BBC One viewers were thrilled by the return of Line of Duty on Monday, even if it was only a repeat of the first season, which premiered on BBC Two in 2012.
The iconic police anti-corruption drama penned by Jed Mercurio was a hit from its debut, earning audiences of four million for season one.
A rerun or not, fans were thrilled to have it back on screen. One viewer owned the entire five seasons on DVD, but that didn’t stop him watching one more time.
— Joseph Burns (@retlivdead) August 3, 2020
For some viewers, it was their first viewing of Line of Duty season one and they were struck by how the cast, including Martin Compston as DS Arnott and Vicky McClure as DC Kate Fleming, looked so young.
— Karen Edwards ???? (@therealkarene) August 3, 2020
The quality of the writing from showrunner Mercurio earned many compliments, with killer lines like “Superintendent Hastings – like the battle!” praised by many.
— Zoë Brown (@ZoeBrown) August 3, 2020
At the heart of the drama is DCI Gates, played memorably by Lennie James, a morally conflicted copper if ever there was one. As well as being accused of “laddering” (building up his case rate by pinning crimes on the wrong criminals), he was busy hiding a drink-driving hit-and-run fatality caused by his lover Jackie Laverty.
Gates had a dark warning for Arnott, who was suspicious of the detective from early on. “You take a shot at the King, make sure you kill him…”
— Pliolite2 (@Pliolite2) August 3, 2020
The episode finished with Gates deleting photographic evidence of the hit-and-run victim, a move that had “boomerang” written all over it.
The things we do for love hey DCI Gates! #LineofDuty
— Dave McGarry (@RealDaveMc) August 3, 2020
Some viewers felt Gates was actually at heart a decent man, a brilliant anti-hero because “he’s basically a good guy making increasingly bad decisions”.
Love #LineofDuty but S1 is so good because Tony Gates is not a villain, he's basically a good guy making increasingly bad decisions played with stunning authenticity by Lennie James
— Matt W (@Clavdivs1) August 3, 2020
Many Line of Duty viewers remarked on the fact the first episode laid so many of the foundations for future storylines over all five seasons.
What an hour of television that was. Seeing it now for the third time, so much of the foundations for later series are laid in that first episode. Peerless drama #LineofDuty
— Mark O'Meara (@mark_omeara89) August 3, 2020
Line of Duty season one continues on BBC One on Tuesday night and all five full series can be watched on iPlayer.
If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.