NO sooner had Line of Duty fans vaguely recovered from last week’s DNA cliffhanger, than the BBC1 crime thriller dropped its most nerve-shredding ending yet.
After an extremely tense face-off between DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and corrupt cop PC Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper), with both screaming at each other to drop their gun, two gunshots were fired.
But who shot first?
And if that wasn’t enough to worry about, DCS Patricia Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin) swanned back into AC-12 to take control.
It was revealed that DCI Jo Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) is related to crime lord Tommy Hunter.
Suspicion was reignited over our favourite TV gaffer Supt Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar). And James Nesbitt popped up as the new suspect on the block.
Mother of God, it’s a wonder the nation has any nails left...
With fans still reeling, we ask the burning questions...
Has Kate survived?
In dramatic final scenes of the episode, Kate realised she’d been played by Jo, having been lured to a dodgy lorry park at night.
Fortunately, Kate did think it was a bit of a weird location to have a catch-up drink with your boss, so she texted her mate DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), who alerted AC-12.
But the showdown with Ryan happened before they could come to her rescue.
With both refusing to drop their gun and neither wanting to shoot the other - Ryan, because he feared recriminations - it was a question of who would crack first.
Two gunshots were fired as the scene faded to black. Did one shoot the other and the other fire back? Did one shoot twice? Will either or both be injured or dead?
Craig Parkinson, who starred in the show as bent cop ‘Dot’ Cottan, recently said he had a hunch that one of the three main characters would be killed off.
“I feel something tragic is going to happen to somebody we love,” he predicted.
This is not helping our nerves. Fingers crossed Ryan is the one to cop it.
Is Hastings back in the frame?
We can hardly bear to say it, but doubt has been cast once again over Supt Ted Hastings.
In series five, Hastings was arrested on suspicion of being ‘H’, the fourth senior officer alleged to be in league with the OCG (Organised Crime Group).
He had been framed by Gill Biggeloe and was ultimately let off with a warning.
But now a gutted Steve has found out that Hastings gave £50,000 of dirty money to Steph Corbett, an unlawful act but we think done out of a moral obligation to help her.
Steve and Kate then seemed suspicious when Hastings refused to arrest Ryan, preferring to keep ‘the new caddy’ on the force to lead to the big fish.
It makes sense that Hastings would do this, especially having been told by PCC Rohan Sindwhani (Ace Bhatti) to prove ‘H’ to save AC-12.
However, as Jo messaged the OCG on her miraculously intact laptop, the anonymous criminal wrote ‘definately’, spelled wrong.
Hastings does this, too, but it is a common error. Clue, code word or red herring?
Finally, Lee Banks said Hastings knew there was a rat in their crew, leaving Steve shaken.
“I think I’ve found the real reason the gaffer gave £50k to Steph Corbett,” he told Kate. But what did he tell her?
Does he think Hastings had Corbett killed? Is Hastings corrupt? And if so, will there be counselling available for devastated fans?
When will we meet DCI Marcus Thurwell?
Social media was alight last week with rumours of a famous actor due to guest star, after a BBC blunder leaked a clip.
Those lined-up as likely candidates included David Tennant and Robert Carlyle, but it was Cold Feet actor James Nesbitt whose face suddenly popped up on an AC-12 computer search.
Before Jimmy Lakewell was strangled in prison, he revealed to Steve in the police van that Gail Vella was investigating the 2003 murder of Lawrence Christopher.
Architect Lawrence was killed in a racially-motivated attack by a gang of white youths. Institutional racism in the police and ‘procedural errors’ meant the attackers weren’t convicted.
And the senior investigating officer in charge? DCI Marcus Thurwell (Nesbitt), who is also linked to the Sands View Boys’ Home case of sexual abuse, having mysteriously signed off the death of a Sands View complainant as suicide.
Last spotted in Spain, Thurwell has since vanished... can a newly-handcuffed AC-12 track him down?
Who are the prime suspects behind Gail Vella’s murder?
We think it’s most likely that dear departed villain Carl Banks was the man who shot journalist Gail Vella (Andi Osho) after she started digging into organised crime.
“Your brother Carl is our prime suspect,” said Steve to Lee Banks (Alastair Natkiel), the jailed OCG member who killed Jimmy.
“Course he is, blame the dead guy,” said Lee.
But someone higher up gave the order - who was it? “The top man or woman gave Carl the order to silence Gail, how’s that for a theory?” asked Steve.
But who would benefit from Vella’s death? Thurwell would because he covered up the Christopher case.
But clever DC Chloe Bishop (Shalom Brune-Franklin) discovered others involved in that case, on Thurwell’s team - DS Ian Buckells and Chief Constable Philip Osbourne.
“It could have been any one of them who gave the order!” said Steve. And does this mean that person is also ‘H’?
“Mother of God,” said Hastings. Yes, indeed.
Is DCI Jo Davidson’s family actually the Sopranos?
Kate’s face was an absolute picture when Team AC-12 revealed why they’d put her new BFF Jo Davidson under surveillance...
Her personnel file gave Samantha Davidson, who is actually dead, as next of kin. AND she’s a partial DNA match for criminal kingpin Tommy Hunter - last seen leading the OCG before being killed off in series two.
It was Tommy who recruited ‘Dot’ and also turned out to be a paedophile.
“That’s not the worst of it,” said Steve. “There’s an unusually high percentage match” and then mumbled a word none of us understands - “homozygosity”.
A google suggests identical genes inherited from parents, so does this mean they are siblings? Anyone out there with a genetics degree?
The Long Lost Family revelations didn’t end there.
Chloe uncovered old witness statements from the Christopher case that named one attacker as Darren Hunter, Tommy Hunter’s son. So is Jo his auntie?
And who is the woman in the photo with Jo in her apartment? Is that her dead mother Samantha? Are her OCG relatives responsible for the death? And how is her flat so tidy?
Is DCS Patricia Carmichael bent?
If the return of DCS Carmichael, played with absolute glee by Anna Maxwell Martin, didn’t spell so much trouble for our heroes, we would have cheered.
The absolute queen of passive aggressive remarks, and the grim reaper of AC-12, Carmichael was last seen in series five questioning Ted’s integrity. How very dare she.
“I don’t mind maam or boss, I’m not a big fan of guvnor or gaffer... speak of the devil,” she said, gliding into the office like a supervillain, flanked by henchmen all in black.
She then told Hastings about the restructuring of AC-12 and told him firmly why they weren’t, as he said, “the best in the business”.
Did she suspend all AC-12’s surveillance, undermining everything they’d done, because she’s an egotistical top brass robot with no policing sense or because she’s in on it all?
She even recommended proceedings to be dropped against Buckells, who we now know is a prime suspect for ordering Vella’s murder.
And she didn’t even want the team rushing to Kate’s rescue. Is she controlling or corrupt?
Her tightly-wound persona suggests she’s at least one of the two...
*Line of Duty continues Sundays, BBC1, 9pm.