Line of Duty, season 6 episode 3 recap: sex, drugs and Terry Boyle

An episode that had it all – for better or for worse.

“You know I’m still your best mate, Terry”

Oh, poor Terry Boyle. Used by the OCG – or “cuckooed” as Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) had it – for nine years, he was now deemed a danger to their balaclava-clad dealings and needed to be silenced. A convenient witness had come forward to claim she saw Terry, not Carl Banks, arguing with the dead CHIS, Alastair Oldroyd, in the Red Lion. With Terry back in questioning and nearly spilling all to MIT – “The other man. He did it” – undercover weasel PC Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper) attempted to tie up that dangerous loose end.

The subsequent reservoir scene was Line of Duty at its most gripping and its most silly, as Pilkington forced the squad car carrying him, Terry and PC Lisa Patel into the water, then drowning the unfortunate copper and almost doing the same to Terry, before Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) came to the rescue.

It was a hare-brained scheme – how on earth did Pilkington think he’d get away with it? Surely there are easier ways to kill someone? – but we must assume Pilkington was improvising. As for PC Patel – does she not watch Line of Duty? Never divert from the approved route!

“Little bastard damn near cut off my fingers”

Rotten Ryan was rumbled. Well, it was never going to take long, was it? The OCG put him in direct contact with Fleming, who interviewed him a few years previously, and Arnott, who nearly had his fingers trimmed by a juvenile Pilkington.

I can only assume that the OCG a) considers Pilkington to be disposable, or b) needs him to tie up some loose ends quick. He’s not going to stay a copper for long, is he? Once alerted, Arnott recognised him straight away – you tend to remember the faces of people who try to cut your fingers off with a bolt cutter.

We learnt that after that incident, a local bobby took Pilkington under his wing, got him back into education and kept him on the straight and narrow – haha. It would be interesting to find out who that bobby was… Most importantly, finding the bentest of bent coppers in their ranks has caused our AC-12 dream team to reassemble. Hurray!

Gregory Piper


Naughty, naughty: Gregory Piper as Ryan Pilkington


Credit: Steffan Hill/BBC

“If this is true, than that’s it. This is the whole damn thing”

OK, so Gail Vella was not killed because of her putative true crime podcast. Perky newbie Chloe Bishop (Shalom Brune-Franklin) had dug out the newsreels that Vella had been forced to bin and… they weren’t all that incriminating. She may have grilled DCI Philip Osborne and PCC Rohan Sindwhani about cooking police numbers and refusing to prosecute retired officers for historical child abuse crime, but there simply wasn’t enough there to suggest motive for murder.

“Whatever got Gail Vella murdered, we haven’t found it,” muttered Hastings. However, they got closer when Bishop dug out the freezer that had held Jackie Laverty’s body (“Tony Gates’s bit on the side?” said Ted, a true 20th-century copper), which, of course, had been kept at Boyle’s house. So, Laverty’s murder and Vella’s murder are linked. Which means – the Vella case is very much linked to “H”. But why exactly was she killed? Boyle is the key – but can AC-12 interview him before another attempt on his life?

Shalom Brune-Franklin as DC Chloe Bishop 


Newbie: Shalom Brune-Franklin as DC Chloe Bishop 


Credit: Steffan Hill/BBC

“Don’t waste your last roll of the dice chasing a phantom”

Another week, another mahogany-office rollicking for Ted at the hands of Sindwhani and DCC Andrea Wise. Despite Operation Pear Tree officially deciding there was no institutional corruption in the police force and Sindwhani ordering AC-12 to treat the investigation into MIT as a “routine performance review”, Hastings has charged ahead.

PS Farida Jatri (Anneika Rose) is on remand, Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) was arrested then released – Sindwhani has had to cosy up to his mates in the press to stop it all getting out. This was Hastings’s final warning and the most explicit one yet: “Your enquiry into H should close.” He is, quite obviously, not going to do that, although Hastings does seemed to have rebranded H – he is now “the fourth man”. He? We shall see…

Ace Bhatti as PCC Rohan Sindwhani


The fourth man? Ace Bhatti as PCC Rohan Sindwhani


Credit: Chris Barr/BBC

The Adventures of Steve Arnott

What a week for Steve. Spooked by the “random” drugs tests on the AC-12 offices – I really enjoyed Hastings’s laconic “Oh, you don’t need to worry about them, Steve” act – Arnott got the message loud and clear: Hastings knows about his painkiller addiction. And there’s only one person who could have told him.

