LINE OF DUTY: cop-on-cop action TV procedural that demands analysis

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not actually new but I only just binge-scovered it on netflix (overlooked ftb boring name i guess): caught up w/s1/2 since sunday, started s3 late yesterday, will get to s4 in next couple days no doubt

the anti-corruption ppl try to reign in the corrupt ppl, except who is which? and who will win? lots of things to enjoy, some things that bug me

SPOILERY NOTES FOLLOW, tracer i need yr input here
a: neil morrissey has (a) turned into cary grant kinda, and (b) shd give up comedy, he's good at serious sleazy drama!
b: it is great at shock developments (on sun i told myself "just one more ep b4 bed" and hence confronted self w/a home invasion and a throat-cutting)
c: it seems happy to bump off characters you assume will be around for a while
d: a couple of the are-they-aren't-they villains have been a bit swervy as plausible character types (i'm thinking dryden mainly)
e: lol they shd make a dexter-style tec series round denton, she solves crimes FROM PRISON on the days she's let out or something -- anyway she was terrific to spend time with, as a "who/what exactly is she?" kind of an invention you invest a lot of sympathy in and then omg
f: i'm hearing a bit of jumps-the-shark talk abt the most recent developments (hence girding my challopsy loins for the argts)
g: at heart it's *very* ACAB (even the good ones are arseholes, and treachery institutionally determined)

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 09:57 (two years ago) link

neil morrissey has (a) turned into cary grant kinda

tony orlandoni, cheese engineer (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:02 (two years ago) link

gonna need a bit more unpacking of that one

tony orlandoni, cheese engineer (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:03 (two years ago) link

looks strangely like him now, has evolved unexpected silverback gravitas, real name archibald leach

(it doesn't really work obv, since cary g was all abt the comedy even in serious roles, and neil is -- it turns out -- only tolerable when he isn't being one bit comical)

(but he does look like cg all of a sudden) (possibly bcz acting with a stick reveals his previously less-evident tallness)

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:10 (two years ago) link

i've been meaning to get around to watching this show for a while and i think this frankly startling news is the gonna be the tipping point

tony orlandoni, cheese engineer (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:13 (two years ago) link

is recommend, esp. in 5-hrs-at-a-time splurges :)

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:19 (two years ago) link

i've heard nothing but good things, but i think i might have spoiled a bit of it a while back by catching what appeared to be the unexpected death of a major character while i was channel-hopping :(

tony orlandoni, cheese engineer (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:22 (two years ago) link

no doubt this thread will not help much with that issue :|

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:23 (two years ago) link

i'm out, back asap

tony orlandoni, cheese engineer (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:26 (two years ago) link

is recommend, esp. in 5-hrs-at-a-time splurges :)

Yep, watched the last series back-to-back on a flight and it was excellent - though i am not sure i entirely got what Denton was up to in the grand scheme of things.

The finale was audaciously silly in a way that worked surprisingly well.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:28 (two years ago) link

sticking w/denton as a dexter-esque "the darkest villain is the best cop" invention

"maverick you say? hold my beer"

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 10:34 (two years ago) link

i'm hearing a bit of jumps-the-shark talk abt the most recent developments

Not so far!

I think the show has vaccinated itself against shark-jumping by being very silly indeed and almost always getting away with it. There's an amazing moment in the season three finale involving a text message that's Adam-West-Batman-level preposterous - you'll know it when you see it - but the way it plays out is quite fun and exciting.

When Doctor Who and other BBC shows go blockbuster, I tend to eyeroll - but this show seems unique its ability to be "gritty realistic" and also totally daft at the same time - the momentum always keeps you from questioning the story. It's almost Ian Fleming-like.

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 14:15 (two years ago) link

End of the last season seemed to be pretty shark jumping for various character interpersonal and behaviour reasons. But I'm lookiing at the new one anyway.

But the guy from forensics may be getting himself a little type cast.
& hope that Tandie's in throughout the season.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 14:21 (two years ago) link

it has some of the best queasily confrontational hostile interviewing i think i've ever watched -- where you really aren't sure who you want to root for, when both sides are quite compromised and also quite unpleasant ppl (or have anyway recently behaved unpleasantly)

and this seems to happen in nearly every episode! as if the somewhat ludicrous turns the story often takes are devised purely to engineer these confrontations (i mean, i kind of assume they are)

a couple of those involved are a bit too mask-like too often maybe

good work too with police computer systems: all horrible 90s design and typefaces, the opposite of CSI nonsense

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 14:29 (two years ago) link


mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 16:54 (two years ago) link

When do we get to talk about the ending of S4E1? That was preposterous (in a good way, like most of the rest of it, esp that text message moment mentioned upthread. Happy Valley it ain't).

