Review: Line of Duty (Series 4, Episode 3)

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80%
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Thrilling

A slow to start episode ended in an explosive, edge of your seat, violent act. What will happen next week? I don't think anyone can predict it.

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Big spoilers ahead…

The question on everybody’s lips after that jaw dropping cliffhanger is – is Steve Arnott dead?!

He surely must be after that vicious encounter with the balaclava man, in which he hit him over the head repeatedly and threw him down the stairs. Well, last week I asked for a shake up in the AC-12 team, and that was most definitely achieved, albeit in the most explosive way.

I don’t think anyone could have seen the latest suspect in the hunt for balaclava man coming. The last scene of Sunday’s episode saw Roz Huntley’s husband Nick (Lee Ingleby) engaged in a heated phone call with Steve (Martin Compston), only for Steve to be brutally attacked moments later by the ‘balaclava man’. It left the audience terrified for Steve, who has been a part of Line of Duty since day one. It’s a twist that also sends the audience into a spin over the death of Tim Ifield (Jason Watkins). The majority of the viewers believe Roz (Thandie Newton) had killed Ifield in self defence after the mindblowing cliffhanger of episode one. As we never saw the resolution of that shocking moment, a new thesis is in contention. Is it possible that Roz pushed Tim away and fled the flat, giving a reason to her nasty wrist injury? Did Nick follow Roz to Tim’s flat? Could Nick have believed they were having an affair or deduced that Tim attacked his wife, and killed him? All of this is now possible following this revelation.

However, this episode only marks the halfway point of the series, with three episodes to go before we have all the answers. Is Nick really the balaclava man? Wouldn’t this be a premature reveal? If he’s not the culprit, then could there be multiple ‘balaclava men’? I believe that Nick has killed Tim, with the writers of Line of Duty well known for their trickery; if you can be sure of something – i.e. that Roz murdered Tim – it’s probably not true. But for Nick to be revealed as the balaclava man so early seems too easy for Line of Duty.

What this does mean though is if anyone finds out Nick (if it was indeed Nick) was wearing a balaclava when he attacked Steve, AC-12 may jump to the conclusion that Roz knew that her husband was guilty and framed Michael Farmer. They could also assume she killed Tim to cover up her secrets. Could Roz be completely innocent, but found guilty by AC-12?

This is when I wish the series was on Netflix so I could binge-watch the whole thing. I cannot wait for the next episode, to see if Steve really is dead, and if so, how Kate (Vicky McClure) reacts, given her current undercover position.

Line of Duty continues next Sunday at 9pm.

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