Critical Condition: Line of Duty (S5)

Line of Duty | SoHo, 8.30 Sundays

☆☆☆ “Jed Mercurio knows a thing or two about what television viewers in Britain like. His series Bodyguard was the highest rated show there (outside of the World Cup) in 2018. And now the fifth season of his Line of Duty is the highest rated British drama of 2019 so far … Millions of viewers apparently like a cocktail of four parts forensics to one part action, with a twist of sensationalism and a splash of melodrama. It’s not good for you, but it will definitely give you a buzz.” — New York Times.

☆☆☆ “Once you cut Line of Duty some plausibility slack, the series can then be absorbed for its massively entertaining elements. It has become known for inserting a number of compelling British actors into key seasonal roles … letting them drive the series without stealing any thunder from the regular cast. It’s a nice conceit, even if every new face conjures up that ‘oh, this will end badly’ vibe. It’s a testament to Mercurio that just when you think, ‘Well, this person is clearly guilty, as all the evidence suggests,’ he’s got multiple switchbacks and loopholes to play with.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

☆☆☆☆ “As ever, nothing is wasted; not a scene, not a line, not a beat. For every morsel of information gathered by the team and by the viewer, another turn reveals 100 hidden possibilities. It fits together flawlessly – you can imagine Mercurio sitting like a watchmaker at his table with the parts spread before him and fitting the loupe to his eye before assembling the whole thing and listening for its perfectly regulated tick. Good times await. OMG.” — The Guardian.

☆☆☆ “We’ve been groomed by screenwriter Jed Mercurio to expect the unexpected, to sit in wait for the next twist in the tale. To keep his audience on the edge of its seat he will happily turn a goodie into a baddie, a baddie into a goodie. The only thing you can be sure of in Line of Duty is the incorruptibility of AC-12’s trio of investigators (typed with fingers and toes all crossed). The other certainty is that at the start there will be adrenalin.” — The Telegraph.

☆☆☆☆ “There are so many potential spoilers to avoid in discussing the fifth series that it is probably safest just to point at the time and date of the first episode’s transmission and give a cheery thumbs up. What does seem safe to say, however, is that the world the team of AC-12 navigates has become no less treacherous, with anti-corruption warriors Superintendent Ted Hastings (a permanently exasperated Adrian Dunbar), DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) replacing last season’s Thandie Newton and her rotting arm with a violent case involving Stephen Graham and OCGs (organised crime groups).” — The Times.

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