Lindsay Denton is/was a fascinating character though. As are/were Nige and Dot and Dryden. I still love the bit at the end of S1 where someone was chopping Arnott's finger off in a vice and he was trying to arrest them for assaulting a police officer as they were doing it.

ailsa, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 17:26 (two years ago) link

i am still watching S3! (ep3 right now)

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 17:28 (two years ago) link

OMG the "truth and reconciliation" face off!!!

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 18:54 (two years ago) link

the guy who plays matthew "dot" cottan is probably my least favourite main actor

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 20:11 (two years ago) link

arnott increasingly reminds me lookwise of someone i know really well -- tho obviously not very like him in temperament

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 20:32 (two years ago) link


(i have just reached the operation yewtree reveal)

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 20:40 (two years ago) link

hastings is terrific

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 20:48 (two years ago) link

Yeah, I love Hastings.

ailsa, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 21:02 (two years ago) link

The Dale Roach/Rochdale "ha, doesn't he look like Cyril Smith", "oh, look, here's Jimmy Savile" bit was HI DERE LET US HIT YOU WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER

ailsa, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 21:02 (two years ago) link


sadly followed now by a v sad sledgehammer :(

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 21:16 (two years ago) link

one of the little things i like is ppl being interviewed constantly complaining abt the aggressive and hurtful tone being used

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 21:18 (two years ago) link

My favourite moments are when Fleming stands on the AC-12 balcony, and a SUSPICIOUS GLARE-OFF erupts between Kate and whoever's leaving the building.

Aside from that - the ending to the season four premiere suggests the new season will just be an extended game of exquisite corpse

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 21:48 (two years ago) link


I dunno, it might be fun to subvert the "hi, we have a new lead actor, OH LOOK THEY'RE DEAD" trope.

ailsa, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 21:54 (two years ago) link


I assumed they were deliberately leading you into thinking they'd pulled the same trick as last time, until the very last second. I guess we'll find out next week...

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 21:58 (two years ago) link

ok lol i have just completed series 3

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 22:47 (two years ago) link

thinking of meetings where i'd have liked to have sent that text

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 22:54 (two years ago) link


Series 1-3 all killed off leading actors who were meant to have prominent roles really early on - Gina McKee in S1 (to be fair, she lasted until episode 2), that lass from Call the Midwife that went out the window in S2, then Daniel Mays in S3. It's totally a thing, so much so that we were taking bets as to who was going to bite it by the end.

ailsa, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 23:02 (two years ago) link

In fact, did they not off Will Mellor quite early on last year as well?

ailsa, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 23:04 (two years ago) link

yes i had spotted this trend and am unlikely to be totally startled by its early resumption in s4

mutton-chops guy playing bowls has needed arresting since he was bob in RITA, SUE AND BOB TOO (1987)

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 23:08 (two years ago) link

He was a nice bloke in Happy Valley though iirc.

ailsa, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 23:12 (two years ago) link

Although we've been cheated out of a good Neil Morrissey death scene

Personally I fear for Hastings this year

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 23:13 (two years ago) link

His replacement will be Zombie Denton, the best copper in history

mark s, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 23:16 (two years ago) link

I think I mentioned elsewhere how last year there were loads of folk on Twitter going "OMG IT WAS A TRUE STORY" just because they did they "Nige retired on a full pension, Kate was given a medal of honour" type summary over the credits, people took that to be what actually happened to real people rather than a lazy plot device.

btw, since Kate went full-on action hero and got herself a medal at a big showy ceremony, how come she still gets to go undercover as a mystery secondee called Kate and no-one ever still knows who she is?

ailsa, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 23:30 (two years ago) link

i liked the end summaries in the earlier series: they were p much "wrong person is jailed, corrupt cops still at large and in charge, everything is fucked and getting worse"

mark s, Thursday, 30 March 2017 10:36 (two years ago) link

ok i am up to speed lol

i worry a bit abt banging my own head like that on my kitchen top

mark s, Friday, 31 March 2017 20:42 (two years ago) link

e1 s4 was not on the whole a good episode

mark s, Friday, 31 March 2017 20:47 (two years ago) link

it's been a big year for kitchentop headbang deaths (see also search party)

i'm pretty sure that, unless you bull charge your kitchen top from fifty feet away, you're unlikely to injure yourself more than a mild boink

