Warming: series six spoilers ahead (but not from episode seven; just like you, I’m on the edge of my seat wishing away my Sunday for 9pm to roll around).
Six episodes have slipped by: nail-biting action sequences juxtaposed with tense interview scenes where the beeps are elongated and the technology seamless. (Although once – just once – I’d like to see “404: source not detected” flash up on the screen rather than a detailed street map of Polk Street nick and its environs or images of Jackie Laverty’s dismembered limbs – but I’m assuming AC12 commands a more lavish tech budget than the average school.)
Tonight we see the finale. Will Ted be forced into retirement? What the blithers is going on with Steve’s erectile dysfunction, and will he ever shag another suspect again? Will Kate’s immaculate cheekbones and piercing eyes actually cut through glass? Will the identity of “H” be revealed?
While we ponder these intriguing conundrums, allow me to combine the real world of education and the fictional world of police anti-corruption in the form of a character quiz.
Line of Duty: Which character is most like your teacher self?
I need to warn you, this is little more than a thinly veiled excuse to chat idly about my favourite procedural police drama, and must NOT be used as a recruitment tool.
1. What’s your teaching style?
a) I’m matey – although, when stress gets to me, I can be distant, secretive even. I never raise my voice.
b) No-nonsense – I have a powerful death stare, but I’m emotionally intelligent and a good listener.
c) Passive-aggressive ice queen.
d) I teach to the letter. The letter of the curriculum. The letter.
2. You find yourself in an exasperating situation with a colleague. What do you say?
a) “Armed police!” (Oh, come on, we all knew the flimsy education analogy was going to break down pretty swiftly…)
b) “Look, we’re student support – we do this every day. Now piss off and stop making a tit of yourself.”
c) “If – for some inexplicable reason – you don’t know who I am…”
d) “Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the wee donkey!”
3. You suspect a colleague (possibly the one alluded to above or, indeed, another colleague, because frankly – and, to my mind, ironically – your whole department is riddled with wrong ’uns) is up to no good. What do you do?
a) Go round to their flat and – over a bottle of wine and a takeaway – attempt to seduce them.
b) Arm yourself with a semi-automatic rifle, hitch a ride on the side of a lorry and hunt them down in an unfeasibly protracted chase scene.
c) Carry out a series of interrogative interviews in a melodic whisper, presenting watertight evidence with irrefutable logic.
d) "I didn’t float up the Lagan in a bubble – these fellas aren’t going to pull the wool over my eyes that easily. But I’ll afford them the courtesy of an interview conducted by an SLT member at least one rank above them – as is their right."
4. It’s bank-holiday Monday and you have a minor plumbing emergency at home (bear with me – the punchline is worth it). In the DIY store, an assistant approaches you. What do you say?
a) "Analysis shows there’s a 99.9 per cent chance the source is from an upstairs room in a property in the Moss Heath area…"
b) "The leak can only have come from one place – unless…"
c) "I’m not a big fan of gaffer tape."
d) "I’m interested in one thing and one thing only – and that’s bent copper."
If you answered mostly a)...
You’re Steve Arnott. A little on the short side, obsessed with your job, you’ve been violently worked over at least once every 12 months for the last nine years and your sex life is on the blink. No wonder you’re struggling with a painkiller addiction. Stop ignoring the messages from occ health and look after yourself.
You’re Kate Fleming. Mate. You’re at your best with arms folded, lips pursed and an intense gaze fixed on a shifty-looking co-worker. But are you what you seem? Loyal colleague, deep undercover or the woman pulling all the strings?
You’re Patricia Carmichael. Everyone hates you – you don’t care. But just while you’re here, Ma’am, would you mind spelling “definitely” for me?
Mother of God! You’re Superintendent Ted Hastings: either the epitome of a battle-hardened veteran defending honesty and integrity – or an OCG mastermind. I hope it’s not the latter, because if you are, I wish you’d had the sense to choose a codename that isn’t the same as the initial letter of your surname. But, above all, if it does turn out you’re bent, I don’t think I can ever trust another human being again.
The series six finale of Line of Duty is on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday. Phones, off, brew made, no talking. We’ve got the bank holiday to recover.
Sarah Ledger is an English teacher and director of learning for Year 11 at William Howard School in Brampton, Cumbria. She has been teaching for 34 years