Line of Duty: Could Ted Hastings really be ‘H’?

We examine the mounting evidence against AC-12's boss...

Is Ted Hastings corrupt in Line of Duty, BBC Pictures

**UPDATED for Line of Duty series five episode five**

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For three series, five episodes and 55 minutes, Ted Hastings was the morally upstanding spearhead of AC-12. But Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio turned the tables in the closing moments of series four, and doubt has been growing in our minds ever since.

Does Ted really care about one thing and one thing only – “bent coppers”? Or is he complicit in – or worse, in control of – the fatty layer of corruption at the top of this fictional police force?

With just one episode of series five left, and the clues stacking up, here we examine the evidence against Ted Hastings…

WARNING: SPOILERS!


Item 1 – Ted’s visit to Lee Banks

Ted visit, EMBARGOED 10pm, 21/4

Balaclava gang member Lee Banks was arrested in episode two when he was found inside the home of PS Jane Cafferty and in episode four Ted paid him a mysterious visit.

Now behind bars in Blackthorn Prison – the same place where Maneet went to see her cousin, Vihan, and where countless other balaclava associates serve their sentences – Lee looked none too pleased to see the gaffer once he realised who he was.

“I ain’t saying a word to this b***ard,” he told the guard, but Ted replied, “Sit down, fella. This b***ard’s got a thing or two to say to you,” adding with an eerily smooth voice: “Trust me. You’ll be glad you did.”

What did he tell him? That’s exactly what newly-introduced DCS Patricia Carmichael wants to know. She suspects Ted used his visit to tip off the OCG that John Corbett was working undercover – and has charged him with conspiracy to murder in light of John’s death.

Conveniently, Ted made no recording of his conversation and took along no witnesses (most unusual for an experienced copper). We know from Lisa McQueen’s police interview that the leak came from Blackthorn. It’s hard to see a version of events where Ted didn’t blow Corbett’s cover.


Item 2 – THAT wad of £50 notes from Mark Moffatt

Ted Hastings in Line of Duty, BBC iPlayer

Ted’s been struggling financially since Line of Duty’s second series, thanks to an ill-advised property investment in Ireland (which he took part in behind his wife’s back). It led to the end of his marriage, the loss of his home, and is the reason he’s currently racking up an unpaid hotel bill.

In episode four, retired copper Mark Moffatt slipped Ted £50,000. And instead of leaping back, aghast, as we’d expect Ted to react at the first sign of bribery, he merely gazed at the money while sipping from a glass of whiskey. And by the end of episode five, he hadn’t returned it – a decision he came to regret when the envelope containing it was uncovered by AC-3 during a search of Ted’s hotel room.

Ted money, EMBARGOED 10pm, 21/4

They concluded it was some sort of bribe from an unknown source (the OCG, they assumed). Moffatt denied ever handling it (which we know to be untrue) and Kettle Bell had no records of the payment. We know Ted never demanded the money, but it seems awfully odd that as an anti-corruption copper he never reported it.

The balaclava gang prey on skint policemen (remember Lisa McQueen first approached Vihan Malhotra to assist with his gambling debts?) – is the money yet more evidence that Ted is caught up in something sinister?

With his finances in dire straits, might Ted have been tempted by some money on the side just to stay afloat? Although, if that were the case, surely he’d be living in a more luxurious setting by now?


Item 3 – Ted’s irregular AC-12 orders and decisions

Ted Fahrenheit order, EMBARGOED 10pm, 21/4

After four series of upstanding policing, Ted has been behaving rather strangely of late, giving a string of odd orders to his AC-12 colleagues – and even embarking on a bonkers undercover operation.

EPISODE FIVE

Ted and his team were dramatically removed from the Operation Peartree investigation in episode five, but rather than sidle back to the office and pass on the bad news, the AC-12 boss ploughs on regardless. He recklessly communicates with the balaclava gang via instant messenger before arranging a meeting at which he plans to pose as ‘H’.

Kate and Steve raise their obvious objections and he agrees to back down, before going behind their backs and visiting the OCG’s nightclub headquarters, demanding to meet with John Corbett. The policeman surveilling the premises throw their arms up in despair, meanwhile Ted is driven to a remote warehouse. He’s eventually rescued and ‘arrested’ by AC-12 but his actions, plus the knowledge of his visit to Lee Banks, lead Kate to report her boss to DCC Wise.