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 31 March 2017 22:09 (two years ago) link

i enjoyed the first episode of the news season, btw

although yes it does seem like the show is resting on its tropes for the first time

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 31 March 2017 22:11 (two years ago) link

i am not going to stop watching

mark s, Friday, 31 March 2017 22:15 (two years ago) link

neil morrissey very much not cary grant in one important respect: not handsome

||||||||, Friday, 31 March 2017 22:20 (two years ago) link

come on they're basically twins

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 31 March 2017 22:29 (two years ago) link


Trope subverted! (though still managed to kill off a potentially major character, just not the one we were expecting)

Thandie was fair compos mentis for someone who had just survived a fairly major bump to the head though, eh?

ailsa, Monday, 3 April 2017 13:02 (two years ago) link

I can't believe that every inch of that evidence room isn't covered by CCTV

nate woolls, Monday, 3 April 2017 13:03 (two years ago) link

Yeah, that was kind of ridiculous. Also can't believe Steve's being considered for promotion after all the fuck-ups in the Denton case, let alone the fact he never spotted Dot being shifty for three years.

ailsa, Monday, 3 April 2017 13:19 (two years ago) link


ailsa, Sunday, 9 April 2017 21:01 (two years ago) link

I won't have any of that talk in here, fella

kinder, Monday, 6 May 2019 06:56 (four months ago) link

crap that the 'smoking gun' in the end was a conveniently recorded conversation between Gill and JC laying out the framing of Ted.

probably the most disappointing bit of the whole series.

hoping that in s6 they just never mention the morse code thing again.

kinder, Monday, 6 May 2019 06:57 (four months ago) link

and it's still not clear if/how the ocg had someone independently nicknamed H involved, from the start, or did Corbett start referring to an 'H' as top dog and it caught on?

kinder, Monday, 6 May 2019 06:59 (four months ago) link

I also have a problem with the idea that Ted’s debts and the fact he was interviewed over a missing woman wouldn’t be reasons for him to not get his DV clearance!

gyac, Monday, 6 May 2019 08:26 (four months ago) link

Looks like we're going to have to wait until next season to find out whether Steve's able to get an erection :(

paolo, Monday, 6 May 2019 09:51 (four months ago) link

1: we don't know i'ts porn and on the whole LoD abides by chekhov's gun -- in the absence of an earlier hotel flagging of ted's cranked hog this is a made-up red herring*
*2: unless we can er enhance his laptop screen once more
3: per google, computer disposal does exist as a trade but it's usually called something like "equipment recycling"
4: i think morse is also a red herring: with his mouth dot was beginning to spell out "hang on, it's on the tips of my fingers", with his fingers he was tapping out "dot dot, dot, dot, poor dot thou art undone" and the actual message is signalled by SEMAPHORE, which judging by dot's sprawled position is an "E". possibly for EDWARD HASTINGS…

mark s, Monday, 6 May 2019 10:01 (four months ago) link

i feel the plan of "remove huggalo via a wee witch™ of a bent copper WITH A TINY KNIFE" was never going to be the flawlessly baffling crime we've come to expect from OCG

(tho i guess there aren't as many of OCG left to criminally mastermind these things)

(in ted's cranked hog terms we DID know corbett had some stuff hidden with his wife, and the idea it was a back-up recording by him of the plan he was embedded in doesn't tbh seem a total stretch?) (it's less stupid than all the dying declaration BUT IN CODE stuff)

mark s, Monday, 6 May 2019 10:09 (four months ago) link

a thing jed is good at -- or let's say consistent at -- is treating the dramatic reveal in an interview as more of a tactical pressure point than tying up the entire story in a pretty causal ribbon: the underlying truth i guess is that the police don't really usually know what happened, they rely more on psychology and bullying and traps than FACTS and LOGIC, and that anyone in the interview-room-of-infinite-reversals who can keep their nerve is not in the bad position they seem to be, especially if they themselves can still arrest and charge someone unexpected

s6: the duty soliicitor turns to the camera, gazing out at we the viewer, and puts us all away for watching this silly nonsense through six whole seasons

q1: did ted get his actual real son killed via the OCG guy in pokey? not yet clear
q2: where is the rest of the £500,000? not yet clear
q3: what was on ted's computer? (a website on how to obtain bubblewrap if yr in a hotel)

mark s, Monday, 6 May 2019 10:16 (four months ago) link

don't think John was Ted's son? he wasn't in the RUC for long enough iirc.
what 500k? Ted had 100k, kept half and presumably gave it to John's widow

was that redhead stabber just using her own initiative to get gill or had someone somewhere given the order?

kinder, Monday, 6 May 2019 10:29 (four months ago) link

Find the person signing off all the immunity agreements in exchange for no testimony of any actual use and you find H imo.
yep also this
they've had scores of ppl given immunity yet still know nothing

kinder, Monday, 6 May 2019 10:33 (four months ago) link

JC was his spiritual son

mark s, Monday, 6 May 2019 10:37 (four months ago) link

was that redhead stabber just using her own initiative to get gill or had someone somewhere given the order?

