It’s back – Jed Mercurio’s BBC 2 drama about an anti-corruption police squad – AC12 – in a new, second series of Line of Duty. Last time we had Lennie James, Neil Morrissey and Gina McKee but this time it’s a new story of corruption, or possible corruption, but still includes the AC12 gang of Arnott (Martin Compston) and Fleming (Vicky McClure). The main character though this time is Detective Lindsay played by Keeley Hawes, who has a track record of coming in as the lead of a second series of a cop-based show….
The episode begins with a gripping start. Lindsay takes two police officers on a call – she needs ‘gold’ clearance from a higher-ranking officer first – and then takes just her car to a house where there is a witness under witness protection (hidden under a blanket) and their police handler (Akers) who says they need to go to the police station for protection, but to take the back streets. The two male policeman are the driver and front passenger of the car with Akers and the witness while Lindsay leads in her own car. They take a turn, the police officers question the turn on the radio, and the suddenly there’s a big black range rover which runs them off the road. Two people get out, shoot at the car and the passengers and set it alight. Lindsay calls for back up, but the car is aflame. Somehow the witness and Akers roll out of the car, aflame. Cut to the hospital where Akers dies, but the witness is still (barely) alive and Lindsay has whiplash.
So the AC12 team come in to investigate how the details of the convoy for the witness were leaked. Fleming excuses herself from the case because she’s having an affair with Akers’ husband. So Arnott gets a new partner called Georgia (Jessica Raines) who is an alcoholic. They interview Lindsay. In the interview she blames Akers for the route they took when we know that Lindsay chose the route. We find out that she’s in lots of debt because her mother had to go to a nursing home. But she’s also a goody two shoes who everyone hates. Her squad now hate her even more because they blame her for the death of their two colleagues – for not taking firearms or backup. They waterboard her in the toilet…
Fleming is suspicious though – she listens to the tapes and thinks Lindsay is covering something up. Lindsay has been moved to her own unit on missing persons and noone wants to work with her but Fleming goes undercover to work for her. [We even see a shot of Gina McKee’s character from the last series, Jackie Laverty, on the missing person’s database that Lindsay flicks through]
And the series needs to work if there is suspicion. Throughout it seems that Lindsay is a model person – lives alone with her cat, quiet, works hard etc. But then we see her smash in the head (but not kill) her noisy neighbour. And then she runs out to make a secret phone call from a payphone that goes to the hospital where the witness is staying. Arnott and Georgia go to the hospital (they’ve heard that the witness is waking up but also about the phone call) and the police guard have disappeared while a guy in a blond wig is administering a lethal dose of something to the witness. He knocks Arnott over and then tussles with Georgia before throwing her out of a window.
Surely she can’t survive the fall? But then why spend so much time setting up her character and her alcohol addiction? And can Keeley Hawes really be a master actor who is hiding the ultimate corruption? Looks like we’re in for another great ride.