God give me strength – another bent copper?
In the nine years the BBC’s Line of Duty has been on our screen the nation has delighted in the exploits of AC-12 and their never ending quest to catch bent coppers.
Led by the indomitable Ted Hastings, the team have cracked open numerous cases of corruption in the fictional police force, all the while edging ever closer to the identity of ‘H’ – the bent copper to top all bent coppers.
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In the six series of the hit show, AC-12 have investigated damn near everyone in uniform, but in true form, some rotten apples in the barrel stink worse than others.
This is an exhaustive list of all the coppers who we know for sure are bent, sadly this means we have to rule out those who at this moment are just dodgy – looking at you DCS Carmichael.
Let’s dig in.
9th: PC Maneet Bindra
Ah poor Maneet, she lived by the burner phone and died by the burner phone.
Maneet was a key member of the AC-12 team in the early years but misplaced affection for her cousin in series 5 placed her in harm’s way.
After leaking information to the OCG and being discovered by Hastings, Maneet was discharged from the unit in disgrace.
In a last ditch effort she attempted to set a trap for the OCG but was discovered and killed.
A bent copper, but one of the good ones.
8th: DI Lindsay Denton
Played with admirable steel by Keely Hawes, the question of whether DI Denton was corrupt was a key driver of series 2 and 3.
And while she was guilty of accepting a bribe in the end, Denton’s police work was essentially in nailing Dot Cottan as The Caddy, at the cost of her own life.
Just goes to show that you can be bent, but not broken.
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7th: DCI Tony Gates
“He’s an arrogant so and so isn’t he? I mean a player like Gates, he knows it’s against rules and regulations not to declare a gratuity so what it does say about him that he can’t even be bothered to fill in a form?”
Indeed Ted, indeed – Tony Gates was guilty of the crime of laddering which was more than enough to serve him with a Reg 15 – but his dealings with the OCG were less bent.
After being threatened with being framed for the murder of lover Jackie Laverty, Gates was an unwilling pawn in the OCG’s plans.
There was no way out for Gates and so after supplying crucial information to AC-12, he killed himself to save his legacy.
6th: DCI Roz Huntley
DCI Huntley was a cool customer make no mistake.
After killing Tim Ifield (admittedly in self defence), she was able to mislead two investigations, partially frame her husband and forego medical treatment on a dismembered hand – all while bringing up two kids!
Although she wasn’t ever working for the OCG, her capricious personality and unfeeling demeanour put her ahead of other more bent coppers in our list.
5th: DS Danny Waldron
“Three shots FELLA!”
DS Danny Waldron was a bit messed up wasn’t he, although his history of child exploitation at the Sands View Boys Home may point to the reasons why.
Played by Daniel Mays, Danny lasted all of one episode in series 3 before he was killed by members of his team.
In that time he shot a suspect (three times) in cold blood and dismembered a member of the OCG while his dog watched.
He also went toe to toe with Hastings which is no mean feat.
In copper terms he’s not that bent, but the guy was clearly a psychopath.
4th: PC Ryan Pilkington
There’ll be many people reading this that think this smarmy little creep should be higher but hear me out.
Yes, he’s a murderer and yes, he’s morally bankrupt – but it’s important to remember he was groomed from a young age by the OCG and never really had a choice in all this.
It was a cathartic moment indeed when Kate shot him this series, but we should appreciate that in a different life, Ryan might not have been so bent after all.
3rd: DS John Corbett
Steven Graham’s DS John Corbett was one of the most morally conflicted character’s the show had ever created.
The family man had left his wife and young girls in Liverpool to go into deep undercover operations with the OCG and it had clearly taken a toll on him.
In his time on the show, Corbett killed directly and indirectly multiple police officers including PC Maneet Bindra.
He was working towards a bigger goal of uncovering the identity of ‘H’, but sadly, he crossed the line.
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2nd: DI Dot Cottan – ‘The Caddy’
Dot was one of the smoothest operators in the Line of Duty universe and like Ryan Pilkington, he was groomed by the OCG and embedded in the force from a young age.
Much of series 3 revolved around AC-12 trying to uncover the identity of The Caddy and by the end Dot knew the game was up.
His leaks and redirecting of police intel was crucial in obscuring and maintaining the OCG’s grip on the police force.
He also shot DI Denton at point blank range in the face, so yeah, the guy was pretty crooked.
1st: ACC Derek Hilton
Derek’s position at the top of our list may be a surprise to some.
Although he never actually engaged in any of the murdering and espionage that other bent coppers on our list did, Hilton’s influence on the plot of the show was as vast as it was insidious.
By being in the pocket of the OCG, he directly jeopardised and frustrated many of AC-12’s missions, resulting in the deaths of countless police officers and putting our man Steve Arnott in hospital.
As Ted would say, he’s culpable and well deserving of the title of bentest copper on our list.
Do you agree with our rankings? Let us know in the comments here.