Who is H in Line of Duty? The clues were there the entire time

They date back as early as season one

Jacob Stolworthy
Monday 03 May 2021 13:11
Comments
Line of Duty writer rubbishes ‘preposterous’ theory ahead of series finale

The reveal of “H” in the Line of Duty finale has been teased ever since the first series.

Jed Mercurio’s crime drama drew to a close on Sunday night (2 May), with many viewers left wondering if it will return for more episodes.

Regardless, the show’s long-running “H” storyline, in which four corrupt coppers were revealed to be part of an undercover syndicate, is now over, with the enigmatic “fourth man” unveiled in episode seven.

*Spoilers follow – you have been warned*

The only members known to date were DI Matthew “Dot” Cottan (Craig Parkinson), ACC Derek Hilton (Paul Higgins) and Senior Legal Counsel Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker).

It turns out that the blundering Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells (Nigel Boyle) was the missing member, a revelation that has left viewers feeling supremely underwhelmed.

However, for all the tweets about how “disappointing” and “boring” this plot twist was, there is a contingent of fans who have been pointing out the fact that Buckells was hiding in plain sight the entire time.

Despite clearly not having the respect of those around him, Buckells was shown this series to have risen through the ranks to become Detective Superintendent at Hillside Lane Police Station, overseeing the MIT unit that was investigated by AC-12.

Long-time viewers may forget that Boyle first played Buckells back in the very first series in 2012. In fact, one of his first ever appearances was on a golf course with the Organised Crime Gang leader Tommy Hunter (Brian McCardie).

Ian Buckells in the first ever series of ‘Line of Duty’

Fans were reminded of this in the sixth series’ second episode when the camera lingered on Buckells, and a painting depicting the silhouette of a person swinging a golf club could be seen in the background.

It’s long been known that the hobby of golf had strong ties to “H” thanks to Cottan, who was revealed in series three to be “The Caddy”.

Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

Superintendent Ian Buckells (Nigel Boyle) and the golf club artwork

Also earlier in this series, a witness named Deborah Devereaux (Kerri McLean) falsely identified Terry Boyle (Tommy Jessup) as a suspect in the Gail Vella (Andie Osho) case.

It was later revealed that, when Devereaux was arrested on suspicion of assault in 2012, the charges were dropped following the intervention of none other than Buckells, which placed her in his debt.

DI Kate Fleming (Vicky Mcclure) then deduced that it was Buckells who asked Devereaux to wrongly identify Boyle.

This development was set up as early as series four, which starred Thandiwe Newton, when Buckells was shown to receive a text from Devereaux.

Nigel Boyle as Buckells in ‘Line of Duty’

Moreover, it was Buckells who was responsible for the paperwork error that gave the OCG an unobserved window in which to swap Boyle into Carl Banks’s flat at the start of this series.

There is also the rather brazen hiring of PC Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper), which, according to Joanne Davidson, came at the request of Buckells.

As Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) put it in the final AC-12 interrogation scene: “Your corruption was mistaken for incompetence."

Buckells actor Boyle has jumped to the show’s defence amid the viewer backlash, telling BBC Breakfast: “You can’t have every series end with a big shoot out.”

Find all the talking points from the finale here as well as all of the show’s unanswered questions here.

All six series of Line of Duty are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in