‘H’ is for what the hell is going on! As we sit on the edge of our seats for finale of Line Of Duty there is one thing only the show’s ten million viewers want to know – Is Superintendent Ted Hastings REALLY the big bad apple?
Tomorrow brings the finale of the fifth series of Line Of Duty and there is one thing and one thing only that the show’s ten million viewers want to know.
Is Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) really the big bad apple in a police orchard stuffed full of utter rotters?
Please say it is not so. Since LOD began, Old Testament Ted has been the true north in the show’s moral compass, catching bent coppers with zeal, with nerves of Ulster steel and his best team at his side; Detective Inspector Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston.)
Is Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) really the big bad apple in a police orchard stuffed full of utter rotters? Please swipe your iPads in the AC-12 approved manner, and refer to document one in your folder, metadata entitled The A to Zed of Ted
Their mission is to unmask H, the corrupt high-ranking police officer turned criminal mastermind who commands the Balaclava Gang — but has the highly principled Hastings double-crossed everyone, and been the guilty party all along?
The evidence is mounting up against darling Ted, last seen languishing in a cell in his prison issue trackie bottoms.
With his authority diminished and bereft of a Venetian blind to peer through in a suspicious fashion, he was a sorry sight — but at least his hair still looked lovely.
However, Ted’s glorious foliage is not the not the only thing we are going to comb through for clues.
Please swipe your iPads in the AC-12 approved manner, and refer to document one in your folder, metadata entitled The A to Zed of Ted. This is a guide to Line Of Duty’s top cop as he faces his toughest challenge yet — proving he is not bent.
G is for Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker, pictured right), aka Jessica Rabbit in a polyester blouse. Conniving lawyer Gill is always trying to get Ted to retire, either from the force — or to bed with her
A is for AC-12, Ted’s beloved Anti-Corruption Unit based at Polk Avenue station. It is also for AC-3, the Anti-Corruption Unit from Decker Avenue station investigating Ted’s Anti-Corruption Unit following indications of corruption that seem very far from anti.
Got that? AC-3 seems entirely staffed by terrifying wee girls who won’t do what Ted tells them. Witches.
B is for Bent Coppers, which is the one thing that Ted is interested in catching. So far in this series the following have been unmasked as bad ’uns; Sergeant Jane Cafferty, DCS Hargreaves (deceased), PC Maneet Bindra (deceased, played by Maya Sondhi, pictured) and idiot Patrol Unit officer Kieran Bloom who spread oil on the road to fake a car crash. Ted’s radio went on the blink at that exact moment, a slippery coincidence — or was he literally sucking on diesel? Time will tell.
J is for LOD jargon. Under Ted’s tutelage, we have all learned so, so much. We know to respect the word of the TFC (tactical firearms commander) who might be responsible for GSW (gunshot wounds)
C is for Detective Chief Superintendent Patricia Carmichael, played with chilling calm by Anna Maxwell Martin. Or as Ted has it: ‘Not Patricia bloody Carmichael. That one has been fast tracked since day one. She hasn’t put in the same years as the rest of us mere mortals. She will see my scalp as a step up the ladder, believe you me.’ Carmichael admits she is out to prove that Ted is H — what does she know that we don’t?
D is for ‘definately’, Ted’s misspell from hell. It was used by the real H to send text messages to the OCG (Organised Crime Group). When Ted was masquerading as H and sending them fake messages, he made the same spelling error. This means he actually is H, or that he has embarked on a complicated one-man vigilante rogue plan to unmask H. I think.
E is for evidence against Ted, chiefly the £50,000 in bank notes given to him by a retired colleague. Let us not forget his laptop, which he hurriedly bubble-wrapped and stashed in a computer repair shop. And the odd way he greeted OCG operative Lisa McQueen (Rochenda Sandall) as if they knew each other. If he is a criminal mastermind, he is not a very good one.
F is for Fahrenheit. Code name for the order given by Ted when Arnott and UCO John Corbett (Stephen Graham) faced each other at gunpoint. We didn’t know what it meant, but Ted explained it from the back of the surveillance van. ‘The order is Fahrenheit, which means lethal force is authorised when there is a threat to life,’ he obligingly bawled. A lawful order from a commanding officer? Or was Ted mad because Corbett had admitted to torturing his wife, Roisin. Speaking of which . . .
Since LOD began, Old Testament Ted has been the true north in the show’s moral compass, catching bent coppers with zeal, with nerves of Ulster steel and his best team at his side; Detective Inspector Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston)
G is for Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker, pictured), aka Jessica Rabbit in a polyester blouse. Conniving lawyer Gill is always trying to get Ted to retire, either from the force — or to bed with her. She went back to his hotel room, but did they sleep together? Or did he read aloud passages from the Bible and press her tights on his ironing board, while she showed him her latest briefs? Gill seems a bit mad and is weirdly keen to punish Ted. Could she really be H? ‘Definately’.
