IT’S just days until Line Of Duty’s grand finale – and fans have been sent into a new frenzy of theories about who the big baddie is.
Whipping them up still further, BBC1 tonight released a trailer featuring footage from this Sunday’s last episode.
It shows DC Chloe Bishop, DI Steve Arnott and DI Kate Fleming reunited and wearing bullet-proof vests as they stand in front AC-12 boss Supt Ted Hastings.
He is heard telling them: “Armed Firearm Officers will secure the suspect.” But it’s not clear which suspect he means. Seconds later they are plunged into a shoot-out, with DI Arnott yelling: “Down, down!”
Meanwhile, Act Det Supt Jo Davidson is in handcuffs in the back of a prison van, where she asks one bent prison officer: “What’s going on?”
It’s a question that’s been on everyone’s lips over the past six weeks of twists and turns.
And though things aren’t much clearer now as we approach the finale, Senior Bizarre Reporter Rod McPhee analyses the latest clues.
1. Sarge is well dodgy
HE’S been hiding in plain sight for the past six weeks, or at least that’s what fans now believe.
For them, DS Chris Lomax (Perry Fitzpatrick) has not just been too good to be true, he is now showing a pattern of dodgy behaviour.
When DI Fleming, played by Vicky McClure, told coppers in the murder investigation unit to surrender their phones before a raid on the mobsters’ workshop, he was one of the most put out.
Then when he found out she’d kept information from him about the raid location, he was furious.
And last night he was seen talking to someone on the phone, saying: “I could be in the Red Lion by 8 o’clock – nice work.”
That could be the same Red Lion pub frequented by criminal Carl Banks, who is suspected of being one of Gail Vella’s assassins.
Seems like too much of a coincidence.
2. Floor of workshop is key clue
DS LOMAX didn’t seem too keen on digging into the ground of the workshop where the criminals are believed to have worked on their guns.
He claimed he did not think it was an important place to search, despite the fact the gangsters had pickaxes with them.
DI Fleming and DI Arnott were instantly suspicious.
So could there be a body, or bodies, buried underneath the concrete?
The chances are high as burying people in this way is a typical crime group method.
Look no further than series two when DI Lindsay Denton, played by Keeley Hawes, found the corpse of a young girl buried beneath the floor of a garage.
Fans are convinced what’s under the concrete in the workshop is crucial – and that DS Lomax is trying to keep it buried.
3. DC Bishop is Tony Gates’ daughter
THIS is another suspicion that has grown since the series began. Fans increasingly believe DC Chloe Bishop has yet to reveal all her layers.
They reckon she is the daughter of DCI Tony Gates (Lennie James), the bent cop in 2012’s season one. He had two mixed-race daughters, called Natalie and Chloe. The latter was at secondary school, so ten years on she would be in her twenties, like Bishop.
Even if she is Gates’s daughter, what would that mean?
It could mean she is working in league with the criminals after AC-12 hounded Gates into killing himself. Or it could be she has decided to join Central Police to catch the criminals who wrecked his life.
Either way, the fact she has not disclosed the connection would be very fishy.
4. DCI Carmichael warns Jo she is H
SOME viewers have a theory that loathed Det Chief Supt Patricia Carmichael signals to Jo Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) that she is the mysterious kingpin “H” during their interview.
The theory goes she is letting Davidson know she too is crooked and is warning her not to give too much away to DI Arnott (Martin Compston) and Supt Hastings as they grill her.
Eager fans reckon Carmichael does this through Morse code, tapping her pen on the desk four times to signify the letter H.
Far-fetched? Maybe – but dodgy DI Dot Cottan did something similar as he lay dying in season three.
And Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin) has long been regarded as an obvious villain.
But is it too obvious? Perhaps the pen tap was just a coincidence.
5. Marcus Thurwell is Spanish cop
WHEN the masked captain of the team raiding DCI Thurwell’s Spanish villa turned to the camera, viewers locked on to his eyebrows. They looked a lot like those of the actor who plays Thurwell: James Nesbitt.
Neither of the fly-ridden bodies found in the villa look like the suspected bent copper.
Being on the Guardia Civil raid team would be a great way to control the situation, while keeping his identity covered.
The credits showed that an actor called Pano Masti played the “capitan” but could that be another ruse by writer Jed Mercurio to throw us off the scent?
A lingering shot on the Spanish policeman got some fans convinced it has a significance to be revealed in the finale.
6. Supt Ted Hastings is H
HARDCORE fans have long maintained that Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) is H.
And each passing episode adds evidence pointing towards his guilt.
The latest sign came in the trailer for this weekend’s finale, where the word “definate” is highlighted in text seemingly written by Hastings. Crime boss “H” has habitually spelled “definite” incorrectly when communicating online with DS John Corbett (Stephen Graham) and Davidson.
But this could be another of the series’ famous “Jed herrings”.
Editing suggests the writing is Hastings’ but we have no proof it really is.
It could have been written by another suspect – and even if their spelling isn’t perfect, that doesn’t make them an arch criminal.
Well, not for “definate”, anyway.
Who is Bitchy Pat based on?
IF the much-hated Det Chief Supt Patricia Carmichael seems oddly familiar, it’s because she is based on a real celebrity.
Actress Anna Maxwell Martin says her cold, sinister delivery in the role is inspired by someone in “the industry” – but stops short of saying who.
So we put on our best detective hats and came up with four prime suspects.
Could it be former Vogue editor Anna Wintour, acid-tongued quiz host Anne Robinson, Game Of Thrones’ callous queen Cersei, played by Lena Headey, or put-out former princess Meghan?
The actress said: “I know people in the industry like Patricia. She is dead nasty.
“I am not socially confident so when you have to come into the room and be like the top bitch it is quite frightening.”
But Anna does sympathise with her character.
She added: “I like to think she is misunderstood. She is a single parent and has got quite a few kids at home. She’s got an elderly parent she is caring for full-time.
“She is there to get the s**t done at work and then get home.
“I think Pat wants a cuddle but there is no one there to give her one.”
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