I’m involved in another flirtation with the Criminal Element. This time, it’s a review of a limited-run BBC2 cop-noir series, Line of Duty.
The normal British TV depiction of police work goes something like this: the hero DI or DCI and his trusty sidekick badger witnesses and arrest the wrong person a third of the way through the program before finally running down the culprit. If Internal Affairs appears at all, it’s as some annoying git who yaps at Our Hero’s heels and makes his pursuit of truth and justice more arduous than normal, before the IA git is finally shown the door.
But what if the IA git was the good guy? What if the hero detective was a showboating philanderer? And what if the entire system of British policing was portrayed as being rife with internecine squabbling, backbiting, fear and loathing, naked ambition, self-serving cover-ups, bureaucratic make-work and a complete inability to protect and serve the public? What would that show be like?
Line of Duty (available on Hulu in the U.S.) is what it would be like.