Line of Duty viewers are mocking the show for how unrealistic its depiction of witness protection was in the final episode.
The series six finale aired on Sunday night (2 May), with Ian Buckells (Nigel Boyle) finally revealed as “the Fourth Man”. The episode tied up many loose ends, and saw Jo Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) entered into a witness protection programme after a life of being coerced into helping the organised crime group against her will.
In the closing scenes, she was seen happily walking out of an idyllic country cottage with a glossy golden retriever and a partner – a sequence mocked by many viewers.
Comparing it to the house that lawyer Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker) was given in a previous series, one person tweeted that the scheme had had a “glow up”.
“When you get witness protection and win the Omaze Cotswolds raffle,” said a second.
“Somehow I don’t think being on witness protection is really that idyllic,” posted another.
According to a BBC report, the UK Protected Persons Service tries to replicate a person’s current lifestyle rather than improve it, so that police are not seen to be bribing the witness to give testimony.
“It’s not glamorous,” one person in the scheme told the broadcaster. “You don’t get put in a nice big house somewhere and get loads of money in your bank. That’s what a lot of people think that happens when you go into something like this, but you just don’t.”
A single mother in the scheme, who has lived under witness protection for nearly 20 years after giving evidence about a gang-related murder, also accused the police of ruining her life and leaving her feeling “degraded and dehumanised”.
She told The Guardian she exists in “an alien wilderness”, unable to form friendships because she cannot be honest about her life and claims that at one point she was kept in a safe house where she was put in with cows, sheep and pheasants.
A spokesperson for the UK Protected Persons Service told the publication it is “committed to treating people fairly, honestly and professionally” and operates “only with the full cooperation of those for whom we have responsibility”.
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