Theologian's thoughts on that #LineofDuty #LineofDutyFinale. First: I'm gutted not to have the big happy ending & I'll say later why it might not have hurt for Mercurio to give it to us... but of course... it does make sense. We have a world where there's no 'big bad' because 1/n
...there doesn't need to be; evil flourishes because of mundane everyday greed, stupidity, vanity, pride, fear, anger (Ted betraying Corbett), even misdirected love. The devil/ the big H (Hunter) left ages ago and the little Hs went right on doing his work 2/n
...the dots are not connected, there is no master plan, there is just the latest version of the banality of evil. Buckells is a C21st (Arendt's) Eichmann, a not-very-clever bureaucrat failing upwards to power & downwards to murder without really thinking about it 3/n
...meanwhile the good is also piecemeal and mundane. The warrior saint (Ted) has retired, both from battles and from sainthood (by admitting his own failure); we have, instead, ordinary people sometimes doing the right thing. Undramatic truth-tellers (Chloe) 4/n well as or instead of wounded warriors who need a break and can't catch one (Steve, Kate); people who haven't chosen right yet but still could (Carmichael); people who are willing to try again (Farida). Meanwhile a few of the innocent are saved (Terry!) but 5/n
many aren't & we have the cache of murder weapons to prove it. (NB the one uncorrupted warrior was Gail Vella & she died before this season started). To avoid a reign of terror, choose ordinary fallible/stumbling goodness over trusting the 'sea-green incorruptible' to save you 6/
Now about season 7 - real-life fighter for truth and integrity in public life @nazirafzal suggests in effect that *we* the public who cheered Ted's speeches should be season 7; AC-12, we learned at the end, have lost their power so it's over to us
And that does seem to be Mercurio's message - holding up a mirror, calling for collective impassioned patient unbending efforts (Chloe again!) to bend the curve back, not to the good old days (they never were; 'the gaffer' was always fallible) but towards the truth we glimpse 7/
...stuck with 'penultimacy' to use Bonhoeffer's term, never getting the triumph of good over evil, taking responsibility for the occasional precarious conflicted triumph of better over worst (Jo's arc). The 'finale' says, if you want a better ending, step into the story 8/
AND... here is where I want to say, Mercurio didn't *need* to do that. Could have gone Dorothy L Sayers' route and recognised that crime fiction can play a specific limited role in a chaotic world where truth is imperilled & ignorant armies clash by night 9/
not to hold up a mirror to the whole but to give people stories/visions of moral order - 'escapism' that has a clear-sighted view of what it's escaping from, & says, chaos is not the last word. Which is a more modest aim than 'holding up a mirror' but is equally 10/
respectful of its audience - we *know* what we are reading/watching is not real life... we trust the writer, not to make sense of everything in our world, but to persuade us that sense can be made, to create a plot that works - for these few hours not betraying our trust 11/
(there's a fine line between the clever red herring and the annoying plot hole, and a quasi-moral outrage at the latter; the writer betrays us). But again to defend #LineofDutyFinale perhaps our times most urgently require us to find space between heroes and villains 12/
between Hunter and Hastings; to see the power of relationships (Steve/Kate) and institutions, not just larger-than-life characters; to find ways to hold both to the 'letter of the law' that Ted upholds and the quality of mercy that even he needs to ask for 13/
with thanks to my wise friend @JulieGittoes for starting me on this train of thought & showing that theology of #LineOfDuty is not confined to musing about the provenance and significance of the #weedonkey /14 and ends, for now

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More from @RachelMuers

26 May 20
Reading #DominicCummngs narrative as a work of fiction (which it is, even if it recounts true events) is interesting on a few counts, eg gender and agency 1/n
For most of the story the narrator stands alone, sole heroic agent. He alone is responsible for protecting "wife and child". "I decided" he says. 2/n
But at the point of the drive to Barnard Castle the female voice enters the story. The wife, not the narrator, is fearful. So "we decided" and even "we drove". 3/n
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