Warning: this article contains spoilers for episode two, season six of BBC One’s Line Of Duty. Proceed with caution…
Two episodes of Line Of Duty down, five more to go, and everyone’s favourite TV show is proving itself to be every bit as twisted as we hoped it would.
Farida (Anneika Rose) has put in a transfer request – not too surprising, considering the circumstances – and DCI Jo Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) is all too happy to wave her off with a “glowing reference”, but not before digging the knife in a little.
A hint of misconduct, a whiff of scandal; no wonder the boss is all too happy to see Farida become “some other station’s problem.” And no wonder everyone’s all too willing to believe that Farida is their bent copper when a burner phone oh-so-mysteriously shows up in her flat, eh?
Gail Vella (Andi Osho), too, has given us a message from beyond the grave via an old news report – or, rather, a motive for her murderer. The reporter unearthed some less than pleasant details about disgraced Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank (George Costigan).
Namely, that he is alleged to have suppressed police investigations into child sexual exploitation that transcended local political figures, including Jimmy Savile.
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“So Gail Vella drew attention to alleged links between organised crime, politicians, and senior police officers,” notes DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston). “And these are just the reports we found in our own archive.”
The implication? That Vella was working on a podcast investigation in the months leading up to her death – and that someone was willing to kill her in order to stop her from ever recording it. Eep.
There is no institutionalised corruption in this police force
Later, Steve watches a controversial report that Vella gave on Operation Peartree. A report so controversial, in fact, that it was cut from the eventual broadcast.
“There is no institutionalised corruption in this police force,” says the police commissioner, only for Vella to suggest that “cynics might conclude the police commissioner might prefer that his statement isn’t studied too closely.”
Why? Because she believes that he’s learned his job “no longer depends on revealing the deepest truths, but on telling the most attractive lies.”
Check it out:
Elsewhere, Steph Corbett (Amy De Bhrún) is back and flirting with/chatting to Steve about how her husband was killed in the line of duty (oh yeah, they said the words). And Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper) rocks up as Farida’s replacement. As in, yeah, that Ryan from season one. The same who was led into the world of OCG violence, tried to chop off Stevie boy’s fingers, and eventually formed an uneasy alliance with the police. So, what’s his deal?
Perhaps the biggest shocker of the episode, though, is the genuinely shocking moment when DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) betrays her long-time mate, Steve. How? By tipping off her new BFF Jo, of course!
It stings, and it stings us bad. Not just because Steve’s addiction to over-the-counter pills means he could use a good friend right about now, but because we all believed in their friendship, damn it! In fact, we’d go so far as to say that it was the only part of Line Of Duty that felt strong and stable. And now…
Well, Ted Hastings is right, it seems: Kate’s loyalty to AC-12 cannot be counted upon, and that means all bets are bloody off.
Throw in what feels like a chemistry-addled date between Jo and Kate, and you have a recipe for another brilliant episode of Line Of Duty. On that has, once again, left us with an abundance of questions.
Here, Stylist’s digital editor-at-large Kayleigh Dray does her best to unravel them all.
Is Kate in deep undercover?
A lot of people have opined that Kate might be working undercover alongside Jo, at the request of (drumroll, please!) Ted himself!
It’s a nice theory, particularly as it softens the blow of Kate betraying our beloved Steve. And it makes sense as to why she’s feeding information back to Jo; she needs to stay close to her, in order to work out what’s really going on.
But… well, it feels just a little too neat a theory, doesn’t it?
Who killed Gail Vella?
We now know that the late Gail was working on an explosive podcast serial, one which would unearth a scandalous link between several high-powered police officials, politicians, and organised crime rings. And, as Ted and Steve inform Jo during a less than civil conversation, someone planted a laptop at the late Gail’s property to cover up any signs of a robbery.
Essentially, someone broke in, nicked her research, and scarpered… but who? Was it Carl Banks? And, if so, who killed off Carl to get rid of that loose end, eh?
