Jed Mercurio, you better not have killed our Kate. You BETTER NOT.
Episode five ended with a bang. Or rather, two bangs. But seeing as the screen cut to black before two shots were fired in quick succession, we're about to spend the next week wondering: who got shot, and has Line of Duty season six just killed off yet another character (or two)?
Is it (God forbid) DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure)? Or has evil weasel PC Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper) finally been bumped off? Or has DCI Jo Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) become the latest guest star to make a mid-season exit in dramatic fashion?
The two people with their fingers on the triggers were Ryan and Kate, who were screaming variations on "Ryan, drop the gun!" and "drop it, Kate!" at each other. Did both of them fire their guns, and if so, who fired first? Did the bullets find their targets? Did they shoot at each other, or did one of them shoot at Jo? Or did someone else with a gun arrive on the scene?
So, let's recap what we know about the run-up to the shooting.
What happened at the end of episode 5?
At Jo's invitation, Kate went to meet her at their usual crowded bar for a heart-to-heart. But then, when Jo sent her new instructions to meet for a private chat at secluded, unlit, dingy a lorry park for a private chat, she... actually went? Either this was incredibly naive, or she was counting on AC-12's surveillance following Jo, or she had some other plan that we've not been clued into just yet. At the moment it just looks like a really, really bad decision.
After a quick chat on the phone with old pal DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) while she was parked up and waiting for Jo, Kate was brought up to speed on the AC-3/9/12 merger and the sudden takeover of Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin), who had literally just canned the surveillance ops on Terry Boyle, Ryan, and Jo. What convenient timing! Carmichael forced Steve to hand over his phone, but at least Kate managed to text him anyway with the lorry park's address. Steve hit the road alongside Chloe (Shalom Brune-Franklin), Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), and a very fed-up looking Carmichael.
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Back at the lorry park, Jo finally arrived, Kate got out of the car for a chat (why, Kate, why?), and Jo apologised to Kate for her impending death ("I'm sorry, Kate. I'm so sorry.") At which point, Ryan emerged jumped out of Jo's car with his gun trained on Kate. Whoops!
Perhaps to buy herself some time, Kate did a little verbal sparring: "You've got the bottle of someone who's already half drowned. Put the gun down, stop trying to act like a big man, you're a little boy." (Good stuff, Kate.) She got Ryan boasting about the other police officers he'd killed, and about how his workshopped gun and ammunition would be untraceable – and then she decided to bluff.
"You've thought of everything. Except surveillance," Kate told Ryan, who finally looked a little flustered. "AC-12 were watching the workshop, they saw you make the call to the OCG, they were tracking you both. You're never going to get away with this." (This was, of course, part truth and part lie, as the surveillance teams had all just been stood down.)
"It makes sense," Jo said, to a furious Ryan. "It's what I would do. Why would she come here otherwise?" Why indeed.
Hilariously, Jo then tried to sidle away to her car – distracting Ryan (probably unintentionally) so that he swung round and fired over her head to scare her. That gave Kate enough time to pull out her own concealed gun (yes, Kate, yes!) and point it at Ryan.
The two of them started screaming at each other, Jo started screaming at both of them, cut to black, two gunshots, the end.
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Who got shot? Did Kate die?
We hardly want to consider it, but we have to admit: there's a strong possibility that Kate's a goner. The BBC's synopsis for episode six says: "As AC-12 struggle to deal with the repercussions of tragic events, Hastings makes one final bid to uncover institutionalised corruption before his time runs out."
TRAGIC EVENTS! That's not good at all. If Ryan's dead, that would hardly be considered tragic. Jo's death might be considered a little tragic. But Kate dying? That would definitely count as "tragic events".
It also seems likely that Ryan and/or Kate was shot (fatally or otherwise), as they were the ones pointing their guns at each other. Jo was off to the side, and if either Ryan or Kate had swung round to shoot her instead, they'd make themselves vulnerable to being shot themselves.
Plus, Kate could make a reasonably quick switch to aiming at Jo, but – because Jo was standing a little behind him – Ryan would have to really swing his gun around. You have to think about the logistics.
The other possibility is that someone else arrived on the scene, and fired a gun of their own. They'd have to have arrived swiftly and silently, but it's possible. Perhaps someone else from the OCG? Or perhaps AC-12 managed to leg it over to Menton Road Lorry Park in time to save the day? (But, to our knowledge, none of the AC-12 group were carrying guns.)
On the other hand, there are clips of both Jo and Kate in the season six trailer which we have yet to see. Take a look at 00.43:
Surely that means they both survive the shootout? But how do they get from here to there? Also, Adrian Dunbar has teased that there has already been a "very big clue" dropped as to what lies in store for next week.
As a final note, none of that trio –Ryan, Jo and Kate – are in the cast list for the next episode, which must be a deliberate decision by the BBC to stop us guessing. Well played. But we'll never stop trying...