individual calling her number. The scene cuts to one of Hastings hanging up his own cell phone.
Just because a scene cuts from a person not answering a phone call t another individual hanging up on a call, it does not mean that the person hanging up was the one placing the call to the first person we saw. This is classic misdirection. Mercurio is playing tricks with his audience. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have seen this for what it was.
When placed under arrest, Hastings was required to turn over all communication devices. If the superintendent had attempted to call McQueen, the people analysing his devises would have picked up on it immediately.
Is McQueen an undercover police officer?
From the moment McQueen appears on screen during the fifth series premiere, I personally was hoping she was one of the good guys working to bring down the OCG.
Unfortunately, McQueen is not an undercover police officer. She is merely a criminal with a conscience. McQueen’s reaction to Corbett’s killing proves she has a conscience.
How was Biggeloe’s involvement revealed?
Biggeloe manipulates Corbett into thinking Hastings was H. The OCG would have benefited greatly with the superintendent out of the picture. AC-12 would become history. Biggeloe sent Corbett chasing after a lie. The OCG has a bent copper within AC-3. PS Tina Tranter (Natalie Gavin) attempts to kill Biggeloe.
While we know there will be a sixth series to Line of Duty, we do not yet know a date. It could be next year. With Hastings still in charge of AC-12 at the end of series five, he will likely return for the next series.