The latter I think, there’s a shot of her peering over the balcony at Steve and Kate arriving that suggests she’s a wrong’un

gyac, Monday, 6 May 2019 11:21 (four months ago) link

Oh dear. I thought that latter half of the finale was properly terrible!

Hasting's first half interview was pretty good, especially the Northern Ireland connection and his emotional breakdown at the reveal of John's true identity, but after that it went totally off the rails.

I thought Gill's 'Urgent Exit Required' was groan-inducing but then the bathroom stabbing... I burst out laughing. Let alone the morse code nonsense... mother of god, Jed! Desperately reverse engineering yet more material from an ancient scene that simply was not there before.

Funny and somewhat disheartening to see every half-decent internet fan theory coming true too... Hastings involved with John's parents, Gill as baddie, Ryan joins police etc etc.

brain (krakow), Monday, 6 May 2019 12:37 (four months ago) link

Sir! Steve's re-examined Jed's dying declaration and spotted something we all missed.

mick signals, Monday, 6 May 2019 13:38 (four months ago) link

really need steve to pan down to dot's (strangely long and narrow) feet at this point, i think that's where the message actually is

mark s, Monday, 6 May 2019 14:32 (four months ago) link

He was trying to indicate that the real ringleaders are officers Long and Narrow!

mick signals, Monday, 6 May 2019 14:51 (four months ago) link

maybe four dots is an if.... reference

Br. Des Shadows (NickB), Monday, 6 May 2019 20:09 (four months ago) link

This whole season felt like a penultimate episode does in a normal season- slightly unsatisfying calm before the storm of the final episode.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 6 May 2019 20:21 (four months ago) link

I wanted to go back and check this myself, but someone already did of course... Dot's dying declaration, different the two times we've seen it - notice Kate's line "first letter" vs "first two letters".

brain (krakow), Monday, 6 May 2019 21:25 (four months ago) link

yeah I thought I was going mad with that
why change that when they're trying to prove it WAS Hastings but showing that it's not H-A

Did Kate just flub the line and no-one noticed?

See also: Lindsay Denton's perfectly calm turning off the main road during the ambush vs shocked crazed car driving

kinder, Monday, 6 May 2019 21:35 (four months ago) link

That is confusing. Doubtless H doctored the footage to add a misleading second letter, wouldn't be surprised if there's a video editing software suite recovered from Ted's laptop. Which will also have had incriminating blobs of someone's frozen ejaculate planted on it.

Which actions on Corbett's part are explained by his having made a deal with Gill?

mick signals, Monday, 6 May 2019 22:34 (four months ago) link

genuine hatred of bent coppers I guess, and 'licence' to act on it, and specifying Ted.
also perhaps why the ocg called the top police contact 'h'

kinder, Monday, 6 May 2019 23:35 (four months ago) link

that streamable link is actually making me cross now. I want someone to question Jed M about it. 'document one in your folder' style.

kinder, Monday, 6 May 2019 23:37 (four months ago) link

wait does it mean H? or that there are 4 bent senior coppers? what?? this is as much of a stretch as dumbledore's "logic" for how many horcruxes there must be out there and what they likely are. just makes it up.

i will admit i yelped when they started reading gill bigs her rights. and again when the lift doors are closing on ted and kate & steve are like "just doing our job, sir" and he replies "no, you did much more than that" GET IN

Lil' Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 6 May 2019 23:57 (four months ago) link

xpost I'm on Jed's side for this one! I think it's a cool move to go back and secretly shift a goalpost within one of the foundational texts of the show.

mick signals, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 00:01 (four months ago) link

this interview with JM answers a few niggles

kinder, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 00:04 (four months ago) link

xp it's total gaslighting and tampering with evidence!

kinder, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 00:05 (four months ago) link

it's pronounced hercurio

mark s, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 08:54 (four months ago) link

That interview is really interesting/maddening! It's like bad Dungeon Mastering - keeping all the backstory to a campaign in your head, so it always makes internal sense, but meanwhile your players are all "???".

