Line of Duty’s return with series six sees AC-12 on the hunt for the fourth member of organized crime group H and episode one may have hidden a clue.
Powerhouse BBC drama Line of Duty has returned with a sixth season, promising the usual twists and turns and the distinct possibility of another member of the H corruption group. The first episode of series six has seemingly already introduced a new candidate and not just the immediately prime suspect DCI Joanne Davidson (Harry Potter‘s Kelly Macdonald) thanks to a hidden clue. The presence of some carefully arranged golf clubs has sparked intrigue around returning character Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells.
Season 5 of Line Of Duty had revealed the third member of H in the shape of lawyer Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker), who had been attempting to frame Ted Hastings, but doubled-down on police corruption with the stinger of murderer Ryan Pilkington signing up to be a police officer. Clearly, H wasn’t done, copying the MCU’s HYDRA promise that cutting off one head only leads to another growing in its place as Dot’s dying declaration confirmed the existence of a fourth member. Marketing for the sixth series has already established that the anti-corruption division will be on the trail, but the reveal also prompted inevitably furious speculation, including fears of an earth-shattering reveal of one of AC-12’s finest being implicated.
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Because of the previous revelation of the Caddy – who was identified after several series as DI Matthew “Dot” Cottan – any allusion to golf around an incompetent or uncooperative individual in the force was bound to spark speculation. And the first episode of Line of Duty season 6 saw a golf bag and clubs placed prominently in the background of SS Buckells’ office, behind his desk. They were hidden just enough to mask their presence, but eagle-eyed fans picked up on them and the implications after Buckells again suggested that he probably wasn’t fit for his status. So could this mean that Buckells is the fourth member of the underground organized crime group, H?
Buckells has already seen conflict with AC-12 and the show has gone a long way to implicate him as either inept or downright shady as part of a commitment to red herrings in every season. Whether this means Buckells is a genuine contender to be the fourth member of H remains to be seen, but it’s the kind of seemingly throwaway detail that feels like it means something, which is precisely the point. In order to accept that it is Buckells, you’d have to also accept that he would lack the capacity to hide the clubs knowing the investigation’s link to caddies, but his arc so far has already established he’s not the most dynamic of thinkers.
Narratively speaking, Buckells would fit the bill, given that he’s an established character from a previous season, but his implication is uncharacteristically obvious. He’s the stereotypical bumbling figure willing to do whatever it takes for promotions, no matter who he steps on: he might be a bad man and a worse DS, but he’s arguably too easy to finger as an outright villain. And there is more dramatic weight in a more superior officer being revealed as the final member of H as Line of Duty‘s sixth series plays out. Quite who that will be will no doubt remain a closely guarded secret until the very final episodes.
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