TV REVIEW: Line of Duty – Season 1

After an anti-terrorism operation goes horribly wrong DS Arnott (Martin Compston) ends up in AC-12 an anti-corruption unit run by the irrepressible Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar). AC-12 is feared and reviled in equal parts by fellow officers but Arnott is keen to prove himself and throws himself in wholeheartedly.

His first assignment is looking into potential “laddering” by DCI Tony Gates (Lennie James), an award winning officer, known for getting the best results. As he and his undercover partner, DS Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) start to dig they discover there are much bigger fish to fry. Meanwhile Gates realises his affair with an old flame could be the worst decision he’s ever made and there might be a rat in his team. 

I was recommended Line of Duty by some friends who thought I would enjoy it. I was a bit reluctant because I wasn’t immediately sure I fancied a police procedural. I wish I had listened immediately because boy did I get sucked in fast.

Although Line of Duty has a fascinating story line involving corruption, political intrigue, adultery and organised crime, what makes it So special is the characterisation and the way the information is drip fed. You will constantly think you have figured out what is going on and then realise there is a piece of information you didn’t know that changes your interpretation of everything you thought you knew. Every character is really human, which means that to a large extent there are no “good” or “bad” guys, just people with divided loyalties and mixed motivations trying to survive the consequences of their decisions. It’s also a great insight into some of the challenges of modern policing.

There are some very impressive performances, not least of all by Compston, who plays Arnott as a man with a strong moral core but a very hot head and a bit of an eye for the ladies. James stands out as a man slowly unravelling as everything he cares about is ripped apart by his poor decisions. All the supporting cast are great and Neil Morrissey and Craig Parkinson are stand outs as Gates’ super loyal team, who have their own secrets. 

This is an absolute banger of a first season and I challenge you to watch it and not immediately dive into season 2. 

4.5/5

6 Comments

  1. I was addicted to this right from the start. Great cast, different storylines, and just the right pace. And Vicky McClure, one of our best British actresses. I think it’s one of the best BBC series to ever hit the screens, and I haven’t missed a single episode. I can’t wait for it to come back!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. It’s an excellent series and I have devoured it voraciously. I am very much looking forward to the next season!

  2. Great! I will look for it. Thanks for the head’s up, Abbi.

    1. It’s sooooo good. You’ll love it.

  3. Rabia

    I was as reluctant to watch this, but it is right up Boz’s typical viewing. I was therefore forced to watch out the corner of my eye. Was sucked into the story line almost immediately and waited for the next episodes/ series with a fervent desperation.

    1. I was a bit reluctant too but it’s so engrossing. I am glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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