Ian Buckells is NOT H after Line of Duty fans unearth his previous blunder?
Line of Duty season six concluded tonight and BBC One viewers tuned into see Jed Mercurio reveal the fourth member of H being DS Ian Buckells (played by Nigel Boyle). As for fan-favourites Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), DS Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and DI Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) they were seen leaving AC-12 together, not knowing whether they would return or work with one another again after DCS Patricia Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin) had taken over the department before she dissolved it. Despite the major mystery - which had been a storyline in several of the six seasons - being answered, those watching at home were left perplexed and took to Twitter suggesting a previous scene involving Buckells suggested he was not the fourth man.
After pulling Buckell's in for questioning, Hastings asked: “Are you the fourth man?” And he replied: “No comment.”
The fan favourite went on: “The secret life…the big house, the fast cars, the bits on the side, is that what turned your head?”
“No comment,” the corrupt cop answered and Hastings continued: “You know, over the years we have investigated all manner of motives, but the most mundane, basest motive of them all, plain simple greed.
“You were a DC on a bent team, Thurwell’s and as you made your way up through the ranks there wasn’t anything that you wouldn’t turn your hand to as long as the price was right. That’s the top and bottom of it, isn’t it fella?”
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Ian Buckells is NOT H after Line of Duty fans unearth his previous blunder? (Image: BBC)
“No comment,” Buckells chimed.
“You rose through the ranks all right, leaving a trail of blunders behind you,” Hastings added. “How some people can fail upwards - beggars belief. And all the time we were here thinking we were chasing some criminal mastermind.
“But no, just like your old boss Thurwell, who botched the Lawrence Christoper murder inquiry, your corruption was mistaken for incompetence!” Hastings shouted.
“Your cover was so convincing that even your DCI, Jo Davidson didn’t realise that the blundering fool she was framing was actually the person who was pulling her strings all along.”
Buckells finally said: “Yes, right, I’m a blundering fool. I’m only the one who’s made total mugs out of you lot.”
But fans refused to believe Buckells was capable of working with the OCG.
One said on Twitter: “These OCGS are using Buckells as a decoy to create something bigger #LineofDutyFinale #LineOfDuty.”
Line of Duty: Buckells claimed he made a "fool" of AC-12 (Image: BBC)
“This is a trap. No way is it buckles. He's a scape goat. I refuse to believe its him. #lineofduty,” someone else mentioned.
“I think Buckles is a frontman for the big boss. #LineOfDuty,” a fan added.
“Nah. Not buying it. He shat it when Lee Banks did Lakewell. He’s a middle man. #LineOfDuty,” a viewer said in reference to a scene in a previous episode.
While one tweet read: “He was absolutely s******* it making the tea in the prison cell. It ain’t him. #LineOfDuty.”
And in reference to Buckells' reaction when Lee Banks killed Lakeside in the prison cell, details from that scene in episode four were as follows.
"What’s this?" Lakewell asked when he walked back into his cell after being questioned by AC-12.
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Line of Duty: In episode 4 Lee Banks killed Lakewell in front of Buckells (Image: BBC)
"We’ve got to share - overcrowding," Buckells lied and split the milk he was trying to pour into his tea over the countertop and Lakewell continued: "Where’s your bunk?"
"They’re bringing it now," Buckells commented and then footsteps were heard in the corridor and in walked Lee Banks who put a wire around Lakewell's neck and proceeded to strangle him.
Lee Banks then told Buckells: "Now you watch what happens to a rat."
Considering how unnerved Buckells looked when he had to witness one of the OCG kill a fellow H member, does this mean that he isn't the top man after all?
This then raises the question - who was pulling Buckells' strings?
One fan thought: "Osbourne was the last man! Buckles was passing on messages, that’s it. Osbourne was the one promoting him all the time. Everyone including Carmichael knew there was nothing they could do because he’s so high up #LineOfDuty #LineofDutyFinale."
Someone else had the same idea: "Mother of God, was that it for #LineOfDuty, @jed_mercurio? Nine years, and we get Buckells as one of the main bad guys, and Osborne gets away with it all and takes over AC. I'm hereby serving you with a Regulation 15 notice, fella, further action can be avoided with a new series."
Chief Constable of Central Police Philip Osborne (Owen Teale) had recently been on AC-12's radar but Carmichael had put a roadblock between them digging deeper and questioning him.
In the final scenes, captions showed up on the screen about how Buckells being H had impacted everything else.
“Darren Hunter is under investigation for the murder of Lawrence Christopher. A cold-case inquiry has yet to be opened officially," the first one read.
“Joanne Davidson was enrolled in a Witness Protection programme. Her present whereabouts are classified.
Line of Duty: Ian's evidence may not be used in court (Image: BBC)
“Ian Buckells has been confined to the Vulnerable Prisoners Unit of an undisclosed maximum security prison.
“Systematic restructuring of anti-corruption units, continues with close colleagues of the Chief Constable appointed to senior positions.
“Central Police have submitted an application for public-interest immunity in legal proceedings against Ian Buckells. If successful, no evidence relating to institutionalised corruption will be heard in court.
“Currently AC-12’s powers to curb wrongdoing in public office have never been weaker,” the final comment said.
And someone on Reddit summed the finale up with: "Honestly that is one of the best endings I've seen to a TV show in a long time. Shame the majority of the viewers are idiots who couldn't understand that the message is: nothing ever changes, corrupt organisations destroy even the most principled people."
As to whether there is going to be a seventh series, the show's creator, Jed Mercurio seemed to hint at season six being the grande finale.
Taking to Twitter, Jed said: "Working with@Vicky_McClure @martin_compston #AdrianDunbar has been the highlight of my career. Thanks to the rest of the cast, our brilliant crews and the production team @worldprods @BBCOne @BBCTwo for six incredible seasons."
Line of Duty seasons one to six are available to watch on the BBC iPlayer now.