Line of Duty: Unanswered questions from the season 6 finale

*Spoilers below for Line of Duty season six, episode seven*

Louis Chilton
Sunday 02 May 2021 22:25
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Spoiler alert: Moment Line of Duty’s “H” revealed in season 6 finale

Line of Duty’s sixth season came to an end on Sunday (2 May), with an episode that answered some of the series’ ongoing questions.

Spoilers follow for Line of Duty’s sixth series finale…

In the episode’s most dramatic reveal, AC-12 discovered that Ian Buckells (Nigel Boyle) had been the mole pulling strings for the various OCGs (organised crime groups) from within the police force.

While the series suggested that the problems are institutional, rather than individual, it seems that the mystery of “H” has finally been put to bed.

There was also a note of real finality to some of the other characters’ arcs, including that of Jo Davidson (Kelly Macdonald), who enjoyed a rare happy ending as she entered witness protection, and Terry Boyle (Tommy Jessop), whose years-long suffering at the hands of the OCG has finally come to an end.

However, with the possibility of another season still very much on the table, the finale also left us with a handful of lingering questions.

Here are some of the unanswered questions viewers may have after watching…

What was the full extent of Philip Osborne’s involvement in corruption and cover-ups?

Just because Buckells was exposed as the OCG rat doesn’t mean everyone else is exonerated – quite the opposite. Instead, as Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) explains to Patricia Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin), Buckells’s rise through the ranks was only facilitated by institutional failings that went right to the top.

Ian Buckells (Nigel Boyle) comes clean in the Line of Duty finale

Exactly how complicit Chief Constable Osborne was in the various crimes and scandals AC-12 were looking at is still unknown; for now, it seems, he’s gotten away with his role in Vella’s murder. With Carmichael in charge, however, it seems likely everything will be swept under the rug.

But in Line of Duty, people usually get their comeuppance, one way or another. If the series does return for a seventh run of episodes, fans will surely want to see Osborne placed under the spotlight.

Is there a future for Hastings in the police?

The season six finale seemed to pretty definitely answer the question of Ted Hastings’ integrity. And viewers can breathe a sigh of relief: old Ted is no more an OCG point man than you or I.

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However, in coming clean about his past transgressions to Carmichael– namely, the tip-off to Lee Banks which ended up costing John Corbett his life – he has opened up all sorts of potential trouble for himself.

Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) in the interrogation scene during the Line of Duty season 6 finale

Carmichael may well be too concerned with protecting the image of the police to pursue charges, but it still places Hastings in a precarious position, especially as he is already facing forced retirement anyway. Will he still be around next season? You’d imagine so, but Hastings has a mighty battle on his hands.

What’s going to happen with Steve Arnott’s private life?

For much of this season, it’s been unclear where Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) is going to end up. Firstly there was the request he made to transfer out of AC-12, a move which was seemingly jeopardised by his indecision and commitment to the Vella case.

Then, in the finale, he’s warned that his reliance on heavy doses of prescription painkillers may prevent him from active duty. Thankfully, it seems like Arnott’s finally confronting his demons, and is getting support from both trained professionals and his AC-12 family, namely Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Ted Hastings.

Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) during the Line of Duty finale

But when it comes to his personal life, things are still up in the air, especially concerning his burgeoning relationship with Steph Corbett (Amy De Bhrún). Could they end up together, despite the tragic circumstances of their knowing one another? It’s too soon to say. But Corbett’s plotline didn’t really come to any sort of substantial resolution, and it would be nice to see what happens.

Who’s in charge of the remaining OCGs?

While it was revealed that Buckells had coordinated some activities between the disparate OCGs that formed after Tommy Hunter’s downfall, he wasn’t the only senior figure in the ring.

His terrified expression when Jimmy Lakewell was murdered in prison before his eyes suggests there’s someone else out there with the authority to sanction murders. Buckells may be a big scalp, but he’s certainly not the end of it.

Where do AC-12 go from here?

Things look pretty bleak for the anti-corruption taskforce; the final beat of the episode features a statement which reads: “AC-12’s powers to curb wrongdoing in public office have never been weaker.”

The capture and conviction of Buckells may prove a big enough win for AC-12 to throw a spanner into the works of the impending restructure – which has positioned Carmichael as the new sheriff in town – but nothing’s certain.

One thing is for sure: if Arnott, Fleming and Hastings are brought back for another round, they aren’t going to take defeat lying down.

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