Line of Duty season 6, episode 6 recap – the calm before the final storm

By Alix Turner
Published: April 27, 2021
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Line of Duty season 6, episode 6 recap – the calm before the final storm


The penultimate episode of Line of Duty trades action for tension, with the Big Interrogation Scene dominating the hour.

This recap of Line of Duty season 6, episode 6 contains spoilers.

This penultimate episode of Line of Duty was quiet compared to most. It was not action-packed, and neither did it supply many answers. After the last couple of episodes, this was frankly a relief, though it was still tense; the kind of tension you feel when you’re waiting for something to happen. There was plenty of taking stock of what we know and don’t know, some cards put on the table and some held close to the chest.

Episode six was also the one with the Big Interrogation Scene. This recap will therefore be split into three parts: before the interrogation, the interrogation itself, and after the interrogation.

Line of Duty season 6, episode 6 recap: Before the interrogation

The end of last week’s episode saw PC (yeah, really) Ryan Pilkington and DI Kate Fleming pointing guns at each other, while Acting Detective Superintendent Joanne Davidson tried to stay out of it. This week’s episode opened with AC-12 cars screeching to a halt at the location of that stand-off, a grimy lorry park: Pilkington was on the ground and Fleming’s car missing. “If you hadn’t withdrawn our bloody surveillance,” says Superintendent Ted Hastings to Detective Chief Superintendent Patricia Carmichael, but she doesn’t respond, and doesn’t seem flustered. She issues an order for Fleming’s and Davidson’s arrest.

Fleming, meanwhile, is with Davidson – is looking for sanctuary. Davidson adds her fingerprints to Fleming’s gun, in the hope to gain her trust, and they switch to Arnott’s car. It looks like they can put pretense aside now and Davidson tells Fleming she had hoped an ex-AC-12 officer in her team would offer her some resistance against “them” because she had been sucked more into the control of Organised Crime ever since she joined the force. But turning away from the Dark Side would be suicide. Davidson did, however, admit that Tommy Hunter was her mother’s brother; and said her father was a bent cop. She guided Fleming past Gail Vella’s house and declares she intends to provide evidence that she was not bent herself.

Back at AC-12, DC Chloe Bishop has been ordered to update the Operation Lighthouse evidence. Apparently, that means shredding Chief Constable Philip Osborne’s photo, while Carmichael watches from the main office. Carmichael gets a call and heads out: has someone spotted Fleming?

Fleming and Davidson have driven a little farther and are just considering the proximity of the old print shop (where the OCG used to meet) to Terry Boyle’s flat when sirens blaze towards them. Despite Fleming’s heavy swearing and excellent defensive driving, they are pursued to a stop by several cars. Armed police, helicopters, and then Fleming’s own colleagues oblige them to get out of the car. Doing her best to restrain a tear, Fleming tells Davidson, “Jo, we’re being framed.” It’s only when Arnott comes to talk to Fleming that they both cooperate: he’s firm that neither he nor Hastings gave her up. She looked truly hurt and I thought she was going to hold the gun to Arnott briefly until she put it on the ground. Maintaining professional relations at least with Arnott, she tells him about Pilkington confessing to the murder of Maneet Bindra and John Corbett. Both women are arrested and changed into forensic suits, made ready for interview.

Hastings and Arnott remain tentatively on good terms; though clearly stunned by events. Carmichael – with a furious smile – walks in and asks why Fleming and Arnott had keys for each other’s homes and cars. That was in case of extreme circumstances, he said, such as “an unexplained interruption in the chain of command.” She must have felt the barb there, as she spilled the news of Hastings’s “impending retirement” to Arnott and insisted he takes orders from her in the future. He conceded to her the tip about the print shop, but nothing else. Once Arnott was dismissed, Hastings asked how Carmichael knew Fleming’s location; it turns out there were trackers on all AC-12 cars, on the Chief Constable’s orders: “the Chief and I don’t trust you.”