AC-12 reckon Jo arranged the coverup, obviously. And this writer can see why; the evidence isn’t exactly in her favour. But is she just an unwitting pawn in this situation? Could Farida have set her ex up at the behest of someone higher up? Only time will tell, we guess…
And on that note, did Jo keep Farida’s house keys so she could set her up?
They used to live together, Jo advised that AC-12 check Farida’s house, a burner phone mysteriously appeared there, and she referred to her as a rat. You do the math.
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Why is Stephanie Corbett back, really?
Steph was introduced in series five as the wife of rogue undercover cop John Corbett (Stephen Graham), and she’s back in this episode… but why? Presumably, someone (our money’s on Steve) is going to uncover the fact that Ted presumably handed her the missing £50,000 that he was given by the OCG when they were attempting to frame him. And, yeah, we suspect that will be a decision that Ted soon comes to regret.
Enough of that, though; did anyone else notice a moment between her and Steve when he left her house? We have a feeling there’s more to this blossoming relationship than meets the eye…
Are Jo and Kate dating now?
Kate doesn’t just go out for a drink with Jo; they arrange to meet up over the weekend, too (although it’s likely that Jo’s arrest could put a dampener on things).
Is something romantic brewing between the pair? Friendship? Or is this simply a case of two women abiding by that old adage of ‘keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer’?
What is the deal with Ryan?
Ryan is everywhere in this episode. Most telling, though, is the fact that he picks up Jo when she’s released from AC-12’s custody at the episode’s end. Are these two in cahoots?
And who exactly is pulling Jo’s stings?
At the end of the episode, we’re treated to a mysterious sequence in which Jo picks up a box containing a damaged mobile phone. Then, she breaks down sobbing in her car. So what’s her deal?
Well, last week we saw that her house is locked up like Fort Knox, suggesting she’s at risk from an OCG (Organised Crime Gang). And eagle-eyed fans noticed a photo in the shady officer’s living room, featuring a younger Jo cuddling up to… well, her mother, we assume. So far, so usual living room.
However, it’s worth noting that the woman in the photograph looks an awful lot like Anne-Marie McGillis, aka the former police informant and mother to John Corbett. As in, yeah, Stephen Graham’s undercover copper who turned into full-blown gang member last season before his throat was slit.
Could Jo be John’s… sister? Twin sister, even? And, if so, what does this mean for our ongoing investigation?
What is a CHIS?
As reported on 21 March: Look, if you’re anything like this writer, that unexpected acronym will have pulled the rug out from under your feet in the show’s opening minutes. Don’t worry, though, I’ve got you: CHIS stands for Covert Human Intelligence Source – and their handlers are vital in safeguarding their sources from many serious crimes including terrorism, drugs and firearms offences and child sexual exploitation.
Did Jo prevent the arrest of ‘Ross Turner’?
Now, onto the meaty stuff; thanks to a tipoff from a CHIS (ha!), the police have a new suspect – Ross Turner. Unfortunately, it’s likely a fake name, as there’s no record of Ross Turner anywhere, but they do have an address for him: Flat 4F Beechwood House.
During a high-speed raid on the property, though, Jo spots a suspicious-looking van parked on a wee side road opposite a local betting shop, and requests that Kate check its number plate, SH13 GEK. It quickly becomes apparent that it’s a fake plate, so Jo orders her team intercept the vehicle in order to “prevent risk to the public.”
Her intuition is spookily bang-on; the van is involved in an armed robbery, and her AFOs prove vital in bringing the suspects down. It does mean, though, that her team’s original mission – to seize and arrest Turner – is delayed by up to an hour.
Later, CCTV examined by Ted and Steve shows that the police convoy was moving far too quickly for Jo to have reasonably spotted the parked van. Likewise, she had a very narrow line of sight, as it was just tucked out of the way of the main road – and the armed robbers apprehended have suspiciously clean records.
Throw in the fact that the surveillance team were pulled off duty for three hours due to a paperwork issue, and things look less than rosy for Jo. Could it be that the armed robbery was staged to delay Turner’s arrest?
