Line of Duty episode 5 review: Who got shot? All the latest theories and surprises explained

Who pulled the trigger in the final showdown with Kate and Ryan? How is Jo related to Tommy Hunter? Who is James Nesbitt’s new character Marcus Thurwell? And why has CC Osborne brought in Pat Carmichael to rip up AC-12?

By Alex Fletcher Published: 19 April 2021 - 2.23pm
BBC Gregory Piper and Kelly Macdonald in Line of Duty

If last week’s Line of Duty almost gave us a heart attack, this week’s episode left us screaming at our TV sets.

We howled with glee as classic clues from previous series reappeared (Definately! Definately!) and screamed in frustration and fear as Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper) ended the episode in yet another agonizing cliffhanger – both aiming weapons and ready to fire a bullet at the other.

We heard a gunshot, but who pulled the trigger? The screen went black and now we’ve got an agonizing seven day wait for an answer.

Luckily for us, Jed Mercurio gave fans plenty of other plot to chew on, exposing the identity of Jo Davidson’s (Kelly Macdonald) mysterious blood relative, reuniting AC-12 with Patricia Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin) and revealing the details of the crime and bent police officers at the centre of everything we’ve seen in all six seasons of Line of Duty

Who got shot?

Rotter Ryan Pilkington finally showed some nerves this week as the young scallywag turned bent PC realized that his crimes might have caught up with him. Kate knew her AC-12 surveillance protection had been removed, but she was able to bluff Ryan into believing that it was still in operation and the young lad’s death stare finally cracked.

But would Ryan’s sudden bout of fear have made him twitchy on the trigger? Or did Kate mean it when she screamed a final warning at Ryan to drop his weapon?

Both characters have been deliberately left off the cast lists for next week’s episode, so there’s no sneaky way of learning who made it out alive.

We also can’t be 100% sure that it was Ryan or Kate who pulled the trigger. Maybe Jo had a weapon and fired it? Or maybe someone else from the OCG arrived to take care of business?

How did Kate trick Jo, Ryan and the OCG


Kate used the search for the workshopped weapons that are being used by the OCG to catch out rotter Ryan and attempt to prove to Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) and Steve that Jo isn’t bent.

She worked with AC-12 to plan a raid on three different warehouses, but only told her team at The Hill they were looking at one destination. Working alongside Davidson, she asked her whole team to surrender their mobile devices so nobody could leak info on the raid.

A twitchy Ryan used a burner phone he had hidden after the first raid – he was caught on camera sneaking a quick text by AC-12's undercover team – only to discover after he sent the message that Kate had two more warehouses to raid. Ryan had warned the OCG to clean up the correct warehouse, but he had inadvertently sent OCG foot soldiers into action in front of a waiting Steve Arnott (Martin Compston).

Kate did pre-warn Jo about the two other destinations as a test to see whether she would attempt to tip off the OCG before any of the raids happened, but she made no attempt to contact the gang with a warning.

It was enough to prove to Kate that her boss isn’t a wrong-un, but Hastings and Arnott still aren’t convinced. Especially after the latest revelations about Davidson’s family history…

How is Jo Davidson related to Tommy Hunter?


Tommy Hunter (Brian McCardie) was the big bad OCG boss in season 1 of Line of Duty, who was behind the murder of Jackie Laverty (Gina McKee) and no small amount of evil activity.

One of the men involved in the Sands View scandal we learned about in season 3, Hunter was a paedophile, a killer and someone deeply embedded in the world of crime. He was about as unpleasant as it gets.

So it’s a pretty big shock that the soothing tones of Kelly MacDonald’s Jo Davidson are from the same bloodline.

A lot of fans correctly guessed that Jo and Tommy would be related – the Scottish link was the big clue – but we still don’t really know anything about the relationship between the pair.

It must explain how Jo’s ended up deeper than she wishes to go with the OCG, but quite what hold they have over her isn’t clear.

Has she always known she’s related to Tommy? When did she start working for the OCG? Was it before or after she joined the force? And how would a blood relative of Hunter possibly pass the vetting police process? Until we get a clearer idea on timelines, the Davidson/Hunter relationship is a big old mystery.

It’s going to make for an incredible final interview showdown when it does get revealed. Bring on the *beeeeeeeeeeeeep*

Who covered up the Lawrence Christopher case?


The biggest plot development in this week’s episode was the story of Lawrence Christopher. Lawrence was young black man who died in police custody 17 years ago. The cover-up of the police involved and its exposure of institutional racism are in many ways the day zero of the storyline that runs through the whole of Line of Duty seasons 1-6.

The officers revealed to be involved in the Lawrence case and cover-up were a fresh-faced Buckells, Marcus Thurwell (more on him later) and Chief Constable Osborne.

It was the Lawrence case that Gail Vella was investigating closely and all three of these men would have very good reasons for making sure she never told the true story.

The story of Lawrence Christopher in the show had many similarities to the tragic real world deaths of Christopher Alder and Stephen Lawrence - who we presume were also the inspiration for the character's name.

