Sunday, April 30, 2017

Line of Duty: The Most Important Police Drama in Years.

*not my photo

Admittedly, I haven’t been enthralled with a copper series since… well, since I can remember, except for that Scandi “Wallander” though that one is more protagonist-centered rather than procedural. The show I am referring to is BBC’s "Line of Duty” which began in 2012 and is now getting the much deserved traction because of the story arc's resiliency and its ability to hoodwink the most seasoned of cop show enthusiasts with every episode.

Line of Duty’s format is seminal in a great sense of the word because the mainstay actors (Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar) in effect become supporting cast to the season’s main guest who generally are well-known actors. The current season’s person of interest is played by Thandie Newton (Beloved, Mission Impossible 2), 2nd season’s was played by Keeley Hawes (Upstairs, Downstairs) and the first, Lennie James (AMC’s Low and Winter Sun).

 The Gist:
AC 12 or Anti-Corruption Unit 12 is London Police’s internal affairs group that investigates possible corrupt police officers or “bent coppers", and they are relentless in their cause. What makes this show a cut above is the tangents from which the revelations arise. The initial issue to embark upon naturally, is to conjecture the guilt or innocence of the person under the light of the inquest, subsequently, the analytical reasoning by the viewers follows and whatever conclusion one comes up with as a spectator, many find themselves agape and wrangling with the “why?” “how” and the “what” during the finales.

Series One: The copper under scrutiny is Det. Tony Gates (Lennie James), a police officer
lauded by his peers whose weaknesses include a beautiful Jackie Laverty (Nottinghill's Gina McKee) and high-end provisions for his children. Lennie James plays Gates with great conflict that one can’t help but be both sympathetic and aggrieved with his flaws altogether. Is he bent? if so, how knee-deep is he with the criminal element of London?

Series Two: One will truly commiserate with Det. Insp. Lindsey Denton, a lonely, single, scorned woman, who has to provide the best for her ailing mother, is it incompetence or corruption that causes the death of another police officer under her watch? Or does her dark side really seal her as an all out baddie? Keeley Hawes is almost unrecognizable as the frumpy detective who plays the character with a passivity of a doormat one moment and a powder keg of raw emotions the next.

Series Three: Daniel Mays (Tivik in Rogue One) is Sgt. Daniel Waldron, the rigid SWAT team leader with axes to grind with many people both great and small in London town. Malevolent persons in position by which he plays the vigilante, even coming from within the police force. Series Three explores child abuse perpetrated by high profile people in London (lending from the Jimmy Saville case) and bullying and dissent among a police team that has to struggle between loyalty and honesty.

Series Four: Det. Chief Insp. Roz Huntley played by Thandie Newton is tough and perhaps even heartless. She implicates an innocent mentally-challenged young man and an immigrant in heavy crimes without apparent remorse. Is she corrupt for her own gain? or is she putting herself on the line to protect someone else?

Jed Mercurio:
“Line of Duty’s” creator (the aforementioned), is the ace in hand of this show. His materials borrow much from his medical career as a physician and a military man; with a writing CV that includes well-received novels like “Bodies” (also made into a TV series)and a sci-fi “Ascent,” fans of "Line of Duty" enjoy a cognizant and honest to goodness, edge-of-your-seat guessing game from the beginning to the end of each season. The arcs of the story lines have the staying power to keep audiences through and back again.

As series four concludes this Sunday, I see this one soar to the stratosphere even more and would venture to say that it’s only a matter of time before we hear one the the US’s alphabet networks adapt it there. The cat’s out of the bag, here’s a TV show that’s original and is a blueprint in the making. Give this one a tumble, I’d say, it’s quite intelligent, yes, a plot hole or two exists but the storytelling is genuine and it hits the spot.