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29th Mar 2021

Line of Duty: Reddit user explains theory that Buckells is last remaining member of ‘H’

DCI Buckells has been involved in every big case, he's been there from the start, and his apparent incompetence is the perfect cover

Reuben Pinder

Reddit loves a theory, and this one sounds very plausible

We’re two episodes into the sixth and final series of Line of Duty now and the theories are full and flowing on social media.

There is a lot to take in from the first two episodes, with the show creators involving a lot of old storylines from previous series, but let’s focus on Ted Hastings’ main goal: discovering who the last remaining member of ‘H’s is.

‘H’ of course refers to the highest ranking corrupt officers working with the Organised Crime Group throughout the show. In previous series, we have discovered that Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan, DCI Hilton and Hargreaves were the first three. But there is one more for to catch, even if Steve suggested in episode two that he was less invested in Hastings’ obsession than before.

And one Reddit user has put forward their case that the last remaining member of ‘H’ is Ian Buckells. Yeah, that bafflingly incompetent officer who always seems to be involved but never seems to have a grip on things. It’s almost the perfect cover, right?

The Reddit post, written by user Clem_Crozier a whole nine months ago before series 6 aired, outlines everything that has happened in the previous five series that points towards Ian Buckells being one of the top corrupt officers. Here goes.

The post begins by reiterating who we already know is part of H: Hilton, Dot and Hargreaves.

It then explains that “The OCG has been in operation since before the beginning of the first series. So whoever is the top bent copper must have been in a senior police role for quite a while.”

“Jed [show creator] has been bringing back a lot of stuff from the first season recently. The return of Ryan Pilkington as the new Caddy, the balaclava men, such as Miroslav Miskovic, the manipulation of Terry Boyle, even finding Jackie Laverty’s body in the freezer all those years later,” the post says.

Excellent foresight given this was laid out nine months before series 6, when Ryan Pilkington has returned as an officer and Boyle has been framed for a murder.

“This points me in the direction of Ian Buckells, a DI since the first season,” the writer adds. So far, it makes sense.

You’ll need to cast your mind back to the early series for the next bit, but it all adds up. Clem_Crozier recalls events from the start of the show that Buckells was involved in, all of which point to him being corrupt, and possibly part of ‘H’.

“Who assigned Buckells as SIO of the Jackie Laverty case? Derek Hilton. Who assigned Buckells as SIO of Trapdoor? Hilton. As early as season one, Hilton was already trying to lead cases away from the OCG, such as making himself SIO of the Greek Lane murders case, and pushing the idea that it was connected to terrorists, rather than drug dealers. Buckells does the same.

“What did Buckells do with the Jackie Laverty case? He transferred it to fraud, which as Gates said, basically closed it down, since the Crown Prosecutor won’t touch a laundering case which can only be attributed to someone presumed dead. He led it away from the OCG.

“What did he do with Trapdoor? He directed the sucpicion onto Tim Ifield and Hana Reznikova, even arresting Hana, putting the search for balaclava man on the backburner. He led the investigation away from the OCG. He used the same methods as Hilton to keep organised crime from being implicated.”

This all adds up, and does make you wonder how Buckells was able to remain in such a high position within the police given his numerous cock-ups.

The post then points out that “Buckells was also the one who permitted Dot to speak to Tommy Hunter, following Hunter’s arrest. In the same exchange, Buckells seemed interested in Dot taking the inspector’s exam, which would see him too become a senior police officer.”

I went back and watched this scene and sure enough, Buckells allows Dot to speak to Tommy Hunter privately after his arrest, and tells him he’ll be getting a promotion in due course.

Concluding his case, Clem_Crozier writes: “Buckells has always been known to the viewer as a Detective Inspector, and yet he seems a bit… incompetent.

“Hastings personally questioned his skills in the Jackie Laverty case, and was concerned that Buckells wouldn’t be up to concealing Kate’s undercover identity in Operation Trapdoor.

“What better way to divert suspicion when they’re looking for a criminal mastermind of a senior police officer than by pretending to be the one senior police officer who doesn’t really know what they’re doing?”

Now, if we know anything about Line of Duty it is to expect the unexpected. Plus, Jed Mercurio has previously said it’s not really possible to plan too far ahead when writing the show’s storylines. However, Buckells’ continued involvement in all of these cases, and his mishaps along the way, do point towards an ulterior motive: steering investigations away from the OCG.