By Will Barber Taylor
The hit police corruption drama returns for a fourth series. When DCI Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton) captures a serial killer, Forensic Coordinator Tim Ifield (Jason Watkins) alerts AC-12 to a possible miscarriage of justice.
Series four of the hit drama, written and created by Jed Mercurio, begins with DCI Roz Huntley and her team in the thick of a career-defining case, Operation Trapdoor.
Under intense pressure to catch the culprit and prove herself to her superiors, and facing conflict with her colleague, Forensic Coordinator Tim Ifield, it’s not long before AC-12 decide to probe her handling of the investigation. A mother of two and wife to husband Nick (Lee Ingleby), Roz will do anything to stop her life unravelling. Anything.
Line of Duty is one of the BBC’s best original TV series in a long time. Set out against the plethora of other TV programmes with similar themes, Line of Duty trumps them all investigating the uninvestigable -crimes or miscarriages of justice committed by other police officers. In a current TV climate where police drama is so repetitive – a prime example being Prime Suspect: 1973 which fails to carry off either the charm of being a prequel like Endeavour or display the grim realities of police work in the 70s like Life on Mars. Line of Duty avoids such ammunition laden comparisons by being like any other police drama that has been seen on British television. Line of Duty further bucks the trend by entering its fourth series as fresh, complex and exciting as the previous three – no mean feat given that the unlike Series 3, the new Line of Duty is bereft of two of the series best characters DI Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes) and DI Matthew Cotton (Craig Parkinson) two the show’s most likeable and complex characters. However, this is all forgotten when the first episode begins – in typical Line of Duty style with a blazing opening that helps demonstrate the character of DCI Roz Huntley but also sets the stage for AC-12’s latest investigation. As always the directing on the series is fantastic with creator Jed Mercurio ‘s stunning visual opening setting the tone for the new series perfectly and enhancing the sense of urgency that leads to the capture of Michael Farmer.
The acting is as always great with the main cast (Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar) returning to their roles exceptionally well. The rivalry between McClure and Compston is perfectly played out throughout the episode. Though neither spend much screen time with Newton’s DCI Huntley, McClure particularly sparks off well with her and the tension is palpable throughout all their scenes, particularly when McClure arrives at Newton’s unit and begins looking through the Farmer case files. Jason Watkins is also exceptional and the reveal of his true personality at the end of this episode is stunningly delivered by Watkins and Jed Mercurio.
Overall, the opening to the new series of Line of Duty is breath-taking. Combining an interesting story with great performances by Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Jason Watkins and Thandie Newton, Line of Duty never fails to impress. Ending with one of its best cliff hangers yet, I can only hope that the new series lives up to the high expectations it has set for itself, actually, I know it will live up to them.
With thanks to BBC Media.