Line of Duty season 6, episode 6 recap: The interrogation

Next morning, and there’s that long bleep signaling the start of the DIR (Digital Interview Recording): Carmichael leads Davidson’s interrogation, aided by Arnott and Hastings. Someone must have been up all night putting those document folders together. I’m not going to give you the full he-said-she-said, but instead, here are the key takeaways:

  • Anti-Corruption officers are as good at silence as they are at questions.
  • Davidson said “no comment” over thirty times in an interview that lasted nearly thirty minutes. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and the wee donkey!”
  • Tommy Hunter being her father as well as her uncle was news to Davidson and distressed her a lot.
  • She responded to Arnott better than to either of the others: “If you’re not bent, now’s the chance to prove it.”
  • AC-12 has her laptop and has seen the text conversations. The IP address for “Unknown User” is in Spain.
  • When Hastings shook Davidson with news that they had “a mountain of evidence”, Arnott took the questions back to the topic of family and Davidson opened up a little about her mother and how Hunter controlled her. Hunter had insisted she join the police back when Davidson was just sixteen: this is why her mother committed suicide.
  • Carmichael tried to steer the questions away from the topic of Tommy Hunter and was visibly uncomfortable at being undermined when Davidson continued talking about how Hunter had been betrayed by people in his own organization.
  • Carmichael intervened again (tried looking fed up with the subject) when Hastings suggested that corrupt police answered to one person at the top: “This force has uncovered no evidence of institutional corruption.” Davidson went back to “no comment” when Hastings asked about “the fourth man”.
  • Carmichael brought the questions to the investigation into the murder of Gail Vella and Davidson’s appointment to lead it. DS Ian Buckells was unaware of the memo that led to her appointment.
  • Davidson had refused to charge Terry Boyle with Vella’s murder. She looked contrite at this revelation; perhaps feeling that Pilkington wouldn’t have tried to kill Boyle if he had been sentenced.
  • Davidson admitted planting burner phones at Jatri’s home.
  • Davidson admitted delaying Carl Banks’ arrest with the armed robbery.
  • Davidson manipulated Buckells into being caught with evidence: “It wasn’t hard” (ha!).
  • Carmichael asked Arnott to make a note to check whether the charges against Buckells should be discontinued; didn’t say anything like this in relation to Jatri.
  • Davidson couldn’t say anything against Carl Banks.
  • Forensics found Gail Vella’s computers (stolen from her home?) at the print shop that the car stopped at last night. Davidson declares she was leading Fleming there to uncover the evidence, which she had figured out was there after Boyle’s arrest.
  • Davidson didn’t know Vella was looking into Lawrence Christopher’s murder; one of the suspects for which was Davidson’s cousin, Darren Hunter.
  • Davidson clammed up when the questions turned to Marcus Thurwell and Philip Osborne. Carmichael declared this to be a “dead-end”.
  • Arnott was very reluctant to raise the evidence that Fleming shot Pilkington. Davidson declared that she shot him, having taken Fleming’s gun. Arnott looked most disbelieving.
  • Davidson was firm that this was not murder, but lawfully carrying out her job, defending her colleague.
  • Davidson stated Pilkington had been assigned to the Murder Investigation Team against her will, placed to intimidate her into disrupting Operation Lighthouse. She refuses to say where Pilkington got his orders.
  • Carmichael steps in when Hastings suggest it could have been Chief Constable Osborne.

Davidson was charged and remanded in custody.

Line of Duty season 6, episode 6 recap: After the interrogation

Hastings complained loudly to Carmichael about her stamping on his questions about institutional corruption, as Davidson was their best lead to the person at the top. “We’ll get there, with time,” she says coolly. “I don’t have time,” answers Hastings (silently adding “you bastard”, I’m sure).

Arnott has his final Occupational Health warning about his drugs follow-up. He’s more concerned with his gaffer, though, who painfully philosophizes about running out of time.

Carmichael meets with Fleming and calls Crown Prosecution gullible for charging Davidson alone for Pilkington’s death. She knows Fleming had the firearms training indicated by Pilkington’s wounds, though, unlike Davidson.

Arnott meets Fleming in the car park to swap notes about Davidson: they agree she has reason to be scared, and so she’s in the vulnerable prisoner unit with security cameras watching who comes and goes. Fleming is now the senior detective on Operation Lighthouse, and together they go to check out the forensic work at the OCG workshop. DS Chris Lomax gives Arnott a stiff welcome and Fleming responds with a line she will be remembered for: “Don’t act like a tit, sarge. We’re all in it together.” Forensics has matched the machinery in this workshop to the firearms used in the ambush. They have been through the OCG van too, but not found anything worth losing their lives over. Fleming instructs Lomax to search under the floor next (he’d been hoping to head to the pub soon).

Meanwhile, Spanish police have found a lead to Marcus Thurwell, and AC-12 follow a live stream to his capture. However, when the Spanish police arrive, they find two bodies, long dead. Hastings can’t take much more.

Davidson is being settled into prison and two officers (including the nasty Merchant) stop on their rounds to observe. The episode ends with her being locked up while we hear the words of Osborne’s last press conference: “Not only does this force face enemies without, there are enemies within. I will personally see to it those enemies within are made to suffer the consequences.”

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