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Line of Duty: Series 5: Episode 5 - Review

Ahead of the upcoming feature length season finale of Line of Duty, the show pinned the evidence on Hastings for a couple of lengthy, drawn out interrogation scenes that are the show's trademarks. Firstly, Hastings took it upon himself to pose as H, opting to go undercover alone into a nightclub to meet up with Lisa McQueen apparently not knowing whether or not Corbett is still alive. It was a tense moment as ever - with the audience and most of AC-12 still not actually completely sold about Hastings' innocence. But this episode did a long way, in my mind at least - to proving his innocence whilst actually framing him as guilty.

It's all been about trust this season - both Kate and Steve's trust of Hastings and both the audience's trust of the character. With the show's unpredictable twists and tightly woven narrative it's to Jed Mercurio's credit that the series has kept us in the dark this long, whilst also making way for entrances of spectacular new characters. With Corbett's story now told, Episode 5 saw fit to introduce us someone who is leading the interrogation of Hastings from AC-3 (because what's the point in having an organisation with the number of 12 if we don't show any organisations with lower numbers after it?) in the form of Anna Maxwell Martin, who stole the scene pretty much every time she opened her mouth in Episode 5. If we thought Hastings was going to be interrogated by Steve and Kate then we thought wrong, because the Battle of Hastings, the very, real Battle of Hastings, happened here.

The evidence stacked up against a considerably desperate Hastings who has not helped himself with his own actions and coupled with his own team betraying him without notifying him he breaks, quickly, insisting that he's being framed. This may have been the end goal of the real H all along - to set up Hastings for the fall. There's still plenty of time to see Kate and Steve change their minds if Mercurio wants to pull off one last twist about the characters' innocence, and with time running out there's even a small chance that we won't get H revealed to us this season. Pulling a Twin Peaks on us would be brutal, but it would be a fascinating way to keep the debate and stakes alive until the show returns for its sixth season. I don't see the series lasting beyond this H mystery, with possibly one season focused on trying to catch the character once we learn their identity. This is the final boss, and the show has been very much in the endgame mode for a while.

Hastings' obsession with tracking down and getting to Corbett, the man who allegedly interrogated his wife, is his undoing, the questionable Fahrenheit order that he gave to Steve in the last episode coupled with the visit to prison has all lead to the evidence mounting up in his favour. At the very least, he should have had the hindsight to tell someone about his duty and it's clear that his personal interests are getting the better of him. If anyone rivalled Martin in this episode it was Dunbar, with that interrogation scene ranking up there as some of Line of Duty's best writing. If a character was saved up to that point to make an entrance, the career-driven Patricia Carmichael seemed like the perfect fit, holding her own and making a case for her to be a compelling lead. If there was ever an intention of a Line of Duty spinoff series - this would the perfect time to put the plan in action.

Whether Hastings is innocent or not, it all depends on the actions of Kate and Steve, like it has this for much of this season. Both characters' personal lives are touched on here too - with Kate snapping at her husband and Steve's temporary reunion with his ex Sam Railston. Steve is already holding himself responsible for Corbett's death - and whilst Lisa McQueen may have been reluctant to talk just yet - I'd imagine it won't be long before she ends up dropping some more relevant information, evidently as in the dark about the identity of H as the protagonists are themselves.

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