EPISODE FOUR

In episode four, John revealed to Steve (and, via his secret microphone, Ted) that he had assaulted Roisin Hastings. The gaffer lost his cool, ordered Steve to apprehend him and went on to issue a “Fahrenheit Order” – authorising armed officers to shoot to kill.

Steve refused to carry it out, and allowed John to escape before questioning the lawfulness of Ted’s actions. Kate, meanwhile, was baffled by her boss’s “irregular” need to shoot John rather than allow him to lead them to H. “Sir, we’ll lose all of Corbett’s intel,” she argued.

Ted seemed awfully keen to silence the balaclava leader before he uncovered the top level of police corruption.

EPISODE THREE

Line of Duty episode 14th April, BBC

Week three gave us two suspicious orders from Ted, both of which echoed John’s exasperation at feeling directed towards small fry.

Made aware of the existence of the OCG’s brothel, Ted was faced with a decision – raid it and rescue the trafficked girls working there or use it as bait to reel in a big (corrupt) fish. Now, there’s plenty to be said for preserving human life and putting an end to the balaclava gang’s exploitation, but Ted’s decision to storm the property frustrated AC-12’s attempts to apprehend “H”.

Then, later in the episode, with the force watching the depot and John waiting on Lisa’s bent cop, a “Status Zero” was called in. Ted jumped on the radio and – despite Kate’s warnings it could be a trap – ordered Steve to investigate, redirecting him towards the traffic incident, a crash that turned out to be orchestrated by Hargreaves himself. It meant that Steve and his AFOs were absent at the moment Kate needed them to charge in and arrest Hargreaves; he would have got away, had John not shot and (accidentally – or so he claims) killed him.

Ted was technically playing by the book – but if it wasn’t for his call, Hargreaves would be in police custody rather than lying in a morgue.


Item 4 – “definately”

"Definately" EMBARGOED 10pm, 21/4

Ted’s dodgy spelling is compelling evidence he is ‘H’.

In episode three, Lisa and John in conversation with the corrupt copper via instant messenger, and ‘H’ makes a conspicuous spelling mistake, typing “definately” with an “a” instead of an “i”. Fast-forward to episode four, and Ted hijacks a conversation AC-12 were attempting to simulate with the OCG via the same messenger system.

“I can definately pull the right strings,” he wrote, in ‘disguise’ as H. Now, “definitely” is not the easiest word to spell – but in the realm of TV drama, the error felt like too much of a coincidence.


Item 5 – the wounds inflicted on Mrs Hastings

Roisin Hastings, EMBARGOED 10pm 21/4

Before he died, John Corbett was convinced Ted was ‘H’ – and even tortured his wife, Roisin Hastings, for information on the copper. The injuries he inflicted on her wrists, knees and ankles bore a resemblance to paramilitary punishment wounds, popular during the Troubles, and – according to Mrs Hastings – her attacker spoke in a Belfast accent and “said you’d know why he’d done it. He said you’d know what you’ve cost him”.

Since then we’ve been reminded of Ted’s Irish roots – his work in the Royal Ulster Constabulary, specifically a speech to Steve in series one in which he revealed he had been blown up in a pipe bomb with the only other Catholic on his team.

We’ve also learnt in episode four that John has Northern Irish roots – his father was killed in 1984 and his mother, Anne-Marie, in 1989 – murdered on suspicion of being a police informant.

Do any of these details mean Ted is ‘H’? No. More likely, they suggest a connection between the AC-12 boss and the death of John’s mother – a possible motive for the undercover cop’s attempts to pin Hastings as corrupt.

But Ted is certainly hiding something – and whether the repeated mentions of Ireland have any connection to Line of Duty’s central conspiracy remains to be seen.


Item 6 – THAT laptop

Line of Duty laptop, BBC

The mysterious ‘H’ has popped up a number of times on instant messenger to communicate with the balaclava gang (that’s before AC-12 cottoned on and tried to mimic the conversations).

