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LINE OF DUTY: Fans react to the Line of Duty Series 6 finale with mixed views

LINE OF DUTY: Fans react to the Line of Duty Series 6 finale with mixed views

Images: BBC

Fans react to the Line of Duty Series 6 finale with mixed views on how the BBC’s flagship drama ended things for this season.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers of Line of Duty Series 6!


Line of Duty Series 6 came to its conclusion after seven weeks of tension, wild fan theories and classic Tedisms. The tag line for the final episode of the series (and maybe forever) said ‘every investigation has led to this’ and so it proved with ‘H/the 4th man’ finally being revealed as DCI Ian Buckells.

The blundering detective we first met way back in 2012 and who also featured in Series 4 in 2017 actually turned out to have been the one colluding with the organised crime groups. Or, as he put it, “Pass things on.” But, for many fans, he was not a popular choice and the reaction on Twitter has been mixed.


@elkilk on Twitter said: So H was never a bigwig this whole time, it was just numpty Buckles acting as some sort of criminal MSN Messenger between OCGs? #LineOfDuty

@m1tch23 on Twitter said: Jed Mercurio should seek immunity and witness protection after that final episode...

However, it wasn’t all negative.

@paulwaugh on Twitter said: A 'whydunnit' not just a 'whodunnit'. A much more interesting and aptly unsettling note on which to end. Bravo @jed_mercurio @Vicky_McClure Adrian Dunbar, @martin_compston + all the team 👏 👏 👏


There was the usual fantastic pacing and the episode began at a high speed that took us quickly through Steve Arnott’s decision to finally see someone about his pill-taking before it was revealed that OCG member Carl Banks was indeed the murderer of Gail Vella. We felt genuine jeopardy as we were taken on a police chase of a prison van that intended to escort Joanne Davidson to her death until AC-12 successfully intercepted it. And of course, we had the wonderful and emotive acting from all the cast which has been such a key to its success. Not least when Ted Hastings sat Kate and Steve down and admitted he had played an accidental role in DS John Corbett’s death, which was lump in your throat stuff.

It was from then on that it became a little underwhelming for some as a hasty check for officers spelling ‘definitely’ wrong found that Buckells had once filed a report with ‘definate’ in it. The classic glass box scene in which he was interrogated is usually the cherry on top for a Line of Duty series finale but this time round, it seems it didn’t strike the same chord as the Homer Simpson-type detective admitted to being involved with the OCG.

The wrap up showed Steve, Kate, Terry Boyle, Farida Jatri and Joanne Davidson all getting some form of resolution but it wasn’t quite the same for Ted as his forced retirement was confirmed. Although, for anyone hoping for a silver lining in the form of a possible seventh series, he did say he was appealing it.

As a huge Line of Duty fan myself, I do have to say I fall into the category of being slightly underwhelmed at the revelation Buckells is ‘H’. Perhaps I set my expectations too unrealistic as I have to confess to expecting more of a bombshell with perhaps Ted Hastings or even Kate Fleming exposed as corrupt.

To be speculative, during Series 5 it felt like when Jed Mercurio wrote in the character of ‘H’ at the end of Series 3 he was thinking of Hastings but seemed to pull the handbrake on that right at the last in the S5 finale and it instead became the ‘4th man’. Coming into Series 6, he was left with few options that would satisfy the public. He could hardly go back to Hastings and no doubt there would have been outcry if it had been a new character such as Carmichael given her first appearance was S5 E5. Most significant police officers from previous series had been killed off so maybe, when the dust settles, people will realise that the one we all least suspected in DCI Buckells was actually a reasonable choice.

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