TV Show Review

TV Review: LINE OF DUTY: Season 2, Episode 3 [BBC]

Martin Compston Line of Duty Season 2 Episode 3

BBC’s Line of Duty Season 2 Episode 3 TV Show Review. Line of Duty: Season 2, Episode 3 is an improvement over Episode 2 and certifies that Line of Duty is a show of great quality. This is certainly the most realistic and gritty portrayal of police life I’ve seen in a television show. The detail is staggering but what’s more impressive is the way every little fraction of realism is used to great dramatic effect. The performances are as good as always and the story is thrilling. Episode 3 gives us a strong protagonist that breaks under the terrifying conditions of prison and we experience her dread over and over again in numerous scenes of the harsh jail atmosphere. If Episode 2 was a game of secrets that culminates in a breath-taking fashion, Episode 3 is a thorough experience of being locked up behind bars with the whole world against you, your only ally being yourself and your hopefully unbreakable spirit.

The realism is Line of Duty’s main strength. Regardless if we are talking about a trial of conviction, the procedure of getting into prison, the harsh reality of inmate life, we get to feel it all truthfully in a raw, unaltered manner. The way the guards in the prison talk, the way the camera hints at the protagonist’s fear of being attacked by other convicts are just examples of the numerous cinematic tricks that make Episode 3 work so well. Everything is used to create dramatic tension in a successful way and I could easily do with a couple of seasons with that gritty, completely devoted to its atmosphere story. There is no place for comedy and satisfaction.

The bare truth of police life is here and we just observe it. It’s a superb idea for a show, in my opinion and frankly before I saw Line of Duty I never imagined that there can be so many exciting moments about working in the police force. The truth is that it is a world of pain and merciless thrills and now Line of Duty is ready to give us every single moment of it. The whole show is very much low key-directed and it allows for the drama and the events to take us by the throat. It works so well, I begin to understand why the show’s opening credits are so over-the-top with epic strings playing in the background and drums beating at every line in the credits. Line of Duty truly deserves an epic opening.

This time around the main emotional connection between a mother and a daughter works the opposite way around-from hostile to friendly. We see a mother locked up in prison, tortured, hopeless and a daughter, who we know to be her only hope but is assured in her mother’s guilt. The story is written beautifully, allowing us to consume the dread and the hopelessness of Denton’s situation. At some point we are close to being sure that she won’t make it and we never really understand if she will. It is spectacular, how two episodes about such a specific genre and subject can be so different in terms of their main source of emotion but that only goes to show the talent of the writers.

Episode 3 offers a better story, more emotional moments, more awesome scenes and a truly encompassing sense of hopelessness. It surely doesn’t offer something as spectacular as the fifteen minutes of face-to-face dialogue duel from Episode 2’s conclusion but as a sum of its parts, Episode 3 is better, less flawed (not that there were many flaws in Episode 2, if any) and more balanced. Judging by the conclusion the main characters are in the middle of quite a mess so the next episodes feel so far away especially when they are now so eagerly expected. Line of Duty is certainly one of BBC’s best shows currently on the air.

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Deyan Angelov

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