This article contains spoilers from the first five series of Line of Duty – don’t read unless you have caught up.
It is two years since the fifth series of Line of Duty aired – and, as always, the finale asked more questions than it answered. Here is a quick guide to those we hope to resolve.
Is Dot’s morse code a red herring or is there a criminal gang of corrupt cops, lawyers and politicians?
At the end of the series, Kate (Vicky McClure) realised that Dot (Craig Parkinson) had left an undiscovered message when he died – this one delivered in morse code and suggesting that there isn’t just one H, but four of them. With three apparently dead, will this series reveal the final H – or is it yet another fiendish red herring?
What about the organised criminals? Important plot device or also yet another red herring?
Last series also saw an increasingly convoluted plot revolving around an organised crime group (OCG) with Stephen Graham’s DS John Corbett apparently working undercover to bring them down. Corbett, however, had a mission of his own regarding Supt Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) and his past. The series ended with youngest OCG member Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper) enrolling as a student police officer, just like Dot had before him. Was this an important plot point or classic misdirection? How important is the OCG to the overall plot?
What is the significance of Danny’s list?
Back in series three, Sgt Danny Waldron (Daniel Mays) was killed over the contents of a list he had compiled detailing those who had abused him as a boy and suggesting a wide network of corruption across the police force, the legal system and children’s homes. Lyndsay Denton (Keeley Hawes) was also killed over the list – so how important is it? Will we come back to it? Does the plot now revolve around the OCG? Or are the two strands somehow combined?
Is anyone safe on this show?
Given the growing death pile in recent series, I think we also know the answer to that. New antagonist DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) should be wary.
They may have banded together to save Hastings’ career, but will Kate and Steve’s relationship continue to be prickly post her promotion?
While Line of Duty generally keeps AC-12’s personal lives private, addressing them only when they affect the internal department workings, there have been interesting tensions between Kate and Steve (Martin Compston) after her promotion. The duo banded together to save Hastings’ career last series, but it seems unlikely that the tensions will simply have dissipated in the light of the collapse of the case against their senior officer.
Is Hastings guilty of widespread corruption or not?
Talking of which … how corrupt is Hastings? We know that he left money to Corbett’s widow – largely to assuage his guilt at the role he played in his death – but what did he do with the other half? It must have been tempting to keep given his own financial issues and his desperate desire to save his (almost certainly irreparable) marriage. If he is corrupt, then how far up the chain is he? And will we find out more this series, breaking a thousand Hastings-worshipping hearts in the process …
Most importantly, will we get any new Hasting’s soundbites this series?
Line of Duty can’t all be doom and gloom, twists and turns, and for many fans the show’s highlights come from the gloriously robust dialogue delivered by Hastings, much of it colloquial and added by Dunbar. Thankfully, the troubles of the last series don’t seem to have stemmed the flow, with the new trailer delivering a classic: “When did we stop caring about honesty and integrity?” Welcome back, Ted, voice of moral indignation and righteousness. Unless, of course, it’s all just another double bluff.
Line of Duty returns on Sunday 21 March, BBC One, 9pm