*Warning: spoilers ahead for Line of Duty season five episode one*
After a two year hiatus, the AC-12 anti-corruption team are back with a bang, and as ever, series creator Jed Mercurio packed the season opener with plenty of twists, turns — and of course, Ted Hastings ruefully shaking his head and shouting “Mother of God” at any and every opportunity.
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While Line of Duty fans will be used to Mercurio taking us on a merry, mind-bending dance, episode one featured a shock death that left viewers reeling.
We’ve all known since series four that WPC Maneet Bindra (played by Maya Sondhi) was passing sensitive information to Assistant Chief Constable Derek Hilton (Paul Higgins) who in turn fed it to the balaclava gang. But AC-12 were in the dark until series five’s opener, with Maneet’s confession prompting Ted Hastings to furiously admonish his officer for her actions.
Disgraced Maneet then reached out to the crime gang, offering her services in a bid to protect her cousin, Vihan, whose involvement with the gang had landed him in prison.
But after it was revealed her burner phone had been bugged, two balaclava men slit her throat and left her for dead (in the exact same spot Hilton’s body was discovered) – leaving viewers heartbroken.
“Am I the only one stupidly hoping some random passerby will save Maneet in time,” one fan posted on Twitter.
Am I the only one stupidly hoping some random passerby will save Maneet in time #LineOfDuty
— Sid (@HertsSid) March 31, 2019
— Neverending Ghosted Girl (@girl_ghosted) March 31, 2019
— Susie Sue (@x___SC) March 31, 2019
“I wanted Maneet to have a bigger role, but NOT LIKE THIS,” another viewer wrote.
I wanted Maneet to have a bigger role, but NOT LIKE THIS #LineOfDuty
— Amy Jones (@jimsyjampots) March 31, 2019
— Katherine the Post-Apocalyptic Postgrad (@katylou_frost) March 31, 2019
“What was the writer thinking,” one viewer posted in response to Maneet’s death, while another referred to the episode’s ending as “harsh and grim”.
Why do that to Maneet …. ?
What was the writer thinking … !
— Michael McFarland (@anote2mich) March 31, 2019
Well that was a bit harsh & grim ending…
For Maneet ???? #LineofDuty
— Denise Chester (@Chestikov69) March 31, 2019
One fan did spot the faint glimmer of a silver lining, though, suggesting that “WPC Maneet Bindra’s death may see her cousin decide to co-operate and provide crucial info to AC12”.
#LineOfDuty think WPC Maneet Bindra's death may see her cousin decide to co-operate and provide crucial info to AC12
— Pat M (@pm1online) March 31, 2019
But could Mercurio just be toying with our emotions? (Wouldn’t be the first time…) Could Maneet still be alive? In a recent interview, Maya Sondhi teased that her character could have survived the brutal attack.
“You never know with Jed, look what he did with Keeley in Bodyguard, the whole thing was about the Bodyguard and her and then he killed her off,” she told Irish Mirror.
“Craig Parkinson’s character came back in Line Of Duty before and with Jed you never, ever assume anything because you never know what is going to happen. That is all I can say, really.”
Do you think Maneet survived? Let us know your theories…
Line of Duty continues on Sundays at 9pm on BBC1