All about Hastings: how far he’s fallen off the rails and how badly it bites him. We get new characters, and those sharply written interviews are back. And it’s bloody brilliant.
This Line of Duty Season 5 Episode 5 recap contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Episode five of Line of Duty Season 5 is a blinder, thanks to Sue Tully’s experienced direction and Jed Mercurio’s canny writing: he takes the story in the doomed direction we all expected, but she ensures the tension is no lighter despite that.
Superintendent Hastings is being hasty from the start tonight, going off script when communicating with the Organised Crime Group, and proposing to meet with them even though he’s not undercover trained and his superiors had pulled his team off the case at the start of the episode. He goes to meet them and struggles – valiantly – to convince Lisa McQueen he’s H, but then his team storm in and arrest them both, which seems to confirm his story.
When questioning McQueen, AC-12 discover she’d found out about the rat in her team via Blackthorn Prison. Fleming joins the dots with Hastings’ visit to Lee Banks… And she reports his suspicious behavior, and he is arrested for real, for his “misconduct in public office”. I loved that scene: real disbelief on Hastings’ part made him push and push until the detective who waited at his hotel room had no choice but to arrest him. Apart from a couple of brief updates on Fleming’s and Arnott’s private lives, and some relevant body parts being found, episode five truly homes in on Ted Hastings, as everyone around him does too.
Chief Superintendent Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin) is tonight’s new character; and as fans guessed when her arrival was announced last week, she’s there to investigate our mate Ted Hastings. She’s one step ahead all the way in her interview of him; at first, that seems to reflect the fast track nature of her career, but by the end of the episode I find myself wondering if Carmichael is as prone to leaps in logic as Hastings himself can be. She’s a terrific character though, contrasting with Hastings with her use of both wit and professionalism.
The big character until episode four last week, John Corbett, was absent of course. Personally, I’m not going to miss him. Stephen Graham is a great actor, but he usually has much more nuanced roles than Corbett, who was little but macho angst and an accent. On the other hand, we do get to see Lisa McQueen being her natural, uncertain self for a change; and our usual AC-12 gang behaving a little like sheep without a shepherd. All our recurring characters have their weaker sides presented actually, with the exception of Gill Bigeloe: is she bad, or just kind of unpleasant?
So by the end of this episode, Line of Duty‘s beloved Ted Hastings is accused of being involved with several murders and receiving bribes. Carmichael is aiming higher than that, though, declaring to Fleming and Arnott that she’s “going to prove he is H”. She hasn’t been involved in any investigations about H, so this really does look like jumping the gun, backing up what Hastings said earlier about her ambitious approach.
If Hastings is right about being framed, that demonstrates him to be inept at his job: a sharp anti-corruption officer would have seen it happening. But if he’s successfully framed, then the real H would be well in the clear… At least until season six.
Roll on next Sunday, for the feature-length finale.