Line of Duty Series 6 Episode 4: Davidson, DNA, Buckells’ Codes & All Our Questions & Theories

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Warning: contains spoilers for Line of Duty series 6 episode 4.

After all the excitement of episode four (read our spoiler-filled review here), fans could be forgiven for taking a recovery day before putting their minds to work and trying to figure out series six’s many mysteries. But did Steve and Chloe take a rest after that shoot-out? No, so in their honour, neither will we. After all, as Kate told Ted in that piss-stinking underpass make-up scene, we’ve got a case to solve.

Jargon of the week: Nominal

Anybody convicted, cautioned, reprimanded, warned or arrested of a recordable offence has a “nominal record” on the Police National Computer, and is therefore a nominal. In the show, it seems to mean the chief individual/suspect in an investigation. In the series five opener, AC-12 referred to both Lisa McQueen and John ‘Clayton’ (before they knew he was an undercover officer) as “the nominal.”

Who is Jo Davidson’s “nominal” blood relative?

Episode four’s cliffhanger was that Jo Davidson is related to a mystery nominal previously known to AC-12. The forensics search at Farida Jatri’s house found DNA deposits matching Jo Davidson (supporting Farida’s account of having been in a relationship with and framed by Davidson). When Davidson’s deposits were checked against the various police DNA databases, they also came up with a match for another individual – thereby a blood relative of Davidson. It has to be somebody of significance to AC-12’s previous investigations into the OCG and corrupt police officers. Tommy Hunter? Fellow Scots ACC Derek Hilton or DCC Mike Dryden? We ponder the potential suspects in more detail here. 

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Who is Jimmy Lakewell again?

Think of him as the male Gill Biggeloe, a defence solicitor who, at some stage in his career, crossed paths with a member of the OCG and from that point onwards accepted bribes to act as their corrupt brief in legal situations. In series four, when the OCG needed an innocent man to frame for the murders of Leonie Collersdale and Baswinder Kaur and the attempted abduction of Hana Reznikova, Jimmy delivered them Michael Farmer. Lakewell had met Farmer years earlier when he defended him against a sexual assault charge. Because of Farmer’s learning disability and police record, Lakewell knew he’d be easy to frame – which he would have been if Roz Huntley, Tim Ifield and AC-12 hadn’t got involved. 

Lakewell also colluded with bent copper ACC Hilton to have Steve Arnott attacked by one of the OCG’s ‘Balaclava Men’ when he was getting too close to the cover-up, and generally did all kinds of underhand business in exchange for OCG bribes to support his lavish lifestyle. He was arrested by Roz Huntley, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, and was serving time in HMP Blackthorn before he made contact with Gail Vella, and Steve’s plan to get him into witness protection led to Jimmy’s murder by the OCG. 

Who leaked the transport route from HMP Blackthorn?

Steve’s plan to spirit Jimmy Lakewell away from prison and into witness protection was compromised by somebody who knew the exact route the transport convoy was planning to take. The OCG knew where to stop the van carrying Jimmy and open fire. It’s likely that one of the corrupt prison guards at Blackthorn (the same one who facilitated Jimmy’s murder by Lee Banks, witnessed by Ian Buckells, and closed the door on the cell while Jimmy was being killed perhaps) was the leak. Chloe suggests that the leak could have come from inside AC-12, an idea batted away by Ted Hastings as not happening under his watch, who clearly has a short memory for dodgy corrupt coppers like the Caddy and Jamie Desford operating under his watch.

Did Jimmy Lakewell talk?

Interesting. Back at the station, after the ambush on the transport, Hastings, Bishop and Arnott interview Lakewell, who has been scared into not giving evidence and refused cooperation. Trying to persuade him to talk, Steve questions how safe Lakewell will be back in prison and Jimmy tells him “They’ll know I didn’t talk. That’s right, isn’t it DI Arnott? I didn’t talk.” After a pause, Steve gives him a slight nod. 

If you go back to the moment just before the convoy came under attack, after Steve asks Lakewell what Vella was investigating, there’s a cut to Chloe. In that time just before the attack, it’s possible that Lakewell did tell Steve something, knowing that whatever he said could never be traced back to him because the context would make the evidence inadmissible. With nothing to lose then, could Jimmy have pointed Steve in the right direction in that brief time? What Lakewell was asking Steve in that interview room was ‘Are you going to tell them that I talked?’ and Steve, being a straight-up guy, nodded that he would keep quiet. For all the good it did Lakewell in the end. 

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What did Buckells’ initialisms mean? 

You won’t find these in an official police lexicon. The initialisms next to which Ian Buckells saved the phone numbers of female suspects in his mobile are surely a little gag, poking fun both at Line of Duty’s taste for jargon and acronyms, and at Buckells’ coarse blokey persona. Use your imagination, really: RGT could be ‘really great tits’, FAF could be ‘fit as f**k, NA ‘nice arse’, BJL, well, you get the idea. Jo was right about one thing, Buckells really is a twat. 

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So, Buckells was bent then?

He was certainly abusing his position as a police officer to coerce female suspects into giving him sexual favours in exchange for dropping charges. Was he though, working for the OCG? The fact that they had him witness Lakewell’s murder to show him ‘what happens to a rat’ suggests so, although that could equally have been done to shut him up and stop him from saying he’d been framed, just like they did to Farida. Kate says the bellend persona is all an act, but you can make up your own mind. Even if Buckells didn’t know he was a pawn of the OCG, by promoting an idiot like him so far above his ability, ‘H’ could pull the wool over a senior officer’s eyes multiple times without even having to bribe or blackmail him. 

Will Kate ultimately side with Jo?

You can take the girl out of AC-12, but you can’t take the AC-12 out of the girl. It’s pretty much certain now that Kate is not deep undercover, as suspected early on. She’s genuinely moved on from anti-corruption, but happens to have found herself in to a unit swimming with bent coppers. The question is: does Kate really believe that Davidson is innocent? Or does she suspect the truth – that Davidson’s bent but being coerced into it? This episode, Kate wanted to give the ‘Osman warning’ (issued by police to prospective victims of death threats) to Davidson, but was overruled by Hastings. She did, however, tip Jo off that Ryan was following her, which ultimately led to Kate’s job being threatened by Jo when Ryan showed his true colours. As a stand-up officer, Kate’s priority is the preservation of life. What steps might she take to preserve Davidson’s? And will it put her own life in danger?

Is this the end of AC-12?

Unless they can uncover H (who, at this stage, all signs point to being CC Osborne) before the end of the month, that’s it. Rohan Sindwhani and CC Osborne are redistributing funding away from internal investigations and to frontline services (always a PR-friendly move), and planning to merge ACs 3, 9 and 12 into one department. Staff will have the opportunity to apply to join the merged department or transfer to others, but 90% will go. The clock is ticking, Ted. The clock is ticking.

Line of Duty continues next Sunday the 18th of April at 9pm on BBC One. 

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