'Line of Duty' came to its highly-anticipated end this week, with writer Jed Mercurio packing even more into the final episode than he had into the previous five.
After the stately interrogation scenes of the past shows, the pace definitely picked up a notch. Nobody was sleeping, with Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes) playing the piano and finally finding her eyeshadow, Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) regarding her like an impressed puppy, and Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) curled up with only her car dashboard for company.
DI Denton - guilt or otherwise left unsorted until the very end
With all the performances continuing their high calibre, special praise must go this week to Adrian Dunbar. As AC-12 boss Hastings, his weariness in dealing with Dryden, the man who'd previously promised him a golden future, was matched only by his palpable contempt for Prasad, a fellow officer he'd been forced to promise immunity. He did an awful lot with a stare this week, and that left eyebrow of his deserves a separate gong, too.
Meanwhile, a much more groomed Lindsay Denton was busy invoking all kinds of unprofessional feelings in Arnott, much to the confusion and annoyance of his fellow AC-12ers.
This is what writer Jed Mercurio does so well, create chasms of doubt and distrust where none previously existed, as well as placing fresh cards in hands we know to be less than trustworthy.
"I'm on it, sir," Dot Cotton told his boss calmly, before luring the be-sticked Neil Morrissey to a woody glade and trying to persuade him to 'remember' that Cole was the Caddy. Glad this pair had their big scene, although it did turn into a bit of a caper. A bit of light relief, perhaps, if you can give that term to two corrupt cops, before we settled in for the final, weighty, denouement which turned out to be far more tragic and multi-layered than had been apparent.
Underestimate DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) at your peril...
No 'Midsomer Murders' trick of picking the most famous name in the supporting cast and making them the murderer for Mercurio. Instead, he unpeeled the onion sufficiently so that we had both sympathy and suspicion for the culprit right until the last scene.
And in the best twist of the night… It turned out that pesky terrier Steve Arnott hadn't been so silly after all. How did he get to the heart of Denton? "Because she underestimates me just like you do," he told his belatedly impressed colleague. Never mind, DS Arnott, we'll know not to make that mistake next time. Which, judging by the intelligence of this series and the reception to it across the block, cannot come soon enough.
But in the meantime, presumably those engraving types at BAFTA are already busy checking how to spell Keeley… that's three E's, yes? Just checking.
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