'Line of Duty' Series 6 Ep6 Recap: Frames, Names and Games

Laura Martin
·9-min read
Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey (Ted’s best statement of shock so far, IMO): what an episode of revelations. After last week’s cliffhanger, it turns out our heroine, Kate Fleming, was left thankfully unscathed after the stand-off with chief little shit, Ryan Pilkington, and Ryan’s the one who ended up with two bullet holes to the chest and is now taking up space in the city morgue.

Despite offing one of TV’s most loathed villains – shout out to the actor Gregory Piper for making the character truly obnoxious for a whole decade – things don’t look good for Kate or Jo Davidson, and they decide to go full Thelma & Louise. By the time AC-12 turn up to the murder scene and issue both their arrests, Kate’s whisked Jo off to Steve Arnott’s flat, where she handily keeps spare keys to his sports car.

In an effort to prove that she’s not bent, Jo begrudgingly proffers up a few life details; that her mum was Tommy’s sister, making him her uncle – and a lot more, as we learn later – and that he’s been controlling her for a long time. Interestingly, she also reveals that her dad was also a bent copper, but that’s all the information we’re getting from Jo at this point. Kate suggests that Jo could get witness protection if she talked, at which Jo quite rightly scoffs, almost prophetically: “No matter who it is, how powerful, when they turn they get killed.” She’s not wrong.

Taking Kate on an ill-fated nighttime tour of the city, Jo brings her to the print shop, used as a front by the OCG for their criminal activities in series five. Importantly, it’s also opposite Terry Boyle’s flat, hence why he’s often been caught up in the gang’s dirty work. But there’s no time to elaborate, as armed police turn up, causing Kate and Jo to flee in a high-speed car chase. With no canyons nearby for them to sail off in their Ford Thunderbird Steve’s car, we’re stuck with a quick spin around the streets of Belfast instead.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

If you’re wondering how on earth the police got on to their location so quickly, it’s because DCI Patricia Carmichael has had all AC-12’s cars bugged, as she smugly informs them. No money for surveillance on Jo and Ryan, but somehow she’s managed to rub together a few bob for this project – as well as tellingly ordering Chloe Bishop to remove Chief Constable Philip Osborne’s pic from the wall of potentially corrupt policemen, and shred it. She also highlights a strong link between her and Osborne, telling Ted Hastings: “The chief and I don’t trust you”. Yeah? Well we don’t trust you. Dodgy doesn’t even begin to cover Carmichael – something a Twitter user recently pointed out: “Lakewell: ‘Look deeper into the race claim’, ‘Race claim + H’ rearranged = Carmichael.” Makes you think.

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The cops inevitably catch up with our two fleeing suspects and Kate is devastated, as it appears Steve has ratted her out. Not our Steve, Kate, keep the faith! “We’re being framed,” she surmises correctly, and Steve steps into the potential line of fire to take both Kate and Jo into custody for their own safety, giving Kate just enough time to fill him in on who Ryan’s killed, and the link with the copy shop.

BEEEP! It’s on to the long-awaited interview scene with DCI Joanne Davidson, looking very lockdown chic in her prison regulation grey sweatshirt. But despite all the questioning from Carmichael, a muzzled Hastings, and Arnott, all she bleats out is “no comment” to pretty much all lines of enquiry. That is, until the big reveal that most of us had guessed last week – Tommy Hunter was not only her uncle, but also her dad, as he raped her mum, aged 15. This is news to Jo, though, and it totally shakes her – it’s hard not to feel sorry for her as the true extent of her actions in part of the OCG are revealed to stem from an incestous, abusive family that she was born into; that her “uncle” Tommy has been controlling her and grooming her in her career in the police force and that her mother died by suicide when she found out he had tracked down the 16-year-old Jo.

Jo confirms AC-12’s suspicions that Tommy had threatened to reveal the OCG-linked corrupt policeman, which is what led to his murder, and she added that the OCG had splintered off into smaller groups. However one man (or woman) was still at large as “the fourth man”.

