Line of Duty
BBC One / BBC Two
Bless Christmas telly... And bless the iPlayer for posting box sets. In the build-up to Christmas (and to avoid any social encounters), I've been binging on one of the most talked about (and raved about) shows currently on TV: Line of Duty. After the first episode of series one, it's not hard to see why Line of Duty is dubbed the best cop drama of all time.
Following the Anti-Corruption Unit 12, Line of Duty explores the underworld of internal police corruption. Each series follows a different investigation into corrupt coppers in different units and looks at how the crime bosses influence the supposed unimpressionable police.
Before setting off on this quest of watching four series in one week, I had heard the rumors swarming around Line of Duty - the weekly outcries on social media, the tense series finales, that time that copper shot someone. I was constantly reminded that I was missing out on something great - but little did I know that I really was missing something amazing. Line of Duty - which I wouldn't necessarily claim to be the best cop drama of all time - is a thrilling, riveting, unbelievably dramatic program that will suck you into its world of corruption and mayhem with no problem. The show is, at times, a borderline melodramatic soap opera - but in all the best ways possible. Essentially, it's a soap but with better writing and acting. And although the ladder series follow great, succinct storylines, nothing tops the high-intensity drama of series one's crazy plotline. There is nothing subtle or nuanced about Line of Duty - it will never be considered high-brow drama- but, damn, if it isn't bloody entertaining.
The cast, which predominately changes each series, never falls into the trap of soap opera with their performances. Each cast member gives a gracious and controlled performance that helps to balance out the melodrama of the screenplay. But nothing compares to the fantastic performances of each series' prime suspects. Series one saw a stunning performance from Lennie James as bent copper, DCI Gates. His performance, which transgressed every complex emotion, displayed the wide range of his complicated character. Series two's standout performance was Keeley Hawes as the questionably corrupt DI Denton. She finds the perfect mix of guilty and innocent - you're never quite sure if she's telling the truth or if she's a true con man. Additionally, Vicky McClure's performance as the kick-ass Kate Fleming is intoxicating. Although McClure's character alone is enough to make you fall in love, her ability to dominate a scene and hold her own in a male-driven cast also makes her stand out as a winner.
The hype around Line of Duty is real - this program is jaw-dropping and just jolly good fun. It's for sure my new guilty pleasure - and just in time for series five!