The details outlined by Chloe Bishop (Shalom Brune-Franklin) – police officers laughing and joking at the victim’s expense as he lay struggling with head injuries on the floor – match up with the reports of disgraceful and degrading treatment that officers gave Christopher Alder.

In the Alder case, the police put on trial in 2002 were acquitted by the judge, but in 2011 the government were forced to admit wrongdoing and pay compensation to Alder’s family after they were taken to the European Court of Human Rights. They also admitted they had failed to carry out an effective and independent inquiry. It’s a gut-wrenching story and is worth reading more about online this week if you aren’t already aware of the case.

Similarly, the institutional racism, the story of five suspects and the detail that Lawrence Christopher was an aspiring architect mirror the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993.

Who is Patrick Fairbank?

Patrick Fairbank (George Costigan) was the Chief Superintendent who was involved in the Sands View boys home scandal in season 3.

Fairbank was on the list of abusers listed by Danny Waldron, and he was the leading police figure involved in the scandal, which also included Jimmy Savile, and politican Dale Roach.

Steve and Chloe paid a visit behind bars to Fairbank, because he was one of the people on Gail Vella’s list of interviewees – a list which features pretty much every bent copper, lawyer and dodgy geezer we’ve seen across the six seasons of Line of Duty.

However, Fairbank doesn’t appear to have any memories of just about anything and ended up wetting his trousers as Steve unleashed the fury on the despicable criminal.

Fairbank might have proved to be a dead end, but one man who is definitely still of interest and who also appeared on Danny Waldron’s (Daniel Mays) Sands View list is Marcus Thurwell.

Who is James Nesbitt's character Marcus Thurwell?

When Steve pulled up a picture of James Thurwell and we saw James Nesbitt, we’re pretty sure that everyone who watched BBC crime drama Bloodlands will have shouted ‘Goliath!’ at the screen.

Nesbitt mentioned in the press interviews for Bloodlands how Mercurio had never asked him to be in Line of Duty – the cheeky chappie must have been on a wind-up with that little story.

Sadly, it doesn't look like we're getting a Bloodlands/Line of Duty crossover season. But we do have a new bent copper on the scene.

Who is Thurwell? He was the officer in charge or the Lawrence Christopher case. He was also one of the men who abused boys at Sands View.

After top dog Fairbank was arrested for the Sands View scandal, interest in chasing down Thurwell – who was last spotted in Spain – cooled off.

Will we get to see Nesbitt playing Thurwell in the final two episodes? That remains to be seen, but alongside CC Osborne (Owen Teale), he is now one of the top suspects to be the Fourth Man and ‘H’.

Why did Lee Banks agree to talk to Gail Vella?


Gail Vella had a long list of people she wanted to speak to (Gill Biggeloe! Roz Huntley!) but the only person who did agree to speak with her, two weeks before she was murdered, was Lee Banks (Alastair Natikel).

Lee is the OCG member who killed John Corbett in season 5 and he is the brother of Carl Banks – the prime suspect in the murder of Gail Vella, who was overheard bragging about his involvement in the pub.

Steve believes that Lee talked to Vella to find out what she was poking her nose into and when he found out, tipped off Carl and the OCG.

Steve tried to play on Lee’s emotions over the murder of Carl, but Lee is too deep in the OCG to break ranks and instead just dropped a juicy truth bomb about Hastings' visit in season 5.

Lee didn’t confirm whether Hastings named John Corbett specifically, but he did reveal that it was Hastings who informed him about there being an undercover police officer in their gang. This mistake from Hastings was ultimately what cost Corbett his life.

Is Hastings ‘Definately’ H?


Admit it, you screamed at your TV set at this moment too. The misspelling of definitely was a massive talking point in the show’s fifth season as we saw it appear in two instances.

Once from the mysterious ‘H’ figure communicating over a secure computer programme and secondly when Ted Hastings used the same misspelling.

When Jo Davidson pleaded with the OCG to make getting rid of Kate her last job, the unidentified figure delivering the orders replied: “Definately”.

Does this mean Ted really is H and the Fourth Man? Is he deliberately leaving Ryan in the field because he wanted him to kill Kate? Did he give Corbett’s name to Lee Banks as the “rat” in the OCG?

We don’t for a minute believe this theory, but the pressure is going to be on Hastings if the details of the cash in Steph Corbett’s attic is ever revealed by Steve.

Is CC Osborne going to use Pat Carmichael to take down Hastings and AC-12?


Pat’s back! And she’s on a mission from the orders of CC Osborne to clean house at AC-12. Carmichael and Hastings’ teams are facing an uncertain future and Anna Maxwell Martin’s ball-busting boss is ready to do just as Osborne pleases to keep her job.

That means shutting down all AC-12’s costly surveillance operations – which may have ended up costing Kate her life – and pushing Hastings out of the door pronto.

Carmichael attempted to bring down Hastings in season 5, but didn’t have enough evidence. But with Steve and Kate’s discovery of the cash in the attic, it looks like there might be a heartbreaking ending to Ted’s police career.

Watch Line of Duty season 1-5 on BBC iPlayer.

Watch season 6 every Sunday at 9pm on BBC One.

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