Series 1 Episode 3
‘I’m the wrong man for this job. Gates has won.’ That was Steve’s message to Superintendent Hastings and Kate that ended the episode. Even when it felt as though his life was spiralling out of control, DCI Gates still managed to stay one step ahead of Steve. Steve’s dogged determination to find evidence that DCI Gates was with Jackie Laverty on the night she was attacked led to a desperate measures, from searching DCI Gates’s car in front of everyone at the police station to going to his home and talking to his wife. Steve kept trying, but he wasn’t getting results.
On top of everything, he met with the senior firearms officer of his former counterterrorism unit and saw a man struggling with his guilt. He tried to convince Steve to fall in line with the lie their boss wanted them to tell, put the tragedy behind them and move on to be the cleanest, most dedicated members of the police force. He figured that was exactly what Steve was trying to do by joining anti-corruption. Uncertain of the right course of action, unable to accomplish what he did set out to do, Steve quit AC-12.
Earlier, it was Steve who told Kate that he would push from the outside whilst she pushed from the inside. That Kate did not fall for the trap Gates set (he told all the members of his squad different locations on where he supposedly hid the missing glass from Jackie’s house) was already a success. Deepak was removed from Gates’s inner circle whilst Kate remained. The glass everyone was looking for was right there in the department pantry, washed and cleaned of evidence.
AC-12 didn’t have anything on DCI Gates yet, outside of the laddering, but whoever Jackie worked for held him at a stranglehold. Three men wearing balaclavas and young Ryan Pilkington kidnapped Gates and showed him Jackie’s body, now kept in a freezer. The crime boss called and told Gates that he now worked for him, otherwise, evidence that he killed Jackie would be found. Remember that one of the balaclava men pressed the knife that killed Jackie against Gates’s fingers, so his fingerprints were on the murder weapon. It was possible that Gates’s DNA was also on Jackie. By now, he had been forced to admit his relationship with her to AC-12, though he framed her as a stalker. It would not be difficult for anyone to believe he killed Jackie.
When DCI Gates was called in for an interview with AC-12, it showed Gates crafting one lie, getting caught, then modifying his statement with another lie, creating one story after another that was just enough to keep him on active duty. But AC-12 played with the rules; the person on the other end of the disposable cell phone he now had to carry with him did not. 'I'm not bent', DCI Gates declared to Kate, and he was not, to his eyes, not initially, not in the way that he now had to be because of Jackie. What Line of Duty has explored thrillingly was the slippery slope of corruption. Cross one line, and another presents itself along the way. Cross another line, then another. DCI Gates now found that someone was trying to dictate which lines he had to cross. It was a harrowing tale for a man who was often, though not always, not nearly always, good.
■ The first time I watched Line of Duty, I remember feeling very concerned about the kid who played the child runner of a criminal enterprise, identified in this episode as Ryan Pilkington. The role was frighteningly realistic, but I also worried that all the words he said, the violent attitude of the kid, the horrific scenes he participated in, may affect the young actor Gregory Piper. I do acknowledge that I grew up a sheltered kid in a conservative culture, so maybe all that was okay? It turned out that a complaint was made against BBC to Ofcom. According to Ofcom, BBC breached the Broadcasting Code by 'failing to ensure that a child welfare counsellor or psychologist had considered the appropriateness or potential emotional risk to the boy of his involvement'. Please note that the article linked here regarding the complaint contains spoilers for upcoming episodes.
■ How did DCI Gates talk his way out of Steve finding him inside Jackie's house at the same time that there was blood on the floor and Jackie was missing? DCI Gates claimed he went there to arrest Jackie for manslaughter, for the death of her accountant.
■ DC Kate Fleming was very, very good at her job. It was she who noticed the ring mark on the tray inside Jackie's house, which suggested that another glass was there recently, perhaps used by whoever was in the house with her that night. She also cooly placed herself in the middle of DCI Gates's inner circle. She did her job both as AC-12 and TO-20 (Gates's squad) and acing both. I'm a Kate stan.
■ Kate to DCI Gates, re AC-12: 'They don't get the difference between a corrupt copper and a decent one who made a mistake.'
■ An officer called for an interview by AC-12 is entitled to be questioned by another officer at least one rank superior.
■ Steve may have later thought that DCI Gates won, but during the interview with AC-12, Steve put together a convincing case against him, and caught him on several lies.
■ DCI Gates was replaced as lead investigator of the Jackie Laverty case by DCI Buckells.
■ For hitting Ryan, Mr. Butterfield would either accept a caution, which meant he would have a criminal record, or go to court. Mr. Butterfield lodged another complaint against Kate.
■ Out of everyone on the team, it was Dot who first one to voice out that he was actively considering shifting allegiances away from DCI Gates.
■ Nige pointed out to DCI Gates that the only ones who knew he was not answering his job phone on the night Jackie went missing were himself, Dot, and Kate.
■ During dinner with Superintendent Hastings, Chief Superintendent Hilton indicated that DCI Gates did not have his support because he did not solve the Greek Lane murders. Chief Superintendent Hilton seemed more like a political animal than a police officer. He was the one who cast blame on Kate for a decision he made regarding Mr. Butterfield's case.