“I reluctantly watched Line Of Duty for the first time in lockdown – and I have opinions”

With the sixth season of Line Of Duty coming later this year, one writer decided it was time to find out what all the fuss is about – and she has some serious thoughts.

I pride myself on keeping my finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. I like to think I know all about the best podcasts, TV series and books days before they’re trending on Twitter. And I get to hear all about the hottest new lifestyle products, buzzwords, beauty trends and news stories shared by my colleagues in our daily morning meetings. 

Of course, the reality is that I’m nowhere near as cool as I think I am. There are so many things that I, shamefully, haven’t read, watched or listened to. Take, for instance, the fact that I can’t name a Billie Eilish or Dua Lipa song (I stopped listening to new music circa 2012). And Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women is still collecting dust on my bedside table (please, tell no one). Oh, and I only received my first ever Glossier delivery last month. 

It’s shameful stuff for a women’s lifestyle journalist to admit, I know. 

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The biggest faux-pas, however, is that I’d never watched Line Of Duty until recently. Sure, I’d heard everybody banging on about how great it is for the last decade. And with the sixth season on the horizon, people are banging on about it once more. But I just assumed it was another over-hyped series about sad and angry policemen that I’d have no interest in (full disclosure: I’m a weirdo who’s really not into crime series). 

But a few weeks ago, after failing to engage with any new TV show in ages (apart from It’s A Sin, obviously), I decided to see what all the fuss is about and give the first episode a go. If nothing else, I thought I’d at least be able to say I’d tried to get into it and have a better idea of what it’s about when people inevitably continued to wax lyrical about it.

Reader, I have spent these past weeks glued to my laptop, forcing myself to hit pause after three episodes in one go and furiously texting friends about how much I LOVE it. That’s right: I have entered the Line Of Duty fandom (10 years too late, but still…). 

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I’m currently on episode five of season four and, as you can imagine, this means that I have accrued a lot of observations to share and questions to ask…

What’s with Kate Fleming’s ever-changing hair?

Kate’s hair heavily distracts me from the explosions, twists and murders that open each series. From the moment she changed up her heavy fringe to a sleek pob in season two, I knew it would become a thing. We’ve since had a short crop in season three and – hold onto your hats – a ponytail (!) in season four. I cannot wait to see what comes next. 

Kate Fleming debuts a ground-breaking ponytail in Line Of Duty season 4.

Do I fancy Steve Arnott?

Hmmm, a tricky one for a single woman in lockdown. On the one hand, he reminds me of an eager sixth-form student who buys his waistcoats from the Burton sale. But I do admire a guy who’s so passionate about his job. And, as he gets lucky with a beautiful woman each season, there must be something great going on under that starched shirt. 

How do I make sense of this jargon?

I’ll come clean: I don’t know what’s going on half the time, and yet I’m still 100% here for it. I put my confusion down to spending half an hour trying to work out an acronym or abbreviation used in the first scene of the episode. TBF, IDGAF because Vicky McClure, who of course plays Kate, massively failed to decipher the show’s most-used jargon when Stylist challenged her a couple of years ago. LOL.

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Where do they pluck Ted Hastings’s one-liners from?

Mother of god, this man is a meme machine in the making. He admittedly needs to get up to speed with 2021 and stop using “wee girl”. But I wait for him to say “fella” during every interrogation because I know that’s when he means business. And god give them strength when he does. 

For a full analysis of Hastings’s colloquialisms, let me point you in the direction of this very important report by Radio Times

Watch Ted Hastings from Line Of Duty doing what he does best

Could they not let Lindsay Denton catch ONE break?

I could write my magnum opus on why Lindsay Denton is my favourite character. From the moment she delivered some home truths about what AC-12 members were up to in their personal lives, I knew I liked her. The woman went through so much shit – to the point of actually being served it for dinner in prison – that I actually didn’t even care if she was guilty of anything or not in the end. My heart honestly broke each time I saw her mopping the supermarket aisles with that vacant look on her heavily-fringed face. 

I was overjoyed that she got her redeeming moment in the end, but devastated that it came at the cost of her life. RIP DI Lindsay “Because I’m a police officer!” Denton. 

Watch Lindsay Denton being iconic in Line Of Duty

Why do I feel so sorry for the murderers? 

My pity for flawed characters doesn’t stop at Lindsay Denton. In series one, I couldn’t work out if I hated or felt sorry for DCI Tony Gates. I felt the same way about the angry fella who did all those grisly murders in season three. I even whimpered when the main bad guy DI Matthew “Dot” Cottan – “the caddy” – met his death by trying to protect Kate (how sweet!). 

This all leads me to my next question…

Am I a terrible judge of character?

Look, I know that this is why the show’s writer Jed Mercurio is considered one of the best in the business – he leaves us wondering about the grey areas between right and wrong, good and bad. But honestly, I’m worried that I’m going to befriend a serial killer one day.

RIP DI Lindsay ‘Because I’m a police officer!’ Denton

How do I make a complaint to the wardrobe department?

Nobody tunes into Line Of Duty for the fashion: AC-12 is certainly no A.P.C. But police officers can have a half decent sense of style too, y’know. Thandie Newton is a super cool goddess. It is a crime in itself that the wardrobe department thought it was OK to make her wear thick-soled black shoes that I can only describe as clodhoppers throughout season four. Uniform regulations, be damned: this is television, so just get her a pair of Nike or New Balance trainers, stat.

#JusticeForThandiesFeet

Will I ever get a good night’s sleep again?

I’m hooked on LOD and am starting to have a love/hate relationship with it. I need to make sure I leave at least half an hour between watching an episode and going to bed, otherwise I just won’t sleep. I also make a point of pressing pause mid-way through an episode, otherwise I’m left with a racing heart while desperately wanting to know what happened after the cliffhanger ending of the previous episode. With only one season left to watch after I finish this one, I really need to ration it out but I just can’t stop.

In fact, I’m off to go watch an episode right now.

Images: BBC

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