Also not really helped by the Michael Winner-esque direction for some of this season.

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 09:28 (four months ago) link

sadly michelle of eastenders is to blame for the direction :(

i like to think of jed totally tampering with the evidence of our own earlier eyes as his bold stance against the fan-service hegemony in modern pop culture

mark s, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 09:46 (four months ago) link

I can't fathom how they'd be that slack at continuity in re-filming such a crucial scene, so it has to be deliberate. Was the file doctored within Line Of Duty world and this will feature in S6, or is it Jed M tampering with evidence for his own crappy storyline needs like kinder says?

Another question I have is with the 'definately' thing... we were led to believe that the content of the encrypted conversations couldn't be accessed by the police, just the 'metadata', yet during Carmichael's interview with Ted he states that he had previously studied H's responses on the OCG's encrypted chat and hence was able to reproduce the spelling error for authenticity when he took the role of H. Carmichael accepted this explanation. Did I miss something?

brain (krakow), Tuesday, 7 May 2019 11:11 (four months ago) link

Carmichael accepted this explanation

i think this is overstating carmichael's response tbh, we know she wanted to pursue the case against ted but this was impatiently overruled

s6 shd feature a character like buffy's sister dawn -- who is suddenly just magically there as part of AC12 and everyone accepts them and forgets to remember that they weren't there in an earlier series and fails to realise they are THE KEY

mark s, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 11:18 (four months ago) link

line of doody

||||||||, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 11:46 (four months ago) link

xp I guess she could have planned to come back to it (the "definately" thing) later, true. Still bugs me though.

brain (krakow), Tuesday, 7 May 2019 11:47 (four months ago) link

yes I'm (again) confused by that. they seized Lisa's computer so had chat logs at that point, but I thought before that they hadn't.

kinder, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 12:01 (four months ago) link

surely a criminal psychologist or someone would've briefed ted in advance and would be able to confirm whether ted's mispelling was definately intentional or not

Br. Des Shadows (NickB), Tuesday, 7 May 2019 12:15 (four months ago) link

in conclusion, that's actually just how jed mercurio spells definitely

― mark s, Monday, April 22, 2019 12:32 AM (two weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

^^^but in the box ted shd have referred to this statistic, citing the discipline of FORENSIC ORTHOGRAPHY to explain why spelling it correctly wd actually be more suspicious

mark s, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 12:15 (four months ago) link

Speaking of intentional mistakes, DI Brandyce is no fool and that wasn't a pointless scene inserted to confuse the viewer: she originally indicated that the search was under the legal power of section 32, even though the correct legal power was section 18(5), as a way of sending a coded message.

mick signals, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 15:02 (four months ago) link

If only it had been Sections 10 and 66.

brain (krakow), Tuesday, 7 May 2019 15:27 (four months ago) link

would've been one in the eye for H

Br. Des Shadows (NickB), Tuesday, 7 May 2019 15:56 (four months ago) link


kinder, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 16:05 (four months ago) link


Lil' Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 7 May 2019 16:05 (four months ago) link

lol just put on a cbeebies bedtime story on the iplayer and the first two are Anna Maxwell Martin and Stephen Graham

kinder, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 16:50 (four months ago) link

'poor old Edward, sad and all alone' says John Corbett

kinder, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 16:51 (four months ago) link

this season should have been told from the perspective of AC-3, we have a couple of episodes of laddering + bantz and then they start to investigate *ANOTHER ANTI-CORRUPTION SQUAD*

seandalai, Tuesday, 7 May 2019 17:51 (four months ago) link

one month passes...

There's only one thing I care about...

chap, Wednesday, 26 June 2019 12:09 (two months ago) link

...catching bent coppers!

chap, Wednesday, 26 June 2019 12:09 (two months ago) link

two months pass...

Don't know where else to put this, but since it's impossible to search for: has there been any talk on these boards about the 'Blood' tv series starring Adrian Dunbar? 3/4th in and it's pretty wicked. And evil.

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 16 September 2019 12:14 (two days ago) link

I watched it when it was on a few months ago. It was unpleasant.

ailsa, Monday, 16 September 2019 15:33 (two days ago) link

Unpleasant, that's the word. Seeing Cat being psychologically tortured (regardless of whether it turns out to be true or not) is almost getting too much. Of course the last episode I watched was her abandoning Barry just when he needed her most and then he did... Well, you know (to avoid spoilers). I'm too far in to quit now - and the acting overall is really great - but it's bordering on unbearable.

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 16 September 2019 16:32 (two days ago) link

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