In episode one of the new series of Line of Duty, DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) has got her notebook out. A character called Terry Boyle has been pulled in for an interrogation relating to the murder of journalist Gail Vella, and Fleming’s scribbling down the leads to follow up.
Jotting down some aide-memoires is also something that many of the long-time viewers of the BBC police drama might want to consider, especially for this series, seeing as we’re now almost a full decade into the twists and the turns of AC-12. There are threads and storylines linking characters that go right back to the first series, which aired in 2012, and little reminders of them pop up in each series, forcing viewers to become almost armchair detectives alongside the team in Central Police.
Classic case in point: Ryan Pilkington. The kid was first seen in series one, and groomed into joining the criminal gang. Creator Jed Mercurio then ignored him for a full seven years before his long-game reveal: he’s now one of the main gang members! And has also now infiltrated himself into the police force as a truly bent copper! Here are some other faces to remember.
Who is Terry Boyle?
Mercurio also brought back another recurring character from the first episode of series six: Terry Boyle. There’s been a switch up in the actors (from Elliot Rosen to Tommy Jessop) but you might remember that the criminal gang have long been exploiting Tez regularly for their various murdersome means.
In the first series, Ryan (him again) and some other kids persuade Terry to let them into his council flat, where they proceed to piss in his plant pot, slap and abuse him. But why would a 13-year-old be shown to be visibly impressed by the massive freezer in Terry’s kitchen? Nope, he wasn’t thinking about a home renovation. He just had the criminal foresight to see it as a useful place to stash evidence of gang’s exploits.
Later in the series, two higher-up members of the gang bring the body of the property developer Jackie Laverty – who had money laundering links to the gang and was having an affair with DCI Tony Gates – and stash her limbs in Terry’s freezer.
Terry was also out of the picture for three more series, until 2019, when he turned up running a copy shop (really a cover for a forgery den). Gang members Ryan, Lisa McQueen and Miroslav Minkowicz paid a visit to his home, and absentmindedly pulledl open his freezer to reveal a set of chilly legs.
Minkowicz says: “Christ, I forgot, how long’s she been there?” to which Ryan replies: “At least Terry didn’t mistake her for a leg of lamb”. Don’t fancy staying for tea, guys?
Which is why, in the opening episode of the new series, there’s police interest in Terry. Not just at first as they believe him to be the murderer of Gail Vella, but after they discount that idea and decide that he’s just a stalker who masturbates over his shrine of pictures, they uncover some information of interest involving kitchen white goods. When forensics examine Terry’s actual flat, rather than the flat he was initially in for the police raid, they discover that the whole place has been suspiciously cleaned to Mrs Hinch levels of spotless. Oh, and there also appears to be a space where perhaps a fridge/freezer once stood.
Terry is eventually released, but here’s betting the (frozen) body of evidence crops up in this series once again.
Who is Carl Banks?
When Fleming is called back into the fold by Arnott (Martin Compston), she’s reluctant to inform on the shady lady, DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald), as she doesn’t want to appear a traitor. But she does venture up some info for free: after the team released Terry as he wasn’t their man, the fingerprints of someone called Carl Banks were identified all over the flat.
Arnott seems to know immediately who Carl Banks is, but as the viewer, we’re still in the dark. There’s a possibility he might be related to another gangland member, Lee Banks, who first appeared in series five. He’s been busy in the midst of the action since then: Lee had links with Robert Denmoor (one of the original Balaclava Men) and the arch-villain(s) H, was involved in the drugs heist, kidnapped and murdered PC Maneet Bindra, shot a cop, and was eventually sent to jail for giving a bung to another cop to orchestrate the crying baby diversion. Like we said, he hit the ground running.
In episode four of the last series, Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) was seen visiting Lee Banks in jail for reasons that were never really revealed. In their brief discussion, Banks said: “I ain’t saying a word to this bastard [Hastings]”. A real charmer. Hastings replied: “Sit down fella. This bastard’s got a thing or two to say to you. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.” Did Lee turn into an informer? A snitch? Did he strike a deal to be released early? Does he have a twin brother called Carl who’s been picking up the slack while he’s banged up? Is Carl the missing ‘H’ of the four supposed members in on the gang? Look, at this early stage, it’s all a guessing game. Carl might be all, some or none of these, but we’re Bank(s)ing on a big reveal later on in the show.
What does the Line of Duty fandom think?
The theories are already coming in thick and fast on Twitter. One viewer thinks perhaps Terry managed to tell Gail Vella about the OCG and everything he knows about their crimes, then making her a target:
Another thinks that Terry was forced to kill Vella against his will, and that Davidson knows and is covering for him so the real killer will incriminate himself:
As for Carl Banks – or Ross Turner, as his alias might be – that gap of 3.5 hours might not have been necessary as getaway time, as some viewers spotted that he might have sauntered out right under the MIT's noses:
As for being a relation of Lee Banks, many people copped on to that fact pretty early. Now, like the Ops team, curtain twitching in the flat opposite, it's just a waiting game to find out if we're right.
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