We’re still trying to get our heads around everything that happened in episode three of Line of Duty series five.
* Warning: SPOILERS for Line of Duty series five episode three to follow*
The death toll rose as DCS Les Hargreaves (Tony Pitts) was gunned down by John Corbett (Stephen Graham).
However, despite the revelation that senior police officer Hargreaves was a “bent copper”, we’re still left with more questions than ever.
Questions like: is Hastings bent? Is Roisin Hastings in danger? Who is “flat cap man”? And what on earth is John Corbett up to?
- Who is ‘H’ in Line of Duty? Meet the suspects
- Line of Duty: Examining the evidence against Ted Hastings
- Meet the cast of Line of Duty series five
Here are the seven big things that happened in episode three…
1. Cafferty identified Dot Cottan
Episode two’s cliffhanger turned out to be a “Ted herring” – because ambush survivor Jane Cafferty (Sian Reese-Williams) did NOT identify Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) as the bent copper who recruited her to help the balaclava gang.
The actual reason DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) were throwing each other significant looks across the room was because Cafferty pointed straight at DI Dot Cottan (Craig Parkinson).
This is a bit of a headache for AC-12 given how long Dot managed to go undetected before he was finally uncovered as “The Caddy”. As Fleming later puts it, “Dot’s a stick for everyone to beat us with. They know he undermines our credibility.”
It also looks like those shots of Hastings anxiously loitering and glaring through the glass walls were more about his anger at being excluded by his DI and DS, given his speech about how “there are no secrets in AC-12” and his reminder that he’s “still in charge around here.”
2. Hargreaves is a bent copper – but is he ‘H’?
And so the bent copper helping John Corbett’s gang with the Eastfield depot raid was none other than DCS Les Hargreaves (Tony Pitts). But was he just one of ‘H’s lackeys blackmailed into turning up that night, or was he actually top dog ‘H’?
AC-12 will never get a chance to ask him, because Corbett (Stephen Graham) got over-enthusiastic with an automatic weapon and gunned Hargreaves to death. However, at this point it seems more likely that Hargreaves was a cog in a larger machine whom Lisa McQueen (Rochenda Sandall) blackmailed into meeting them at the depot.
We also know that Hargreaves ordered PC Bloom to fake a car accident and ambush in the neighbourhood and call in a “status zero” – either to give him an excuse to be in the area at a certain time (his explanation to Bloom) or specifically to divert AC-12’s armed officers at the critical moment (as we’d also speculate).
3. ‘Flat cap man’ arrives on the scene
First we had “balaclava man” (who turned out to be many men); now we have “flat cap man” to puzzle over.
After being freed from the gang’s network of six flats on the Borogrove Estate, human trafficking victim Mariana told AC-12 through a Polish interpreter about an unusual recent visit from Lisa McQueen.
It seems Lisa ambushed one of the men who visited the flats – most likely the man whose grainy image was captured by surveillance as he walked towards the building. Mariana was also instructed to keep his condom after his visit, presumably so his DNA could be collected for blackmailing purposes. So who is this man and how does he fit into the picture?
“One of the girls said she glimpsed a woman matching Lisa McQueen’s description, around the time we know McQueen was in there,” Steve reported to Kate. “She – McQueen – was shown taking one of the johns into the bedroom. The girl said the john seemed surprised by McQueen, maybe even intimidated, but about what she doesn’t know. Middle-aged, average height or just above, heavyish build, light hair. She believes this could be him. The girl doesn’t know enough English to identify a specific region, but she thinks he had a strong accent. Definitely not local.”
Doesn’t that kind of sound a bit like… Hastings? Or, despite the hair colour, could it be Hargreaves?
It’s also worth noting the potential connection with the depot raid. If “flat cap man” is a cop, perhaps Lisa was blackmailing him to make sure her bent copper turned up at Eastfield as Corbett demanded? Maybe she was acting on the instruction from ‘H’ hinting that she “knows what to do” in order to take advantage of his network of bent cops?
Finally, which other top cops have had their sperm kept “on file” in the freezer as leverage?
4. Mark Moffat must be trying to recruit Hastings
Could a character be more shifty than Mark Moffatt? Patrick Fitzsymons’ character is a former DCI who acted as Roz Huntley’s Police Federation rep during her AC-12 interviews in series four.
