The second episode of Line of Duty (BBC One) was a bit of a slog, wasn’t it? Keeping track of the investigation into the murder of Gail Vella, and the investigation into the investigation of the murder of Gail Vella, and trying to remember past series and why they’re bringing up Jimmy Savile again. A character would explain something, and I thought I understood, and then I’d have to rewind to make sure.
Clever drama series can require effort on the part of the viewer, but surely not this much. This feeling of exhaustion isn’t helped by DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston). He’s miserable in AC-12 and wants out. DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) has quit for a new life on the murder squad. If they don’t want to be there, why should we?
The only one providing entertainment is Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), who has the best lines. The rest are stuck with expository dialogue, particularly Compston: “So Gail Vella drew attention to alleged links between politicians, organised crime and senior police officers?”
Fans who are immersed in the Line of Duty universe no doubt love the reappearance of old characters, and are still keen to work out the identity of H. But there is an arrogance in a writer assuming that we have all this information at the front of our minds.