Plot: DCI Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton) is under a lot of pressure, as a serial killer seems to be preying on young women and with each new disappearance, she feels the vise tighten even more. After countless near misses and wild goose chases, Roz is confident she has the right suspect in her sights. Michael Farmer (Scott Reid) has been charged and while he fits the profile, with a record filled with sexual offenses, not everyone thinks he is the killer. Tim (Jason Watkins) is a forensics expert and he is certain that not only is Farmer innocent in this case, but that Roz has plenty of skeletons in her closet. So he reaches out to the anti-corruption task force, which leads to Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Arnott (Martin Compston) being dispatched to once again follow the trail of potential corruption.
Entertainment Value: Line of Duty has built season after season of addictive, masterful detective narratives, brought to life through a skilled cast of regulars and bursts of big name talent each new series. In this fourth season, things go a little more off the rails than normal for the show, but this collection of episodes is once again riveting and continues the show’s watermark of excellence. The first episode is intense and seems impossible to follow up on, but this six episode run maintains and even improves on that standard set in the series opener. The premise is familiar, but as always, once the story builds a little, all kinds of twists and turns are revealed and to me, this is the most frenetic series of the show. The pace is fast and there’s a more kinetic texture to these episodes, but it still feels like Line of Duty, through and through. I do think the sense of realism the show was founded on has been diluted by this point, but it still makes more of an effort than most similar shows.
This series of Line of Duty continues the well established approach of bringing back our core anti-corruption task force, while a big name star fills a new role and in this case, we have Thandie Newton. She is excellent in this role and has just the right blend of cold presence and charisma, a natural fit to bring Roz to life. She’s the kind of unpredictable, hard to read character Line of Duty thrives on, so she was a fantastic catch and really delivers. But while Newton is the splashiest presence in this season, Jason Watkins makes sure his performance is memorable as well. He is a similar presence, someone who is hard to get a make on and by turn, you’re never sure what to expect and that is a vital element in this series. Our beloved anti-corruption task force squad is back as well, with Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure, and Martin Compston in the leads and of course, a number of the smaller roles are returns as well. McClure and Compston continue to be superb leads and the longer the series run, the more they seem to shine in these roles, it is remarkable work. This fourth series gets a little more wild at times, but is still a terrific, addictive collection of episodes.