He has now reemerged as an extremely pushy “investment manager” who has “joined a mate’s property development business.” Coincidentally, he’s working on the Kettle Bell complex – the very same property investment that Hastings lost all his money to back in series two. You know, the one that destroyed his finances and ruined his marriage and left him living in a poky hotel room?
We also know that the balaclava gang loves to blackmail cops going through financial difficulties, finding leverage where they can. All this means that Moffatt is practically covered in red flags when he tells Hastings that he can “secure your investment with a deposit payment” of just £100,000, before offering up a dangerous deal: “There’s a way around it. Part of the deal is to recoup your original losses. We can set up a loan facility against the credit you’ll receive when those losses are paid back.”
Surely Moffatt is trying to compromise Hastings – and surely Hastings won’t go for it, even though he has a history of poor financial decisions, and even though he desperately wants to make things up to his wife Roisin?
5. Hastings takes his laptop to be destroyed
This isn’t a good look. Just after learning that Steve has made contact with rogue undercover officer John Corbett, Ted Hastings returned to his hotel room with an entire roll of bubble wrap, parcelled the computer up and took it off to an “electronic disposal centre.” We don’t know what this means but it’s hard to come up with an innocent explanation.
6. Rogue cop John Corbett is going even more rogue
It’s hard to figure what’s going on with John Corbett (aka John Clayton) right now. The undercover cop broke contact with Operation Peartree and Alison Powell many months ago, but now he’s in touch directly with DS Steve Arnott who he apparently trusts (even though he doesn’t trust AC-12 boss Hastings). But is he sincere? Who is playing who?
In the spirit of cooperation, Corbett gave Steve a phone number for Lisa McQueen, enabling AC-12 to track her to the Borogrove Estate and Kingsgate Printing Services. He also handed over a 2005 social services letter apparently indicating that McQueen was a young offender at 15. But he was furious that Steve’s surveillance of McQueen meant both properties were raided – on Hastings’ instructions.
Despite this, and despite his suspicions about Steve’s boss Hastings, Corbett informed his AC-12 contact of the planned raid on the Eastfield depot and told him to be in place with “surveillance and firepower to take them out,” bluffing that he no longer trusted Steve enough to give him the name of the bent copper who would be there (even though we, as viewers, knew that he didn’t actually have the name yet). He then pushed McQueen to get the senior bent copper on the scene, telling her he needed to make sure he didn’t betray them.
But it all went wrong.
AC-12 responded to the dummy “status zero” call instead of apprehending the senior bent copper when he turned up, so Corbett took matters into his own hands, spraying bullets at the man (who turned out to be Les Hargreaves).
In a tense car park showdown, Corbett then ambushed Steve to wave a gun around and yell at him. He seemed genuinely shocked to find out that Hargreaves had died of his wounds (apparently he’d been aiming only at the legs, which, if true, means he has terrible aim). More convinced than ever that Hastings is ‘H’, Corbett fired a shot towards Steve and then took off, but not before warning him: “I’m on my own. And there’s no way back. I couldn’t give myself up even if I wanted to. We had a deal and you sold me out. I trusted you. This is on you. It’s all on you.”
At this point, rogue police officer Corbett seems to be going off-the-charts rogue. His next stop was Roisin Hastings’ house, where he impersonated Steve and then did a quick costume change to become a “balaclava man”, cutting the chain on her door and letting himself in. What’s he going to do to her? Will he hurt her? Take her hostage? Seek incriminating information? Pin something on Steve?
One final thing to note: this plan must have been in the works for a while, because at the beginning of the episode he was seen forging an AC-12 ID badge…
7. Gill Biggeloe is putting the moves on Hastings
Legal counsel Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker) is back in the picture, and apparently she still has the hots for Hastings – despite their history. Hastings submitted to a grim dinner where she told him he ought to retire, needling him with statements like: “Some say it’s just you who’s failing. I’m not one of them obviously.”
Last time around he rejected her because he couldn’t cheat on his wife. But this time, with Roisin filing for divorce and falling in love with another man, Hastings agreed to take her back to his shabby hotel room for the night.
Frankly, there is no way that this romance is going to turn out well.
Line of Duty continues on Sundays at 9pm on BBC1