Line of Duty finale receives mixed reviews in today's papers

‘Tyre-screeching climactic episode… was more of a slow puncture’: Line of Duty finale receives mixed reviews in today’s papers (but fans’ verdict was far less forgiving)

  • Viewers last night tuned into the nail-biting series finale of Line of Duty 
  • The mysterious antagonist ‘H’ was finally unmasked as DSI Ian Buckells
  • This morning, Britain’s newspapers carried mixed reviews of the episode 

Viewers last night tuned into the nail-biting series finale of Line of Duty – which saw the mysterious antagonist ‘H’ finally unmasked.

This morning, Britain’s newspapers carried mixed reviews of the episode, with some pointing out gaping plot holes in the hugely-popular bent plot drama.

While some critics hailed the unveiling of ‘H’ – revealed to be  DSI Ian Buckells – as ‘brilliantly tense’, others called the finale ‘something of a slow puncture’. 

Here, we round up what Britain’s top TV pundits had to say. 

Viewers last night tuned into the nail-biting series finale of Line of Duty (pictured) – which saw the mysterious antagonist ‘H’ finally unmasked

While some critics hailed the unveiling of ‘H’ – revealed to be DSI Ian Buckells (pictured) – as ‘brilliantly tense’, others called the finale ‘something of a slow puncture’

The Mirror: ‘Brilliantly tense’ unveiling scene in a finale which ‘neatly tied up’ loose ends

The Daily Mirror’s Sara Wallis described the scene in which 15 million viewers discovered the identity of ‘H’ as ‘brilliantly tense’.

She also said viewers should be thankful for the ‘upshot of the season finale’, which was ‘that lots of loose ends were neatly tied up’.

The key word being ‘lots’ as viewers rushed to condemn the show for its still-remaining plot holes – including why Buckells ordered the attempted murder of DCI Jo Davidson, when she was under the belief H was actually another dirty former police chief, DCS Patrick Fairbank.

But Wallis said creator Jed Mercurio would be unlikely to give everything away adding: ‘Where would be the fun in that?’

The Daily Mirror’s Sara Wallis described the scene in which 15 million viewers discovered the identity of ‘H’ as ‘brilliantly tense’

The i: ‘What should have been a tyre-screeching climactic episode was something of a slow puncture’

The i’s Gerard Gilbert gave the finale three stars out of five, claiming the revelation that  Buckells was ‘H’ ‘turned what should have been a tyre-screeching climactic episode into something of a slow puncture’.

Gilbert said that while Jed Mercurio ‘is a genius at building suspense’, the ‘template now feels warn’ as Line of Duty’s sixth season came to a conclusion.

But he did praise the show for becoming ‘a collective experience’ where vast swathes of the country watched together.

The i’s Gerard Gilbert gave the finale three stars out of five, claiming the revelation that Buckells was ‘H’ ‘turned what should have been a tyre-screeching climactic episode into something of a slow puncture’

The Times: ‘Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio may singlehandedly save scheduled TV from the streamers’

The Times gave the episode four out of five stars in its review, calling the show a ‘brilliant puzzle of the straight and the bent, the dodgy and the do-gooding’.

Critic Ben Dowell heaped praise on writer Jed Mercurio’s ‘planet-size brain’, saying he ‘may singlehandedly save scheduled TV from the streamers’.

Dowell also disagreed with those fearing this episode was the show’s last, urging its creators to put out a seventh series.

The Times gave the episode four out of five stars in its review, calling the show a ‘brilliant puzzle of the straight and the bent, the dodgy and the do-gooding’

The Guardian: ‘It was all fine. But, oh my, you really should have seen it when it was good’

The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan – who gave the finale three stars – said Line of Duty’s latest series paled in comparison to some of it’s earlier ones.

She said the finale revealed the identity of ‘H’, although arguably ‘rather anti-climactically’.

Mangan also focused on the rekindling of friendship between DI Steve Arnott and DI Kate Fleming.

She said the conclusion ‘attempted to reassert the pair’s relationship’, but claimed the move was too late. 

Mangan also pointed out the series’ plot holes, which she said ‘belied Mercurio’s reputation for watertight narratives’.

The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan – who gave the finale three stars – said Line of Duty’s latest series paled in comparison to some of it’s earlier ones

The Daily Telegraph: The finale was ‘genuine edge-of-the seat stuff’

The Daily Telegraph gave the finale four stars, with its critic Anita Singh dubbing the unveiling of ‘H’ ‘genuine edge-of-the seat stuff’.

She praised Buckells actor Nigel Boyle as ‘the standout performer of this series’. 

Singh also dubbed the finale ‘clever’ tying up loose ends and praised Mercurio’s ‘superb achievement’.

The Daily Telegraph gave the finale four stars, with its critic Anita Singh dubbing the unveiling of ‘H’ ‘genuine edge-of-the seat stuff’.

Mike Ward described Buckells as an ‘over-promoted twerp, motivated by greed’ as the superintendent was unveiled as ‘H’ in the final episode.

But Ward – who doesn’t believe this episode was the show’s last – said ‘a neat, happy ending would have felt odd’ for the series, which has strayed away from crowd pleasing throughout its six seasons.

He said the unveiling of ‘H’ as Buckells – who’s fate was sealed by his spelling – was satisfying for viewers, who had watched him frequently misspell ‘definitely’.

Mike Ward described Buckells as an ‘over-promoted twerp, motivated by greed’ as the superintendent was unveiled as ‘H’ in the final episode

What do the fans have to say?  

Loyal viewers took to social media in their droves to share their frustrations as officers from the police anti-corruption unit AC-12 discovered the identity of the elusive ‘fourth man’.

But the revelation the bent copper colluding with the organised crime groups (OCGs), was actually Buckells infuriated many seasoned fans. 

And while the finale tied up many unresolved storylines, there were still some gaping plot holes left unanswered.

Perhaps the most vexing was why Buckells ordered the attempted murder of DCI Jo Davidson, when she was under the belief H was actually another dirty former police chief, DCS Patrick Fairbank.

Davidson was also given a luxury life in witness protection – despite the fact the intelligence she delivered was completely wrong. 

Sharing their disappointment on the revelation, one disgruntled Line of Duty fan wrote on Twitter: ‘Can’t believe I watched six seasons of line of Duty for Ian Buckells, the most pointless character to be the fourth man. Fuming.’

While another viewer added: ‘I’m fuming, can’t believe I waited this long for Ian Buckells to run the roost.’    

Fans shared their  frustrations as officers of the police anti-corruption unit AC-12 discovered the identity of the elusive ‘fourth man’

While another wrote: ‘We waited 10 years for Ian Buckells to be revealed as the OCG mastermind.’

Another commented: ‘Everyone in the UK when we waited all this time for Ian Buckells to be revealed as the OCG mastermind.’

Meanwhile another fan said: ‘I would have accepted Hastings as H over Ian bloody Buckells #LineOfDuty #LineofDutyFinale.’

Elsewhere another viewer added: ‘I once got the entire UK invested in a TV show only to end it with bumbling Ian Buckells being H #LineofDutyFinale #LineOfDuty.’

And another wrote: ‘Well I hate to say it but that’s a disappointing ending. I refuse to believe it was all down to Ian Buckells of all people.’

One frustrated fan added: ‘In whose universe is Ian Buckells any kind of mastermind of anything? I’m dazed and completely confused.’

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