Line of Duty episode four recap: Top talking points from a thrilling instalment 

Well, that was quite an episode of Line of Duty. There were thrills, spills and heart-pumping drama. And that was just the look on Ted Hasting’s face when he was told he was being shunted into retirement. Hold your wisht as we delve into episode four 
Line of Duty episode four recap: Top talking points from a thrilling instalment 

 Kelly Macdonald and Vicky McClure in a scene from episode four of Line Of Duty.

Is Joanne Davidson really the big villain this season?

Kelly Macdonald’s character has been widely heralded as Ted and the gang’s major foe this year. However, there are reasons to believe she has been coerced into assisting the “OCG”. Not for the first time, we saw her breaking down under the strain of concealing the truth about the murder of journalist Gail Vella (and upset, too, about the refusal of mysterious uber-baddy “H” to reply to her encrypted reports).

The outlook grew even bleaker as she attempted to move OCG sleeper agent Ryan Pilkington  to another division. He begged to differ with her strategy – by following her home and putting a gun to her head. Her expression of horror when Pilkington subsequently revealed that corrupt solicitor James Lakewell  had been killed for being a “rat” said everything.

So poor Jo is apparently in way over her head. And things could be about to get stickier. A DNA test by AC-12 has revealed Davidson lied about her relationship with sergeant Farida Jatri  and was also the blood relative of a major player. But who? We’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

Is Ted about to be forced into retirement?

Moving against the clearly incompetent and corrupt DSI Ian Buckells   has ruffled feathers high up in the chain-of-command. Summoned by Police and Crime Commissioner Rohan Sindwhani and Deputy Chief Constable Andrea Wise   Ted was told he’d exceeded his powers by banging up Buckells without permission from above. The upshot is that AC-12 is to be merged with two other units, the headcount of anti-corruption officers culled by 90 per cent. And in a few weeks Ted will be out on his ear.

“You’ve become unable to lead your team,” Wise told Hastings. “No one wants to be vindictive, Ted. Retire on full pension and avoid the ignominy of disciplinary action and dismissal.” 

 This was obviously part of a barefaced cover-up and Ted wasn’t having it. Did they really think he’d just floated down the Lagan in a bubble?

“God give me strength,” he said of the PCC. “A bare-faced liar promoted to our highest office!” 

Whose side is Kate on?

The romantic spark between DI Kate Fleming  and DCI Davidson continued to cloud the former AC-12 officer’s judgement. DI Steve Arnott correctly believed Davidson was up to something shady and that her girlfriend-turned-whistleblower Jatri was a scapegoat. But Kate couldn’t see it - and thought Steve was paranoid. “You spend your life nicking bent coppers you start believing they are everywhere,” she said.

Was that the best Line of Duty action scene yet?

Our treat this week was Jed Mercurio re-creating the iconic shootout from Heat in the middle of Belfast. Lakewell had been confirmed as the source for Vella’s podcast into links between the police and organised crime. And so he was being rushed away by Arnott, with promise of a place on the witness protection programme if he shared what he knew.

But corrupt prison officers had tipped off the OCG, who ambushed AC-12 in broad daylight. Fortunately for Lakewell, Steve was on hand to literally shield him from the gunfire. But this proved merely a temporary respite. Having (not unreasonably) declined to assist AC-12, back in prison Lakewell was “reassigned” to a shared cell with Buckells. And then strangled by an OCG plant. The long arms of organised crime reached far indeed.

The Buckells interrogation sequence was classic Line of Duty

It’s those heart-pounding AC-12 cross-examinations that keep fans coming back. And Ted was in his element as he held the oily Buckells to the pin of his collar. AC-12 had Buckells over a barrel regarding his relationship with informant Deborah Devereux, who had falsely identified Terry Boyle as “Ross Turner”, aka the hitman believed to have killed Vella. Buckells had also deliberately provided his surveillance team with inadequate protocols so that they were forced to stand down during a crucial moment in the raid on Turner’s house in episode one. Buckells claimed he was being scapegoated. “Scapegoated?” thundered Ted. “How dare you!”

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