It’s significant that Ted has been behaving suspiciously around a laptop a number of times. There was that moment in episode two when we witnessed him sitting in his hotel room studying his divorce papers before the camera panned out to show an open laptop which pinged with a new instant message. We never saw what it said – or who it was from – but it seems like a pretty major link given that instant messenger is also “H’s” chosen method of communication…

And then in episode three, “H” got back in contact – “it’s on,” they told John Corbett, giving him the go-ahead to raid Eastfield Depot. John and Lisa headed off to set up the operation, meanwhile the camera switched to a stressed Ted shutting his laptop and pacing round his hotel room. Again, no proven connection – but surely too significant to be a coincidence?

Fast-forward to later in the episode when Ted rushed back to his hotel room, wrapped his laptop in bubble wrap and trotted off to an electronic disposal centre.

Line of Duty, BBC

What evidence was he in such a hurry to get rid of?

Item 7 – THAT phone call

Ted Hastings in Line of Duty, BBC iPlayer

In episode one of series five we were shown Lisa McQueen driving as her phone started ringing. It was an unknown number and, while she didn’t answer it, the look on her face suggested she knew the identity of the caller.

The next shot we saw was of Ted and – guess what? – he was on the PHONE. Whoever he was ringing didn’t pick up, but it was pretty clear what was being insinuated… Could Ted and the OCG operative be in direct contact? And, if so, why hasn’t he used that line of communication in subsequent episodes? If he really did tip off the OCG about John Corbett, why did he use Lee Banks and not Lisa’s mobile number?

Item 8 – Ted’s anxiety

Ted Hastings in Line of Duty, BBC

In the final moments of episode two, we saw Jane Cafferty in an AC-12 interview room revealing to Kate and Steve that Matthew “Dot” Cottan had recruited her into the balaclava gang’s network of bent coppers.

But while Jane was shown pictures of possible suspects, we witnessed a VERY anxious Ted shooting nervous glances in her direction. We lost count of the number of times he was seen hovering by the door to his office.

The suspects Jane was presented with were taken from an investigation board sitting in AC-12’s office. Also among them were known colluders ACC Hilton (from series four), DS Jeremy Cole and Manish Prasad (both series two) and CS Patrick Fairbank (series three).

But there was an addition to the list Kate assembled – an image we didn’t see but presumably came from the board investigating the identity of “H”. Could it have been Hastings’ photo? And if so, why was he so nervous?


Item 9 – Ted’s secrets

Ted Hastings and Patrick Fairbank handshake, BBC iPlayer

It was in series three that we first discovered Ted was a Mason. Steve observed his boss’s handshake (above) with retired copper Patrick Fairbank and identified it as Masonic.

Fairbank was eventually found to be a paedophile and heavily involved in a ring of child sex abusers, convicted on the evidence of DI Matthew “Dot” Cottan’s dying declaration.

Ted was never shown to have any prior knowledge or link to the crimes, but it raised the suspicion of his colleagues for the first time. And the AC-12 boss’s Masonic connections seem at odds with the character we’ve known over the first four series – a man who claims to go after anyone he believes to be corrupt, no matter who they know or how important they are.


Item 10 – the dead balaclava man

Balaclava man in Line of Duty, BBC iPlayer

When we first witnessed Ted take out a balaclava man holding a policeman hostage in the dramatic conclusion to series four, we heaped praise on him – Super Ted to the rescue hitting his mark with chilling precision.

But John Corbett has since put his new spin on Ted’s deadly aim. Why did the Superintendent take out the criminal when he was surrounded by Armed Firearms Officers who could have done the job for him? Was he worried he might be taken into custody and blab?


Item 11 – THAT look at the end of series four

Line of Duty Kate look, BBC iPlayer

The end of series four saw Ted, DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and DS Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) assemble an investigation board setting out the far reaches of the balaclava gang – and looking into the identity of “H”.

With the surname Hastings, Ted was included on their list of suspects before he sharply instructed Kate to take down his picture.

BUT we now know that Jed Mercurio came on set to direct those final scenes of the series, and specifically instructed Kate and Ted to throw suspicious looks at each other. At that point, it was the biggest hint so far that Ted might not be as above the law as he seemed…


After five episodes of series five, that’s all the evidence we have so far – but we’re pretty confident there’s more to come in the series finale.

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Check back on this article after each episode for any more updates…