Warning! This article contains Line Of Duty spoilers of the highest order.
However, there’s been one sticking point that many fans have been unable to get over – if Buckells was H, why was he so nervous before Lee Banks killed Jimmy Lakewell?
The scene – which aired earlier in the series and saw Buckells shaking as he watched the slimy solicitor murdered in his prison cell by a member of the OCG – didn’t make a lot of sense to many viewers in light of Buckells’ unmasking as “the fourth man”, given he would have likely been the one to give the order to kill Lakewell.
Well, now Alastair Natkiel, who plays Lee Banks, has shed some light on the situation,
In an interview with Metro, he said: “I have seen a couple of comments where people say ‘Well, if he knew that it was happening, why was he so scared?’
“I think the point is that he’s not this criminal mastermind. He’s not a hardened criminal himself. All he’s basically done, as he says in that final episode in his final interview, is he’s basically been facilitating the OCG by passing messages on and diverted operations within the police so the OCG can carry out their work.”
Alastair continued: “He’s never killed anyone. He’s never slit anyone’s throat. So even if he knows it’s about to happen, and even though he might have had some part in the message coming to [Lee Banks], that doesn’t stop him being nervous about what he knows he’s about to see.”
Many fans had struggled to understand quite how the incompetent Buckells came to be unmasked as the so-called “fourth man”, despite repeated explanations from actor Nigel Boyle and the show’s writer Jed Mercurio.
Jed said recently on the Obsessed With Line Of Duty podcast: “We’d been directing the audience towards a particular image of the kind of character that ‘H’ would be, that ‘H’ would be a criminal mastermind, and we wanted to make different commentary on the way in which someone can do a lot of harm without necessarily being a mastermind.
“You think [Buckells] is just a bit rubbish and so he doesn’t care. And that ended up being part of the evolution of the character.”
Despite the mixed reception to the series six finale, it has become the UK’s most-watched episode of a drama series in the 21st century so far, after official ratings showed it had an audience of 15.24 million.
This is 80,000 higher than the previous record, which was set by an episode of Heartbeat on ITV in February 2000 with an audience of 15.16m.
The entire Line Of Duty boxset is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.