Line of Duty fans have taken to Twitter to express their confusion over the identity of “H”.
Jed Mercurio’s crime drama drew to a close on Sunday night (2 May) in a finale that saw the show’s long-running “H” storyline – in which four corrupt coppers were revealed to be part of an undercover syndicate – get wrapped up, with the enigmatic “fourth man” unveiled in episode seven.
*Spoilers follow – you have been warned*
It turned out that the blundering Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells (Nigel Boyle) was the missing member, a revelation that left viewers feeling supremely underwhelmed.
Some fans believe they spotted something strange in episode four that could change everything.
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On Twitter, viewers highlighted a scene from episode four that saw Jimmy Lakewell (Patrick Baladi) strangled by Organised Crime Group member Lee Banks (Alastair Natkiel). The scene saw Lakewell enter a cell with Buckells, who looked visibly shaken.
“We’ve got to share – overcrowding,” Buckells said, before spilling the milk he was pouring into his cup of tea due to nerves.
After beginning to strangle Lakewell, Banks then turned to Buckells and said: “Now you watch what happens to a rat.”
Fans think Buckells’s reaction suggests he couldn’t have been the one who ordered the killing – possibly suggesting that he wasn’t “H” at all.
One fan wrote: “If buckles is / was H why was he shaking and nervous when Jimmy Lakewell was murdered in his cell. appreciate there is someone above him ‘still” but hardly the reaction of a OSG criminal.”
“Hang on a minute …. If Buckles is H, who was sending him a warning when they strangled Lakewell in front of him? I’m not having this,” another said.
The finale does still make sense, however – the fourth episode was just a way of throwing viewers off the scent. Buckells could still be “H”, this scene just ties in to the idea that he was never a criminal mastermind, as AC-12 believed “the fourth man” to be, but instead an individual who did small favours for several organised crime groups.
As Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) fumed at Buckells: “Your corruption was mistaken for incompetence.”.
The actor who played Buckells, Nigel Boyle, appeared on BBC Breakfast to defend the finale, saying: “There’s always going to be some element of disappointment. You can’t have every series with a big shoot out and ‘urgent exit required’. Sometimes a subtler message is more important.”
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