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Who is Terry Boyle?
The man they arrest at Flat 4F Beechwood House isn’t Ross Turner, but an extremely vulnerable Terry Boyle (Tommy Jessop). A quick spin in the police interrogation room confirms that Terry actually resides in the Kingsgate area – just like the late Gail Vella – at Flat B Dorton Villas.
Several things don’t add up, however. Forensics teams deployed to Terry’s actual place of residence, for example, are confused by what they find there. “We’re not finding much evidence of this being anyone’s permanent state of residence, let alone the suspect’s,” one officer tells Kate. “The place is clean. Extremely clean.”
Traces of bleach and other cleaning fluids are dutifully found and reported, too, leading Jo to suggest that someone staged a thorough (and suspicious) cleaning of Flat B Dorton Villas. Weirdly, though, they left a collage of Gail Vella photos pinned to the wall – some of which are coated in what appears to be Terry’s semen. Hmm.
Then there’s evidence that a freezer was removed from the property, which… well, which obviously confirms that something dodgy took place (we all remember that season one’s Jackie Laverty was in that freezer, right?).
Kate is also concerned by the fact that Flat 4F Beechwood House – where Terry was found and arrested – shows signs of forced entry, including a damaged chair that had apparently been pushed up against the door handle. She opines that the flat is too nicely maintained for this to have happened a long time ago; Jo, however, insists that it’s “unlikely, but not impossible” that the damage is unrelated to Terry’s being in the flat in the first place.
Then, there’s the gunshot residue and evidence of heroin use at Flat B. Indeed, when Terry is asked directly whether or not he shot Gail (a woman he refers to as a “nice lady”), he becomes visibly distressed – and even more so when they ask him how he knows Carl Banks, who may or may not be related to season five’s Balaclava Men associate, Lee Banks.
Which brings us to our next question…
Who is Carl Banks?
As Kate tells Steve during their late-night drive, her crime scene was covered in prints belonging to Carl Banks. And, when he does a little digging, he learns that Banks has a long criminal history, particularly with regards to firearms – making him a prime suspect in the original line of inquiry for Gail Vella’s murder (that hers was an arranged murder).
Steve’s theory, then? That Carl killed Gail, and that Jo deliberately delayed the arrest of ‘Ross Turner’ in order to allow Banks time to flee.
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But then… well, if that was the case, then why did she release Terry Boyle without charge? Surely, if she was trying to find a scapegoat, she’d keep him in police custody for a wee while longer?
Did anyone else pick up on a frisson of sexual tension between Kate and Jo?
They did hold hands and lock eyes for a mite longer than strictly necessary, but… maybe that’s just me. Let’s move on.
Who killed the CHIS?
Look, our poor unnamed CHIS is found dead from a high fall, in a CCTV blind spot, and a number of people reported hearing a scream. He was pushed, wasn’t he? He was pushed… but by who?
And why has Farida reported Jo to AC-12?
It’s easy to assume that Farida is an incensed and jealous ex-girlfriend, looking to get revenge on the woman who broke her heart. Of course it is. But…
Well, she’s kind of been bang on the money about a lot of things, too. Firstly, about the fact that the police convoy was moving too fast for Jo to reasonably see the armed robbery taking place. Secondly, that there’s some chemistry bubbling between Jo and Kate (fine, fine – still just me then). And let’s not forget the exact words she says to Steve over the phone, either.
“Our most important witness has been found dead,” she says urgently, tears streaming down her face. “This is too dangerous. You have no idea what’s she capable of, none at all.
“Don’t call me again.”
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Could it be that Farida knows exactly what Jo’s been up to and, until now, felt compelled to keep it hidden due to their relationship? Could she be involved herself, somehow?
We guess we’ll have to wait until next week’s instalment of Line Of Duty to find out.
The third episode of Line Of Duty season six will air at 9pm Sunday 4 April on BBC One.
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