Line of Duty, episode 4, review: a pulsating ride that keeps you guessing to the very end
Didn’t he do well? Jessica Raine lasted a single episode. Daniel Mays just made it to a second. Jason Watkins nearly ended Thandie Newton’s tenure in episode one, only to have her terminate his instead. For a guest on Line of Duty (BBC One) to fall at the fourth is a strong effort. Having killed one copper and tortured another’s wife, the fatal error of John Corbett (Stephen Graham) was to place his trust in the snake-eyed Lisa McQueen (Rochenda Sandall). In the climax of a pulsating episode, his jugular paid the price.
Possibly she could have spotted his subterfuges earlier. After the print shop raid Corbett may as well have blazoned his forehead with “rat”. His humanity finally gave the game away: he baulked at trafficking sex slaves and miscalculated that a female co-worker might have the same core of decency. “I just do what’s expected,” McQueen told him, her poker face as unmelting as that corpse in the freezer.
This is not a series that expects the highest standards of women. So far two policewomen have proved corrupt. Then panto villainess Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker) purred her sympathies for Ted Hastings’s beaten wife. “Poor woman, at her age.” Miaow.
So farewell then, Stephen Graham. After a thrilling display of fireworks and thunderbolts, see you at the Baftas. Questions still remain. Can series five survive the loss of its main energy source? Are there possible connections to Irish paramilitaries? And who, as ever, is H?
The spectre of Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) as suspect numero uno was dangled ever more tantalisingly when he bullishly revealed that, like H, he definately [sic] can’t spell. This was a rare concession from Jed Mercurio, who prefers to lead his viewers up the garden path. For once, we would seem to know something that H doesn’t.
Of course H’s identity may stay shrouded till series six – Mercurio has sadistically withheld catharsis in previous finales. Perhaps we’ll never know. Decades hence books will sift through the entrails, seeking evidence in the most innocent remarks. “We need to cancel the flowers,” said DCC Andrea Wise (Elizabeth Rider). “I’m veering towards muffins.” An encrypted clue?