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Line Of Duty Series 5: Episode 4 - Review

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If anyone had four episodes marked as how long Stephen Graham's John Corbett would last before his death, then congratulations. His days were increasingly numbered as the episode went on, be it in the standoff between him and Steve or in those final, cold moments, when he was knifed in the back after blowing his cover to protect lives. It was a classic Line of Duty twist that ups the ante and the tension going into the final two episodes which - based on what we've seen so far, are going to be nail-biting. We still don't know who H is - it's unlikely that the emails are coming from somewhere in Spain, and whilst there is some pretty incriminating evidence that Hastings is H that was thrown our way this episode, right from the big red flag that was the definitely" misspelling, that could easily be justified by the fact that he was either under pressure, or trying to replicate H's moves. It's not a giveaway, but even if it were, would it be cool enough to see that we - and the entirety of AC:12 just witnessed H talking to his OCG?

Other theories are still up in the air, of course. I've seen a couple of people suggest Kate of all people being H (although when the show started, she seemingly wasn't highly ranked enough to be pulling the strings). It's important to remember that it's hard to rule anyone out on Line of Duty, and it's pointless to guess who is the top man (or woman) because there'll always be another twist. It seems that we are headed towards another one of Line Of Duty's beloved interrogation scenes (we haven't had an extended one yet this season), but is it possible Hastings is about to be the man in front of the questions rather than answering them? Regardless of whether or not he is actually H, the odds are against him. Steve has shared information on the meeting at the Pallisades Shopping Centre with Hastings - and Hastings is the only senior officer who knew, suggesting that he could have been involved somehow. Although the Shopping Centre could have been a bust from the word go, a trick to work out if Corbett was the Rat. Lisa McQueen has shown this episode just how smart and calculated she is, although judging by her reaction to Corbett's death, could there be more to her character than meets the eye? Could there be another UCO in the OCG? And could Lisa have been one all along? Or did her reaction just betray some of her humanity towards a co-worker?

The ending was one of the coldest that Line of Duty has done. I did think that Corbett wouldn't make it through the season pretty early on as life for an undercover cop is never without its risks and he seemed too far gone after last episode to get off in the clear at the end even if he played a role in stopping the OCG. It's worth noting though that there's always a chance Corbett wasn't directly responsible for killing Hargreaves, and he could have been killed in the hospital to point the blame on Corbett and to stop him from talking. It's evident that Hargreaves isn't H though, as the real H had to have been around longer than Hargreaves was. Hastings fits that bill.

The Shopping Centre scene put Steve in a similiar situation to what he found himself in at the very start of series one when he killed a man who turned out to be innocent. Regardless of Corbett doing everything he could to goad him and Hastings, including admitting that he was involved in torturing his wife, Steve was reluctant to go through with the kill order despite Hastings initiating "Fahrenheit". This saw Hastings lash out on Steve once the two were in the same room again together, and it's pretty clear that tensions are high in AC:12, and about to get even higher. Nobody trusts anyone anymore and the pieces are in place for another good few gamechangers to come just yet.

Hastings was on the receiving end of an apparent bribe this week too from Moffat, which could set him up as regaining the funds lost to the Kettle Bell Property Scheme. This could be a loan repayment, it could be something to place the blame on him. I like how the series has provided plenty of good, plausible explanations of Hastings' innocence for H's crimes - no matter how guilty they appear, even if the man isn't helping himself. The coincidences do seem to come thick and fast though.

Episode 4 was Stephen Graham's episode - as in his final moments on the series, he established Corbett to be up there with one of the best Line of Duty characters to date, which is saying something. This had echoes of the tightly woven The Departed, that wasn't afraid to resort to moments of shock and awe when it was ready to do so, before lifting the final curtain and leaving us stunned. Just when you think Jed Mercurio can't possibly outdo himself - he raises the stakes all over again.

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