Just caught up with Series 3 Finale of Jed Mercurios’ Line of Duty on BBC iplayer. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, it is based around a police Anti-Corruption unit, A-C12.
Series 3 harks back to incidents which took place way back in Series 2. Whilst remaining believable for the most part, “suspending disbelief” became more and more stretched, mostly starting with the interview with D.I. Cottan progressing to the closing minutes of S3 finale.
During this interview, Inspector Hastings casually introduced something new to us all, by saying:
“The Caddy commands a network of corrupt police officers”.
Well that was news to me, and probably most of the viewing audience. Here of course, Mercurio was setting up the unexpected ending of an armed police officer opening fire on the interviewees.
I did expect something involving the armed guards since he cut to shot to them several times during the episode. I just did not know what. So I guess he gave us a kind of oblique clue.
The writer has consistently moved the goalposts throughout Series 3, throwing red herrings and incomplete scenes at us left right and center, making this the most filling but unsatisfying Series of all.
The plot lines have been consistently inter-tangled in Series 3, and since I am a fan of Jed Mercurios’ writing, in order to keep on top of everything, I have watched each episode many times. I suspect I am not alone in this.
There are still several anomalies which have not been addressed, but the writer tried to tie up the main loose ends in order to satisfy his significant audience by way of some written summations in the final shots.
I found it highly implausible that nobody attended Dentons’ funeral, since she actually uncovered the list and essentially brought down The Caddy. It was she who sent a copy of the list which nobody else could find, to Hastings, mere seconds before she was killed.
Hastings knew the significance of this and was the moral compass of the show. There is no doubt that he would have attended her funeral come hell or high water.
Once creating characters as strong as Hastings. I believe it is incumbent upon the writer to follow through on those traits, and not just drop them through time constraints or anything else. It weakens the whole character fabric woven so well in the audiences’ mind and reduces credibility.
Having most of the loose ends tied up is a huge positive for viewers and we should appreciate this. Many showrunners leave us dangling, even in the finale, in pursuit of their own agenda. A good example of this is David Chase the creator and showrunner of the iconic “Sopranos”.
Another scene which stretched and broke my ‘suspension of disbelief’ was the one-in-a-million shot taken by Kate. Firstly, it was against Hastings specific orders not to engage. Second she was a whole streets length away when firing the one kill shot.
Still we are expected to believe that this shot fatally struck Cottan, even though he was sitting on the right side of the back seat, beside a baddie who sat to his left in a vehicle moving at high speed.
And where was the driver of this getaway vehicle which picked up Cottan? The door was shut, the seat was empty. At least if the door had been left open, we could have been lead to believe that the driver had fled the scene. Another inconsistency.
Also, apart from bringing Kate a bunch of flowers, there was no indication whatsoever that Cottan would throw himself in front of an automatic weapon to save Kates life – and give his own. Especially when moments before he had been pointing his side arm directly at her.
His whole raison d’etre was to escape his life of the Caddy. Would he give up that for a woman he barely knew? Not a chance. Another completely out of character act.
For dramatic purposes, it allows the tidy conclusion, with Kate taking the Dying Declaration of Cottan, but in the reality of the show, it simply is too hard to believe.
So at the end of this 3 hour marathon finale, I am left feeling like I have just eaten a massive Indian takeaway. Not really knowing what I was eating, but being stuffed to the gills with the miscellaneous unknown – and wondering what was wrong.
After stuffing myself for 3 hours, I felt dissatisfied. In two hours I was hungry again for a drama which actually adds up.