The scenes between Arnott and Steph Corbett (Amy De Bhrún) were the weakest in the series so far, with some pretty ripe dialogue (“Er, yeah, so I was thinking about that life insurance…”) and some inexplicable behaviour. However, Steph was right when she gave Arnott the Just Say No drugs chat and told him Hastings had done him a favour, and Arnott is right to be suspicious of Steph’s comfortable lifestyle.

Of course, Steve didn’t just go round to Steph’s to remonstrate with her and poke about in her finances – and he didn’t fight off her suggestions of a nightcap too hard. “Just a small one,” he said, before Steph poured him a pint of scotch. “If I have all that, I’m not going to be fit to drive,” he said. Steve, if you have all that, you’re not going to be fit to stand. So, Steve got his cuddle (but nothing more, poor Steve) and discovered the dodgy cash – what’s his plan of action now?

Martin Compston as DI Steve Arnott


Waistcoat warrior: Martin Compston as DI Steve Arnott


Credit: Steffan Hill/BBC

Buckells under pressure

Jed Mercurio loves toying with us, doesn’t he? Every man and his dog noticed last week that the extraordinarily shifty DSI Ian Buckells (Nigel Boyle) had an office stuffed with golf paraphernalia – he wasn’t exactly practising his putting on the office carpet, but Mercurio knows that even fleeting glimpses will be pored over, and, in Line of Duty Land, golf = bent.

No one was surprised, then, to discover that the witness who fingered Terry Boyle was a plant, almost certainly controlled by Buckells. It was only slightly more surprising to learn that it was Buckells, not Davidson, who had installed Pilkington in MIT. “Family friend or something,” said Davidson. “Probably got a nudge down at the Masonic lodge.” At the clubhouse actually, Joanne.

So, Davidson and Fleming clapped him in irons and marched Buckells to AC-12. They even found Vella’s missing files to boot (in his boot).  Buckells is behind it all! Davidson is innocent! “I knew you’d come through for me,” said Davidson to Fleming. Isn’t this, er… all a bit convenient?

“They must get a pound every time someone says OCG”

Well, Joanne Davidson, you would certainly know all about that. Hastings correctly identified that Davidson has been trying to steer any investigation away from an OCG and now we know for sure – Davidson, probably unwillingly, is being controlled by the OCG. Using the same naughty chatroom that we saw John Corbett using to communicate with “H”, she informed her mysterious contact that all was now “under control”. This, presumably, meant she had stitched Buckells up and taken the heat off herself.

Davidson is certainly good at fighting her corner, giving Arnott full sass when he came to enquire about missing files (“If you have any evidence to back up that allegation, put your questions in writing to my police federation rep and we’ll get back to you within 10 working days”) and niftily using Fleming to shift the suspicion onto Buckells.

She did, however, seem genuinely upset when Arnott revealed that Jatri, her ex, had been assaulted in prison and scared into silence. The locks on her front door, the CCTV, the in-car screaming, the glum looks… Davidson is not enjoying being the OCG’s inside woman. But we still don’t know her story.

Tedism of the Week

As with last week, there’s one choice and one choice only. “This isn’t about old battles,” said DCC Wise. What was she thinking? A tap-in for Ted: “The name’s Hastings, ma’am. I’m the epitome of an old battle.” He shoots, he scores, he catches bent coppers.

Adrian Dunbar as Ted Hastings


1066 and all that: Adrian Dunbar as Ted Hastings


Credit: Chris Barr/BBC

Idle thoughts of the week

  • Lots of people have made the link between AC-12 newbie Chloe Bishop and Tony Gates – the series one villain had a daughter named Chloe with a resemblance to Bishop. She would also be around Bishop’s age now. The theory stands up – but why would Gates’s daughter secretly join AC-12?
  • Am I the only one suspicious of Fleming’s new colleague, DS Chris Lomax? There’s something shifty about him…
  • What a great performance from Tommy Jessop in Terry’s interrogation scene – moving and unnerving.
  • Bud Light, Steve? Really?
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