In case you’re one of the three people in the UK who haven’t heard of it, Line of Duty is a punch-you-in-the-stomach police procedural drama that keeps on pounding its audience with shocking twists and turns.
The same thing happens to the show’s lead Keeley Hawes, whose character DCI Lindsay Denton is beaten, tortured (and even bog washed) episode after episode because she’s the chief suspect in a police corruption case after the convoy she was leading is attacked and everyone but her is killed.
Of course, the case is far more complicated than that as our leads (police corruption cops played by Martin Compton, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar) soon discover. The story takes place in the fictional English city of Central, which looks a lot like a version of Belfast filled with a Noah’s ark of accents that sound like the result of some lethal drinking sessions. You have to down a lot of whisky if you’re in a police drama, after all. It’s compulsory.
If you decide you fancy playing a drinking game while watching Line of Duty, the best one is ‘acronym bingo’. The show’s writer Jed Mercurio refuses to dumb down the writing for his audience. Indeed he seems to take a geeky delight in procedure and detail – and acronyms – that most folk don’t care about. If you have a poor memory you may need paper and pen to keep a track of everything.
However, that attention to detail is a strength rather than a weakness. The only criticism I have of the show are the soap opera style sleights of hand where realism is involved. Yes I can believe that Internal Investigation officers may have issues at home, but not all three of them at once. The same applies to some of the Dickensian coincidences that start to appear in the later episodes of the series.
At the end of the day, these are minor nitpicks compared to the overall quality of the show. Line of Duty is another great hard-hitting police drama, something that BBC Northern Ireland seem to be making a habit of recently. I’m already looking forward to series three.