Thursday evening TV viewing will take a long time to get back into top gear after the dramatic and explosive finale to BBC2’s gripping police drama Line of Duty, a sure-fire winner when the awards are handed out, writes Tony Spittles
But for those who missed the clues, or want to review the evidence again, help is at hand with the third series now out on DVD on RLJ Entertainment’s Acorn label.
The two-disc set, priced £24.99, also includes filmographies of the actors, picture galleries and behind-the-scenes insights into this tightly written and acted whodunit that kept fans old and new on the edge of their seats for six weeks.
Writer Jed Mercurio’s multi-strand story centred on AC-12’s anti-corruption team’s probe into child abuse allegations involving former police officers, had nods to the disgraced Jimmy Savile, to Operation Yewtree and police cover-ups.
A top-notch cast excels throughout. Daniel Mays was Sgt Danny Waldron, leader of a police armed response unit, which hit the ground running with the fatal shooting of a criminal suspect.
Danny and his team claim they acted in self-defence, but AC-12, led by Supt Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar looking every inch the police chief you want when things are going wrong), gather evidence that suggests that this was a deliberate killing. Under interview, Danny confidently rebuts all of AC-12’s accusations that he acted unlawfully, so DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) is sent undercover into Danny’s team to find out more.
Ingratiating herself to her new colleagues, Kate is quick to identify tensions and conflict between Danny and his team. But when Kate’s own conduct comes under scrutiny she finds herself sidelined from an armed drugs raid that goes very badly wrong.
The police death toll continued with the murder made to look like suicide of a fellow team member while the surprise and unannounced return to duty of “disgraced” DI Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes) proved short-lived as she was dispatched at close quarters by “dodgy” ‘Dot’ Cottan (Craig Parkinson), alias ‘The Caddy’ - a corrupt detective embedded in the force acting a fixer for organised crime.
With his cover blown, the end was in sight but not before he left an important interview in explosive fashion with his phone text -- Urgent- Exit-Required -- something to rival the iconic phrase “Fire up the Quattro” from the retro police drama Life on Mars.
Amid all this “police watching the police watching the police” was Supt Hastings trying to find the truth buried in an intricate network of lies and deceits that entwine others in the team - whether it’s earnest DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) or slippery legal adviser Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker) while there’s no peace for retired head of the police’s Vice Squad, Supt Patrick Fairbank (George Costigan) whose fate is revealed in the closing credits.
The line-up for series four has yet to be finalised, but it’s to be hoped that it will see a re-appearance of resourceful WPc Bindra Maneet (May Sondhi who played Shazia in Citizen Khan) who was able to multi-task with a babe in arms as well as pass on vital information about ‘The Caddy.’
In the meantime, fans can revisit all the police drama to date in a six-disc set covering more than 18 hours from the first three series, which is also out on RLJ Entertainment’s Acorn label at £39.99.