TV and Radio

TV review: Line of Duty has been 'edge of the seat, compelling viewing' but final episode a 'little underwhelming'

The conclusion to the BBC One drama Line of Duty attracted an average audience of 9.1 million

Line of Duty, BBC One, Sunday at 9pm

SERIES five of Line of Duty has definitely been edge of the seat, compelling viewing.

For the past six weeks, it's become a staple of my Sunday night and a regular conversation in the office on Mondays as we dissected the twists and turns of the previous night.

Writer Jed Mercurio is a master of sending viewers up on a roller-coaster, spinning us around with suspense and then pulling us back to earth with a bang.

And with an epic 90-minute series finale lined up on Sunday night, expectations were very high.

Would the identity of criminal mastermind 'H' - the head of the corrupt network of police officers in cahoots with organised crime - finally will be revealed?

Would Superintendent Ted Hastings, played by the fantastic Adrian Dunbar, be framed?

Or would bent cop Matthew 'Dot' Cottan even make a return from the dead?

With the endless questions, the episode began with Hastings, who leads the anti-corruption unit AC-12, appearing to be set up as 'H'.

Cutting a sad figure in his custody tracksuit and unshaven face, he is grilled at length, dragged over the coals by his superior, Patricia Carmichael, played by Anna Maxwell Martin, who firmly puts him in his place.

It was like watching a sparring match between two fighters - a real feast for viewers - as Hastings fought back.

But the evidence began to mount up against him - the £50k in the brown envelope, the laptop he wiped of suspicious information and his RUC past, particularly his relationship with a widowed informant coming back to haunt him.

And that's where the 'gaffer's' connection to deceased undercover cop John Corbett was revealed, quite timely for me as at this stage in the episode as I'd become a tad disillusioned with the ongoing interrogation scenes.

Hastings was once in love with Corbett's mother before she went missing. Hence, why Corbett, driven by his own demons, was so intent on proving Hastings was 'H'.

As the interview continued and Hastings was charged with Corbett's murder, it looked liked his days were over.

Cue his ever-faithful detectives Kate Fleming and Steve Arnott, who rode in to save the day - as well as bringing a bit of life back into the episode.

New evidence they had gleaned from Corbett's grieving wife revealed it was police lawyer Gill Biggeloe who was responsible for the crimes in this series.

And if that wasn't a big enough shock, then wait for it, there is no 'H'- it was all a misunderstanding on the behalf of AC-12, failing to perceive Cottan's dying declaration.

In the aftermath of the interrogation during Sunday's episode, Arnott spotted something in the footage of Cottan's final moments - his left hand twitching - something never noted before apparently.

His hand signals indicated four 'dots' to signify he was one of four corrupt senior figures in the police.

"It's a clue... four 'dots', four 'Caddys', four police staff in league with organised crime," said Arnott.

Three - Biggeloe, Cottan and ACC Hilton - have been neutralised, but the fourth person remains unknown - so the all important question of 'who is H' becomes 'who is number four'?

This season has been heart-stopping, nerve-wracking and gripping with the conclusion attracting an average audience of 9.1 million viewers.

But the final episode felt somewhat disappointing and anticlimactic.

With the interrogation scenes dominating most of the feature length episode, there were times I switched off.

Perhaps, I've got used to Mercurio's explosive episodes, that this felt a little underwhelming.

But with OCG member Ryan now at police training college, ­Biggeloe given a new identity (and living in Larne, according to eagle-eyed viewers) and flawed hero Hastings back in charge at AC-12, there's plenty more questions to be answered, suspects to be found and with reports that Mercurio hasn't even put pen to paper yet, plenty more drama to be created.

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