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The Guardian view on Line of Duty: more about politics than policing | Editorial

It’s no surprise that a story about corruption in public life is so popular

Last year the phrase “ambient television” was coined to describe a category of inoffensive, picturesque and essentially undemanding shows, such as Netflix’s Emily in Paris: programmes that could be experienced as background while the viewer scrolled through social media. Now, with the sixth season of the BBC police drama Line of Duty well into its stride, it seems viewers are being presented with the opposite: TV that not only requires their undivided concentration, but also invites them actively to turn detective.

This is not so much ambient as adrenalising television; miss a detail, and you’re lost. The discourse around the show has become almost as lively as the show itself. Theories are shared and plot predictions aired on social media, while fan podcasts – such as the BBC’s own Obsessed with Line of Duty, and the irreverent Shrine of Duty – dissect each episode in the long and deliciously frustrating week between broadcasts.

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