Drawing the Line (of Duty)
With series 6 of the BBC’s hit cop drama well underway, Harry Scott-Munro considers whether the end is in sight for this decade-long storyline
** MINOR SPOILERS FOR LINE OF DUTY SERIES 6 AHEAD **
Now we’re sucking diesel! After a somewhat subdued opening episode of series 6 of Line of Duty, the show is back on top form and just as good as ever. As we continue to question who is pulling the strings of DCI Joanne Davidson, we wait to see whether everyone’s favourite original “little shit,” Ryan Pilkington, will get found out for his true motives.
Since it began in 2012, Jed Mercurio’s hit series has continued to pull in new fans with every shock reveal. But why is it such an endurable show? Simply put, the layers given to each character, however small their role, leaves the viewer continually invested in their storylines. It does of course help that the cast are as talented as they are, but there is something about each character to which we can relate and understand. Whether it’s the blunt way DI Kate Fleming says things when she isn’t in the mood, famously telling an AC officer to “stop making a tit of [her]self and piss off!” or the struggles that Steve Arnott continually seems to face; none of our heroes are perfect but that makes us appreciate them even more.
But all good things must come to an end. Mercurio hasn’t revealed when he plans to end the show, however viewers must ready themselves that it will surely come sooner rather than later. A recent article stated that this sixth series feels like the show is readying us to say goodbye. Kate has left AC-12 to join Davidson’s team, Steve has been making enquiries to move to a different department, having grown tired of going after fellow officers, and you get the sense that in hunting for the true nature behind the murder of journalist Gail Vella, the fourth “H” within the force is likely to be revealed.
For now though, we will all continue to watch with bated breath every Sunday evening
Despite each series investigating an individual officer and their shady engagements, they have all shared the same overarching narrative of weeding out officers that are linked to organised crime, whatever their motive may be. Unless Mercurio’s big reveal is that everyone is a bent copper, you feel that there must be a natural conclusion to what has now turned into a decade-long investigation. Without that threat in the background, I wonder whether the show will be able to hold the same gravitas and sense of unknown that sees Twitter awash with fan theories and trending hashtags concerning the show from 9pm every Sunday evening. Mercurio is such a skilled writer that you imagine that if anybody could, it would be him. He has proven with other hit shows such as Bodyguard, that he will end a show when its natural storyline has run its course.
For now though, we will all continue to watch with bated breath every Sunday evening, trying to piece together the story unfolding in front of us, as all the expertly crafted strands of this sixth series begin to come together. Suspense, the unknown, Steve having inappropriate relations with people involved in the investigation. All of these things and more will keep us glued to the screens, for as long as Mercurio sees fit to write more of this iconic drama.