Photo credit: BBC/World Productions
Photo credit: BBC/World Productions

Evidence of perverting the course of justice (“a mountain’s worth” according to Hastings) is presented, and things don’t look good for Jo. Planting the burner phones on Farida Jatri; throwing the raid on Carl Banks’ flat; putting through the wrong paperwork for surveillance; and, as suspected, setting up Buckells to take the flak for the mismanagement of the Gail Vella case. “I manipulated him into it,” she says, “it wasn’t hard”. Poor old Buckells is probably still lying in the foetal position in his jail cell after watching Jimmy Lakewell getting slaughtered in front of him.

There’s more, though. Thanks to Jo’s tip off about the print shop, forensics have discovered Gail Vella’s stolen computer, which contains all her investigations linking the police officers in charge of both the suppression of the Sands View abuse scandal and the Lawrence Christopher murder. We’re back to the names of Marcus Thurwell and Pip Osborne again.

These two came up last week, and swiftly became the two top new suspects for “the fourth man”. Things look even shadier when AC-12 cyber experts explain that Jo has been chatting online with the OCG-in-chief-command on her laptop, with the IP trace leading to...Spain! Where Thurwell is believed to be living! “Who were you talking to!” Hastings all but screams, and Jo almost answers, but Carmichael cuts him off. If anyone’s suppressing anybody or anything, it’s this infuriating woman. Doesn’t she want the truth to get out? “Give them justice,” Hastings says of Vella and Christopher. “I’m sorry, I can’t,” sobs Jo.

Jo then takes the rap for Ryan’s death, even though Kate most likely fired the fatal shots, but she pulls out all the police rules and regs to explain that it was necessary for her to do so as a serving police as there was “an imminent threat to life”. And that’s it; Carmichael promptly wraps up the interrogation, and Jo’s sent back to the cells, most likely facing life in prison.

It’s all too much for Ted to take, and after confronting Carmichael after the interview about shutting down all his questions, he turns into Old Father Time. “I don’t have time!” he yells, as he knows the ticking clock is on for his forced retirement, before telling Steve sadly: “Sometimes you don’t lose, you just run out of time”. Pour one out for Hastings; never has a man needed a drink more.

Kate’s let off of all charges – though Carmichael makes it known that she knows she’s been lied to – and she goes straight back to the copy shop with Steve, as forensics are doing further tests on just about every object in there. Lomax – who just seems to emanate shadiness, don’t @ me – is already on the scene and they agree to start a dig on the concrete floor. Who knows what they’ll uncover there, but my guess is a few odd limbs.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Finally! We get a tip off from the woman with all the important intel – Chloe – that Thurwell has been found. Is this the moment Jimmy Nesbitt finally makes his LoD debut? No! He’s been discovered by Spanish police muerto como un dodo! So all that kerfuffle from Nesbitt and Jed Mercurio on fake leaks to the press amounted to nothing more than two mugshots on a computer screen. *sigh*. We’ve been had.

If that feels like a kick in the teeth, it’s nothing compared to Hastings, who breaks down in the lift now that his hottest lead on the fourth man is dead. On the bright side, at least it narrows it down to one person of interest: Philip Osborne. Fitting, then, that the chief constable closes this episode, chuntering on in another televised police report about there being definately [sic] no corruption in the police force, with the camera closing in on Jo in prison as he says: “those enemies within will be made to suffer the consequences''. Good luck ever sleeping again, Jo!

Interview notes:

  • I thought Jo was a goner at the end of the episode, with the two prison guards taking her a different way, presumably to a cell where there aren’t cameras installed by AC-12. By the look on her face, she knows it won’t be long until she’s killed as well – she’s already said too much in her interview.

  • Lots of secrets for Steve this week. Swerving his occupational health emails now looks like he could be suspended from duty, so he...ignores the email again. Also interesting that he withheld the information about who Ryan killed to Carmichael and he still hasn’t done anything with the information that Hasting’s leak to Lee Banks killed John Corbett. Can all his leads be tied up in the final episode?

  • Jo didn’t ever reveal who her policeman dad was. Could it be Philip Osborne as well?

  • “Don’t act like a tit, sarge”. It's a very welcome return for Kate’s top insult, this time directed at Chris Lomax.

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