Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Arts

Duty Calls

Line of Duty‘s back and Hannah Dunleavy will be blogging all the episodes here. She’s put her police lanyard on and everything.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 15/03/2016 - Programme Name: Line of Duty - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Detective Constable Kate Fleming (VICKY McCLURE) - (C) World Productions - Photographer: Steffan Hill

DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McLure): she’s here if you need to talk. Photo courtesy of World Productions. Photographer: Steffan Hill.

Series one and two
Here’s where I am before viewing series three. The first season was OK, not always great material elevated by some good acting and the reassuring presence of Lenny James. The second was a vast improvement, stepping away from some dreadful stereotypes (of which Gates’ stock character wife, played by Kate Ashfield, was the most horrific example) and putting some more meat on the bones of AC-12’s central trio.

I wasn’t keen on the flashback that explained series two, I’m not keen on the what happened nextstuff at the end. (Fake captions should only ever say things like Denton came second in Britain’s Got Talent: Behind Bars and her first album Live From Milton Keynes Prison is available at the iTunes store.)

So, Line of Duty: not perfect, but hugely enjoyable, with a winning hand in Adrian Dunbar, Martin Compston and Vicky McClure. Not only doing a fine job, but also in possession of six of the world’s most beautiful eyeballs.

No idea what the third series will hold, but past experience suggests, a piano, gratuitous hand maiming and Steve shagging someone inappropriate. FAIR WARNING: I reserve the right to grumble unreservedly if it’s Kate.

“Danny’s hobbies include running until he chunders and hanging around outside his colleague’s homes with binoculars. Winner.”

AC-12 3.0
Since series two made the smart move of giving us a look at the domestic set ups of Arnott, Fleming and Hastings, it was hardly surprising we got a little hint of how home life might look now. To wit: Kate’s probably still on the outs with her husband; Steve’s probably not still with the girlfriend who looked exactly like him; and Ted’s got the steel-eyed glare of a man who probably isn’t back together with his wife. I’m probably wrong on all of this.

Oh, and Steve’s having some pre-sexy times car-park antics with someone, who doesn’t seem terribly interesting right now, but I’m sure will have a connection to something vital somewhere. Because Steve.

Meanwhile in the office, he and Dot have both bought a blue suit (and it seems, worked out a rota for who’s wearing theirs today) and the tape with the obnoxious horn that goes on for an eternity has been replaced by some new technology. I kind of miss it.  

Steve (Martin Compston). Just where IS he going to put it next? Photo courtesy of World Productions. Photographer: Stefan Hill.

DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston): just where IS he going to put it next? Photo courtesy of World Productions. Photographer: Stefan Hill.

Oh boy, Danny
One of the most satisfying things about the previous two series has been the nuance of its baddies. Gates wasn’t a saint, but, ultimately, he was brought down by a poor choice, made before all the facts were clear. And Keeley Hawes’ Denton was essentially a decent sort who had tried to right a wrong, with another wrong.

So, when Daniel Mays’ Danny came snarling out of the trap, literally all guns blazing, I did wonder how we were ever going to be expected to empathise with this tool. A killer, a bully, a liar and, shudders, a regulations quoter. With hobbies including running until he chunders and hanging around outside his colleague’s homes with binoculars. Winner.

Nonetheless, by the time someone inevitably shot him the first chance they could, the reveal of a wider mission and hints of abuse, maybe in care, had started to nudge Danny towards the category more to be pitied than be scorned.

Inexperienced as I am in the world of neck wounds, I’m not sure if he’s dead or not. But if he is, Mays can feel confident he’s left his mark on the series in very short order.

“No idea what the third series will hold, but past experience suggests, a piano, gratuitous hand maiming and Steve shagging someone inappropriate. I reserve the right to grumble unreservedly if it’s Kate.”

The three musketeers
It’s early days, but Waldron’s team seem pretty thinly sketched, especially as they remained impervious to Kate’s questions. Although to be fair, Kate’s MO, unchanged since she was rumbled by Denton, hasn’t really produced results since series one.

Elsewhere, there’s shenanigans with a phone in an envelope and Will Mellor. The mind boggles.

The numbers
Neil Morrissey sightings: 0
Kate saying,I’m here if you need to talk: 0
Pet rehomings: 1 definite, 1 likely
Mentions of The Caddy: 0
Incidences of people having sex with their own wife: 0

The big questions
Compston’s a Scot. Why isn’t Steve Arnott?
Is there such a thing as a nose witness?
Same time next week?

@funnypunts

Read all of Hannah’s Line of Duty blogs here and catch up on all the episodes via BBC iPlayer here.

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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.