H is for Ted’s hair, which seems to have an ecosystem all of its own. His scalp might be much in demand (see C) but pray tell with what does he wash his bouffant that produces such a magnificent lustre? Insiders say it is Lagan Bubble Shampoo, followed by a creme conditioner in a custom-made shade called Ulster Silver Fox. Because he’s worth it.
I is for Incidents In The Past which inform the future. Ted’s history as a Catholic officer serving in the RUC during The Troubles is somehow enmeshed with John Corbett’s Belfast background. His father was the victim of a paramilitary murder, while a newly promoted Sgt Hastings investigated the disappearance of Corbett’s mother. Shortly afterwards Ted was on prolonged sick leave after being seriously injured by a pipe bomb. Has a vengeful Corbett been gunning for Hastings all along?
L is for Location, Location, Location. Ted’s fiefdom is his AC-12 office, the glass bridge outside that office and the existential drear of his hotel room with its broken cistern and air of despair
J is for LOD jargon. Under Ted’s tutelage, we have all learned so, so much. We know to respect the word of the TFC (tactical firearms commander) who might be responsible for GSW (gunshot wounds). We understand developed vetting and what ‘clear to approach’ means. We totally get the Covert Unit, phone triangulation and high value offenders. Any fool knows Obs are observations and, as Fleming helpfully pointed out last week, regs are regs. Going forward.
K is for Kettle Bell Property Partners, the company in which Ted invested his life’s savings, in an Irish property deal that went awry. Former DCI Mark Moffatt (Patrick FitzSymons) kept popping up to promise to make good Ted’s losses, but framed him instead. WTAA? (Wot’s that all about?)
L is for Location, Location, Location. Ted’s fiefdom is his AC-12 office, the glass bridge outside that office and the existential drear of his hotel room with its broken cistern and air of despair. He has also been to the Flicker nightclub, marched across the hideous carpets at Police HQ and is always promising everyone drinks in the Red Lion, which never materialise. Other key LOD locations include the Eastfield Depot, Kingsgate Printing Services, the Pulton House Brothel and the Jetty of Doom, where at least two people have been murdered.
M is for the H-shaped muddle we have to sort out before the end of tomorrow’s 90-minute finale. Primarily, who the hell is H? Plus, is Ted a good cop or a bad cop? Was John Corbett a good cop who went bad; is Lisa McQueen a baddie who is actually a goodie; will Steve make a recovery from his old back injury and is there a possibility that blue-eyed girl Kate Fleming is the real criminal boss?
N is for nerves, portrayed on LOD by trembling hands. So far, Ted’s have been rock steady. In series three, armed response unit officer Danny Waldron (Daniel Mays, left) seemed an ice-cold killer, but still ended up dead.
O is for Operation Pear Tree, the undercover assignment that saw Corbett embedded with the OCG. Ted was not impressed with his activities, which included a betting shop robbery, the recruitment and blackmail of a civilian administrator, two hijacks, sale of narcotics, four officers murdered and a drugs, cash, bullion and jewel heist worth £50 million.
P is for promotion, which is what DI Fleming got and what DS Arnott did not. ‘She is a great wee girl doing a bang-up job,’ says Ted. But is she really? That big house she lives in is suspicious for a start.
Q is for Queen and Country — whom Ted serves to the letter of the law.
R is for Roisin, Ted’s beloved wife, played by Andrea Irvine. They married at 18. ‘She was the only one. And we waited,’ Ted told Steve. But Roisin has met someone else and wants a divorce. ‘We made vows,’ Ted pleaded. She was tortured by Corbett and disappointed by Ted’s sympathetic overtures. ‘Oh, your precious regulations!’ she snapped. She knows how to hurt a man.
S is for Steve Arnott, the waistcoat warrior who might have to crack the case alone. Can Ted rely on his skills of detection to defend him?
T is for Ted-isms. Mother of God. As in the battle. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Now we’re cooking with gas. My rank is superintendent and you will address me as such. You are treading a thin line fella, wafer thin. I back my officers to the hilt. Do not sit down! Give me strength. I’m being framed!
E is for evidence against Ted, chiefly the £50,000 in bank notes given to him by a retired colleague. Let us not forget his laptop, which he hurriedly bubble-wrapped and stashed in a computer repair shop
U-bend. Ted’s one is currently blocked. Let’s move on.
V is for vehicles. Since series one, convoys are always being attacked with lethal force. In series five, may I refer you to the hijack of Transport ED-905 on February 15 and the hijack of ballistics transport BC-556 on the February 27. I rest my case, but not in an unmarked police vehicle.
W is for whisky. Ted has been drinking a lot this series. ‘A whisky please, with one piece of ice,’ he ordered in one bar. He never used to have ice in his drinks. What does it all mean?
X is for X-ray vision, what you need to see through this complex plot.
Y is for you, the viewers. Line of Duty is the most watched show on TV this year, with an average of 10.6 million viewers per episode. Tomorrow night’s finale looks set to smash all LOD viewing figures.
Z is for zest, which AC-12 have always used in their pursuit of criminal coppers and serial wrongdoing. After tomorrow night, there will be no more zest. Perhaps we’ll just get the pip.
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