WINN COLLIERS - A BURNING IN MY BONES; The Authorised Biography of Eugene Peterson


Line Of Duty

Line Of Duty? Prophetic or pathetic? Certainly we were not starved for opinions on social media!

I am wondering if had we set ourselves up for disappointment? I mean, who did we think it might be? That final twist? Ted? Well, we have been led down that garden path with a wee donkey for series after series. It would have been too obvious. It would have been wrong.

Carmichael? Goodness, she is a cold fish. We certainly never felt she was on our guys’ side. When she looked across from her office as the prisoner was being brought in to that final interview. She had guilty written all over her smugness. Again too obvious. It would have been nice but… too obvious.

Osbourne? Head of all. Again, it always looked like him. Too obvious?

Which left us with… that tense moment when he sat down for the interview and the camera turned to show us… Ian Buckells? What! The wrong kind of shocker.  There was a twist we never saw coming. It certainly wasn’t obvious. Slimey averageness who couldn’t spell ‘definite’ as the mythical H! Well, it was a surprise… even to the actor who played him! It was a little anticlimactic!

To think that those bent coppers were meticulous to keep all that evidence in a box beneath the floor BUT no one at any stage, not even a good software spell checker, would have suggested, “Continually spelling definite with an A might give you away H.” The serial miss-speller!

It would seem to me that over 6 series and 42 episodes the Line Of Duty team put together the most popular TV drama in many many years but the length of time had left them with few options; clean out of surprises.

It is a downside of box set television that has in recent years overtaken the movie. I am ever amazed at film stars taking on TV roles. There has been a shift from big screen to binge watching of  TV series. It is obvious where the new money is. We love it but think about it. 100 minutes in a movie or maybe 7 hours in a box set. Tough job to hold a last minute twist.

I guess that was my disappointment. The drama itself fizzled out.

The message though could not have been more poignant. “Truth and integrity,” Ted kept repeating like he was thumping the pulpit. This and the idea that Buckell as an average bureaucrat "failing upwards" (surely too close to Richard Rohr’s "Falling Upwards" to be a coincidence?) to power & downwards to murder seem very on the money  if we watch the News after the episode finishes. 

Indeed “truth and integrity” might be the headline of a Prime Minister who has been asked about those things all week in reference to the furnishing of his flat. Who knew when the TV schedules were cast… though if not Boris’s flat there would have been another challenge to “truth and integrity” somewhere.

Like Ted’s sermon preached we should ALL be standing for “truth and integrity”. Not just in the police or in the government or big business. It should be the baseline of all that we all do every single day. 

Like Ted we should all realise that as the good book preaches “all have sinned and fall short…” All of us must take Ted’s post sermonic moment for a confession. All of us must put ourselves at the judgement and the mercy of “truth and integrity” 

So, for sure there was more reality than dramatic twist to the last episode of Series 6 of Line Of Duty. The reality is that badness is riven through everyone and everywhere and finding an H scapegoat does not clean it up. It’s even in the good guys like Ted, Steve and Kate who fight for that truth every day. 

If that is the aim then I might well be convinced for a seventh series. Certainly the addiction of spotting which street they are at in Belfast helps. 

But Line Of Duty is not a sermon or a philosophical podcast. It is a Drama series. No, I don’t want it to be just an escape but I do want to be entertained. It’s Sunday night at 9pm. It is prime time TV. The reality was prophetic for sure. The dramatic conclusion was not a match.

Maybe the writers were trying to out do Reality TV by putting some real reality into a drama. Maybe writer Jed Mercurio grew up on U2’s “Fact is fiction and TV reality”. No harm there. U2 have been known to preach a little too… and I on them! It is just that… when they do it best like on the afore-quoted Sunday Bloody Sunday there is a good melody and guitar riff! 


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