TV REVIEW: Line of Duty – Season 5

AC-12 are back and this time they are dealing with an undercover operative who has gone rogue. John Corbett (Stephen Graham) has been out of contact with his handler for several months and seems to be involved in progressively more serious criminal acts with the Organised Crime Group he was tasked to infiltrate.

Corbett makes contact with DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and insists that he is trying to exposed the highest echelons of institutionalised links between the police and organised crime and that he will stop at nothing to achieve his goal, even destroying his career. With Superintendent Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) behaving more and more erratically, Arnott and DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) don’t know who to trust. Could Hastings really be the mysterious H?

Once again Line of Duty has played a blinder. The story is revealed slowly, just enough at a time to hook you in and make you wonder if the myriad theories you have come up with could be true. There are hooks back to the ongoing conspiracy that has been unfolding across the previous seasons and enough new information comes to light to make you question all your past interpretations of the “facts”.

The performances are excellent. Graham is a great addition to the cast and he proves that he is one of the UK’s finest character actors. Dunbar excels himself as his facade starts to crumble and it’s really interesting getting a view into his past and seeing a more human side to him as his own ethics are questioned. McClure and Compston’s chemistry is as strong as ever and it’s good to see that the series has not stooped to turning Fleming’s promotion over Arnott into an issue. I would have liked to see more attention paid to the aftermath of Arnott’s accident. It’s touched upon but I felt like there could have been more.

My favourite performance of the series though comes from Anna Maxwell Martin playing AC-3 Superintendent Patricia Carmichael. She is as eager to prove her theory as she is to remain professional, yet approachable and her passive aggressive approach to questioning Hastings is a spine-tingingly joy to watch.

It was so interesting to see the impact of undercover work on both the undercover operative and their families. Often it is portrayed as quite a glamorous life but there is no shying away from the dark side here.

I did feel a bit let down by the resolution at the end… or maybe lack thereof. I know there is another season coming but there has to be a point somewhere where everything comes out or it risks becoming a parody.

An excellent addition to the series and an absolute must-watch.

4.5/5

3 Comments

  1. Like you, I felt let down by the ending. More so as I guessed Polly Walker would be the villain from the start, as otherwise why would she be in it? That said, it was well up to standard, and Stephen Graham played a very convincing addition to the cast.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I guessed the same. I think there is still a bigger fish out there though.

  2. Don’t want to read too much cause I still need to do this season, but going by your rating, looks like it will be excellent as always!

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