I noticed the trend of shows ending badly after watching Line of Duty.
I started watching Line of Duty after it showed up on my Netflix’s ‘Recommended for You’. Anyone who knows that I am a sucker for crime dramas. Even though mini-series are not my cup of tea, this British crime drama held my interest. The series follows the story of a trio of anti-corruption officers on the hunt for corrupt police officers who have a link to organized crime. The first few episodes are confusing, but everything comes together most brilliantly.
Line of Duty took me on an emotional journey. Never have I wanted someone to win so badly and yet seen all of their weaknesses. We have seen the rise of the imperfect hero trope in recent years, but Line of Duty intriguingly tells the story of a department committed to defeating institutionalized corruption. We watch the lead characters make stupid mistakes, and we question their integrity. Sometimes I even wondered how they are still employed because their errors were too big to ignore (yes, Kate, I’m looking at you).
Since I caught onto the wave late, I had the privilege of binge-watching the show. I didn’t have to wait years to watch the next season, and there were no big cliffhangers. Even though I was a newbie, I ended up being just as committed as the long-term fans. The series came to an end last Sunday, and a lot of us were incredibly disappointed. The writers left an angry “Wait, that’s it?!?!?” in my mouth. I came from being shocked to being angry and now wholly disappointed.
Season 6 felt different from the beginning, but I never thought it was the bad kind of different. For the first time, we knew much more than the investigators, and we silently wished that we could just push them in the right direction. Unfortunately, the team did not deliver. The investigation did not offer the same kind of excitement as before. The corrupt police officers were not as intelligent, and the dramatic car-chases felt out of place.
I suspect that I am cursed when it comes to critically acclaimed shows. This is not the first time that I’ve been let down after binge-watching a series. I also caught on to Game of Thrones late and expectantly waited for the final season. After spending weeks waking up at 3 am to watch the last season, I was upset at how it ended. I actually went back to watch the critical episodes to see if I had missed something. I quickly learned that it wasn’t me; it was the show.
Some people claim that a show not having the end you want doesn’t make it a bad end. I respectfully disagree. It’s one thing to have an unexpected ending, but it is another to have a terrible unexpected ending. A conclusion that is poorly executed veers off the plot and leaves too many matters unresolved or it solves them too quickly. I think that it’s unfair for the showrunners to expect fans to forget about the previous character development and the fantastic run-up to the finale.
I have noticed a trend in the finales of big shows like Line of Duty or Game of Thrones of having bad endings because it mirrors real-life. It feels like every series is trying to say something profound about our society and get us thinking. As much as I appreciate the effort, I think we have veered from what TV shows are supposed to be: entertainment. I have noticed a trend in the finales of big shows like Line of Duty or Game of Thrones of having bad endings because it mirrors real-life.
I watch series as a way of escaping from reality. I want the good guy to win because they rarely do in real life. I root for the underdog because only a few underdogs win in reality. If I wanted to face reality, I’d simply watch the news.
I feel sorry for long-time fans of Line of Duty. I can’t believe you guys waited ten years for this ending. You guys committed to a brilliant TV show that had a lukewarm conclusion. We can give props to the show’s excellence and still be let down by how it ended. I don’t blame the writer; I think that it is a sign of the times.
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