This is my review of Line of Duty Series 2 [DVD].
After the opening hook of a violent ambush of police escorting a protected witness, suspicion falls on the only officer to survive unscathed, DI Lindsay Denton. Three aspects set apart the ensuing complex drama: the powerful, well-scripted interrogation scenes, the high quality of acting in which body language reveals so much about personalities and relationships and, above all, the skilful portrayal of Denton by Keeley Hawes, who tantalisingly convinces us by turns of her guilt or innocence.
Perhaps you cannot award less than four stars to a series with such power to grip millions of viewers, and to trigger such large-scale speculation as to who is guilty of what and why. I understand why the author wanted to leave what I think he described as loosely tied bows to pave the way for a third series. However, it seems unsatisfactory to me if people are still asking fundamental questions at the end because they are confused about exactly what happened, and, insofar as they think they understand, there appear to be flaws and contradictions. Apparently, Mercurio himself spotted a vital omission at the last minute, just in time to insert another scene, but there seem to me to be quite a few that he missed from the viewer's angle. It may of course help if, unlike me, one has seen Series 1. At least one would have the advantage of knowing more about some of the characters, such as dodgy detective Dot Cottan or disabled DC Morton who makes a sudden unexplained appearance.
I agree with the many comments and critics who feel that the last episode is a serious let-down – rushed and disjointed, with scenes included too obviously "to sew things up", yet often failing to do so. I agree that it is a cop out to reveal the "truth" in a lengthy flashback, rather than let the facts emerge through ongoing scenes. This is in stark contrast to the development of characters in earlier episodes. There are at least two major flaws concerning Denton in the final weak "denouement".
Perhaps the series could have done with another episode or two to give time both to clarify the intricate plot and to expand on the dysfunctional private lives of the key characters, such as the adulterous Fleming whose family life is on the rocks.
This is, of course, first and foremost a commercial series. This was clear in the dramatic and shocking opening ambush, which after rewinding to watch at least three times, I still found inconsistent in a way that slightly insults the audience by suggesting watchers can be fobbed off with anything as long as it is exciting. Ironically, the fact that the first five episodes are mostly so good raises expectations too high, making the conclusion more of a disappointment.