BBC’s Line of Duty Season 2 Episode 2 TV Show Review. Line of Duty: Season 2, Episode 2 sacrifices every ounce and possibility of comedy in order to stay true to the realistic experience of the story. Line of Duty recreates the tension and the dark atmosphere of the contemporary cop in accurate and successful, if not the best way possible. Episode 2 is marked by some dramatic short sequences and a nearly 15 minute scene, which is one of the longest and most superbly written scenes in a cop TV show I have ever seen. The show is obviously flawed at some points, but the quality of acting, the pace and the story is high enough not only to maintain our interest but also to thrill and excite.
The script is the episode’s best ingredient. We are following a murder investigation the core of which is right at the heart of the police, the victim and the murderer being one of their own, which raises the stakes and the intrigue additionally. We follow the viewpoints of different police officers who are struggling to find the killer including the main character who has skilfully been placed in the position of the suspect. The writers have made all the good decisions in order to tell their story and boast the drama and the tension. The characters are proficiently explored, the common tragedy affecting them equally, with a very interesting dark and cold protagonist, who is just as humourless and thrilling as the show.
The grim tone might prove tiring for some viewers. I didn’t mind it because I highly appreciated the fact that the show is really trying to depict truthfully the police job and make it work through reality and not through fiction. In real police murder investigation there is no place for jokes or light-headed comedy and you will find not a single drop of it in this episode. There are many moments of police investigation that are realistically portrayed, like for instance announcing the death to the loved ones of the victim or the perfect knowledge of the police code. The reality of police life and line of work has been put to full use in this TV show and rightly so the dark tone has to dominate for the sake of good cinema because it is obviously vital for it. The final fifteen minutes offer a long conversation scene which is spectacular to behold as it contains countless unforeseen twists and clashes of police hardened spirits. That scene sealed the deal for me that Line of Duty is a solid TV drama.
After the story and the hard work of the writers, the best part of the episode and possibly the show is the acting, the main actress Keeley Hawes demonstrating her broad talent in multiple ways. Her cold, merciless nature, ambiguous and threatening is very impactful and quite unforgettable. Second place goes to Martin Compston, the most wounded from the tragedy officer and the closest person to Hawes’s character. The actors are the ones who bring humanity and emotional resonance in this one hour mechanical but thrilling investigation of a mystery. The script is not really dramatic but the actors put up their best work and the final product is quite successful.
That being said, there are some obvious failures, which of course can’t overshadow the success of the episode. I found the visual style, particularly the constant zoom-ins and outs incredibly distracting. I didn’t find them necessary since they took me out of the dramatic moment. I had the feeling they are there just for the sake of style which didn’t assist the drama in any way. There were also some scenes like on in which the main character starts dramatically playing the piano that were a bit too over the top. The drama, the story and the acting are good and dark enough already. Over the top direction doesn’t do them justice.
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