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Blue Lights recap: series two, episode five – air punch moments, and a killer cliffhanger
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Blue Lights recap: series two, episode five – air punch moments, and a killer cliffhanger

Has another of our police protagonists taken a fatal bullet? Here’s all the intel on the penultimate episode, Where I Want To Be …

‘What’s the worse that could happen?’

Star-crossed couple Stevie (Martin McCann) and Grace (Siân Brooke) were thrown back together on response duty. They’d requested to be split up, but as Sgt Sandra Cliff (Andi Osho) reasoned, they had to sort it out some time. Cue a sweet interlude as they were dispatched to retrieve doorbell cam footage from a lonely widow. The price? Joining her for tea, cakes and photo albums. Grace indulged her reminiscing. Stevie was reluctantly impressed by her baking. Could the footage bring down new gangland kingpin Lee Thompson (Seamus O’Hara)?

Talking of Thompson, he briefly left his 12-year-old nephew Henry (Alfie Lawless) unsupervised at the house of henchman Craig McQuarrie (Craig McGinlay) – a snap decision with disastrous consequences. Having clocked the grownups stashing cash behind a dummy boiler casing, Henry cracked the safe’s combination. We’ve seen the wee man’s gun fixation – he’s forever playing first-person shooter games and asking about firearms – so when he found a revolver, Henry was cock-a-hoop.

There was a queasy sense of foreboding as he roamed the house, pretending to shoot. When Grace and Stevie’s patrol car drove past on the way back to base, Henry fired from the window – and was stunned to see the rear windscreen shatter. As Henry watched in horror, the vehicle slowly veered off the road. Stevie was driving, but the angle of the shot appeared aimed at his passenger, Grace. Echoes of the late, great Gerry (Richard Dormer) were everywhere this week, from the tribute plaque on the wall at Blackthorn Station to his appearance in “that” video. Are we about to see another much-loved officer gunned down in the streets? It certainly made for a killer cliffhanger.

He had it coming … DS Murray Canning (Desmond Eastwood)View image in fullscreen

Canning had it coming

Who else cheered when Annie Conlon (Katherine Devlin) punched DS Murray Canning’s smug face? Canning (Desmond Eastwood) had put Tommy (Nathan Braniff) in danger, and now he was goading her with his lack of remorse, so she decked the senior officer – and was sent home by a furious Inspector Helen McNally (Joanne Crawford). Annie’s career was on the line.

Luckily, Shane Bradley (Kenneth Branagh-alike Frank Blake) at last realised where his loyalties lie. He not only testified that Canning had compared Annie to a dog (“put a muzzle on that”) but showed his disgust at Canning’s willingness to work with drug dealers. An outmanoeuvred Canning snarled that Shane’s hopes of a transfer were “finished”. Annie’s job was saved.

Tommy Foster (Nathan Braniff) was fortunate to escape from his brutal nightclub beating with cuts, bruises and mild concussion. His cute romance with Aisling Byrne (Dearbháile McKinney) continued to blossom. She agreed to stay overnight to monitor him. He tipped her a sly wink after telling Canning to “go fuck himself”. Another air-punch moment.

Derek Thompson and Hannah McClean in Blue LightsView image in fullscreen

You can’t handle the truth

We predicted that the complicit bosses in the dodgy dossier would be someone we knew. So it proved. When retired RUC officer Robin Graham (Derek Thompson) was arrested for dissemination of stolen documents, he was quietly delighted. Crusading lawyer Jen Robinson (Hannah McClean) making enquiries had been flagged at high levels. The government was closing the book on the past, hushing up Troubles-era wrongdoing.

Taken aside by her mother, CSI Nicola Robinson (Andrea Irvine), Jen was given a harsh lesson in realpolitik. Back in the 90s, Robinson Sr had been transferred into special branch to help close down its network of assets. They’d made murky decisions, but she was convinced they’d prevented deaths and stopped a full-blown civil war. Her manipulative mother suggested Jen was still traumatised and that taking this case was a displacement mechanism. She should move on and “not let this destroy your future”.

Graham was indignant to be released without charge. He’d deliberately failed to stop violent acts, including the 1978 chip shop bombing. He was desperate to come clean but nobody wanted to listen. As Robinson said, the truth was too much. “Happy” Kelly (Paddy Jenkins) would be offered a hefty settlement to stay quiet. Happy said at the start of the series that he “gets people hurt”. I fear for Jen and Robin.

A pair of pragmatists in a mad world

Having consolidated power, loyalist Lee enjoyed playing the community saviour. Hearing how a single mother was struggling to feed her kids due to a punishing payday loan from Lee’s predecessor, he wrote off her debt and paid her fuel bills. What did he want in return? For things to return to how they used to be.

When he learned it was neo-Nazi liability Keith Wylie (Adam Best) who’d attacked Tommy and attracted police attention, Lee decided he had to go. He took young Henry along as he humiliated Wylie, ordering him to leave Mount Eden estate. Grooming and indoctrinating the youngster, Thompson told Wylie: “You are the past and we’re the future.”

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Canning clearly thought so. With Robinson’s blessing, he extended an olive branch. If Lee kept chaos off the streets, police would tolerate his activities. Canning preferred containment to enforcement. The pair sealed their uneasy alliance with a handshake. But Tommy had other ideas. He’d spotted Fogerty (Charlie Maher) in the nightclub, recognising him from the arms-for-drugs deal that got Gerry killed. If the Dubliners were backing Lee, it was worse than they thought. The section launched their own investigation. Uniforms and plain clothes are on a collision course.

Nicola Robinson (Andrea Irvine) in Blue Lights.View image in fullscreen

Blue Lights lingo decoded

Both Canning and McNally considered making formal complaints to “PSD” (the professional standards department). CSI Robinson was once a “cleanskin”, meaning an undercover agent who’s unknown to their targets and less likely to arouse suspicion.

Squad car soundtrack

We heard blasts of What Are We by Irish-Ghanaian R&B artist Winnie Ama and the mighty Mandinka by Sinéad O’Connor.

Line of the week

“I thought you were a team player. A decent guy. Now I realise you’re just a misogynistic little prick” – Grace’s satisfying takedown of Canning.

In our police notebooks

  • Is Annie on the verge of quitting? She recalled how she’d just fallen into the force and wistfully looked through photos of her camogie days – the sport she was forced to give up for the job.

  • What a week of comeuppance for toxic males. After Canning got taken down a few pegs, Wylie got a knee in the unmentionables from Sandra.

Rejoin us next Monday for what promises to be a tumultuous finale. In the meantime, cleanskins, please share your spoiler-free thoughts and theories below …

Source: theguardian.com