As if I needed yet another reason to solidify my belief that the UK invented good telly. Put aside Hustle, MI5, Life on Mars, Endeavour and Call the Midwife for a minute and take a look at Line of Duty. The police procedural from BBC2 premiered in 2012 and quickly became the BBC2’s best-performing drama series in 10 years.
Line of Duty begins with DS Steve Arnott leading a counter-terrorism unit that accidentally kills an unarmed man. Refusing to participate in a cover-up, Arnott transfers to an anti-corruption unit after being shunned by fellow officers. Reminiscent of Forrest Whitaker’s chilling portrayal of Internal Affairs Department Lt. Jon Kavanaugh in The Shield, from the brilliant mind of Shawn Ryan, Arnott’s target in Line of Duty is DCI Tony Gates, who has just been awarded Officer of the Year. Sporting the best crime numbers for three years running (sound a bit like Vic Mackey?), Gates heads ‘the big, sexy crime unit’ which sounds a bit like Mackey’s Strike Team.
Series 2 premiered earlier this year adding Keeley Hawes (MI-5, Ashes to Ashes, Upstairs Downstairs) and Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife) to the already stellar cast. Hawes stars as DI Lindsay Denton, who is the only survivor of the ambush in the opening episode and a suspect; Adrian Dunbar, as anti-corruption boss Superintendent Ted Hastings and Martin Compston, who returns as DS Steve Arnott.
Based on steadily increasing viewing figures on BBC2, the series has been commissioned for a third series which begins filming later this year. No word on who will return for the third series which may see a move to BBC One based on both critical acclaim and a consistently increasing audience.
Following a brief early run on Hulu back in 2012, this brilliant series will see the light of day soon on a number of public television stations in the States. Make sure you check it out…