Line of Duty Wiki

"A Disastrous Affair" is the first episode in Series 1 of Line of Duty and the first overall episode. It was first broadcast on the BBC channel, BBC Two on 26th June 2012.


When Steve Arnott is transferred to an anti-corruption unit, he finds his target is the city's top detective, Tony Gates. Can Gates really be as good as he appears?


Regal Court Operation[]

The episode opens on the Counter Terrorism unit preparing to raid flat 56, Regal Court. A team of AFOs led by Sgt Colin Brackley enter the flats whilst still waiting for orders. Another team of AFOs are attempting to watch the flat, but are unable to due to a washing line obscuring their view. CI Philip Osborne then issues a Fahrenheit order to DS Steve Arnott, who has just signed off the risk assessment relating to the operation. Arnott asks Osborne to repeat the order. Arnott then relays the order to Brackley, whose team has just arrived on the fifth floor. Upon arriving outside the flat, Brackley sees a man walking around inside the flat who appears to be armed. The team blow down the door and enter the flat, where Brackley instantly guns down the man seen from outside. It quickly becomes apparent that there is no bomb, and they have mistakenly killed an innocent man. Arnott arrives as the man's wife is unstrapping their baby son from the baby harness and realises that the number on the door has been damaged, so that it looks like it says 56 instead of 59. Arnott then orders the team to enter flat 56 instead, which turns out to be the actual terrorist cell, now abandoned.

After Regal Court Operation[]

Osborne arrives at the scene, where the victim, Karim Ali, is being taken away in an ambulance. Upon boarding the minibus of AFOs, Osborne tells them "You got to the flat. You shouted "Armed Police." You heard something going on inside, a struggle, a fight or something. Southern 156 gave you the order to go in. The suspect's there, he's acting aggressive. You shout "Surrender, armed police." The suspect doesn't comply. He comes for you. You've got no choice." Brackley tries to argue but Osborne tells him he wants their statements copper-plated by noon. Everyone other than Arnott agrees to do so.

The counter-terrorism officers are then shown arriving at Karim Ali's inquest. Osborne gives a statement to the press, saying "I take pride in the courage and professionalism of my counter-terrorism officers. To say any more risks prejudicing the inquest." Aaliyah Ali is then seen arriving at the inquest. Her solicitor gives a statement to the press, saying that "When Karim Ali came to this country, he told his wife that here it would be different. The police don't break into houses and hurt innocent people. He told her than in England the police are good men." The inquest then begins and the the coroner grants a period of six weeks to gather all relevant evidence and statements.

After the inquest, Osborne, who was seen glaring at Arnott during the inquest, pulls him to one side and asks about his statement. Arnott says that the team misread the number on the door and mistook the baby harness for a bomb, and the surveillance watched the flat for two weeks but they were scrambled with an hour's notice. Osborne says the op was well planned and executed. Arnott says it was a runaway train, they should admit their mistake, apologise and get on with the job of finding the actual terrorists. Osborne accuses him of point the finger at his own. Arnott says that it took guts for the boys to gin there thinking a suicide bomber was going to blow them to pieces. Osborne says then write the same bloody statement they did. Arnott says that an innocent man was killed, and he won't lie. He goes to leave, but Osborne shoves him back, telling him "You passed on the order. Where were your reservations when it mattered? You're finished."

Arnott is then seen driving to AC-12, thinking about the Regal Court operation on the way. He is met by Superintendent Ted Hastings. Hastings thanks Arnott for accepting the job offer and leads him into the offices. Arnott asks why there are empty desks. Hastings tells him to look at this as a promotion, than anti-corruption is a big tick on the old CV. Arnott agrees that this will be good for him. Hastings turns the conversation to the Karim Ali shooting and asks Arnott if he has any idea how many people have died as a direct result of police action in the last ten years. Arnott says he doesn't. Hastings tells him that the case has gone upstairs to the IPCC, as it's a firearms incident. He then tells Arnott that Karim Ali and his wife are illegal immigrants, and that the shooting wasn't his fault. Hastings then tells Arnott that he has a very special case for him.

Tony Gates is seen driving his car talking to Jackie Laverty on his mobile phone. They are discussing meeting up. He avoids a marked police car and heads to meet her at the Sunflower Cafe, Kingsgate. They have coffee in a small cafe and discuss that she is busy that evening and won't be able to see him celebrate his be award. They attempt to discreetly hold hands. Gates puts £20 down to pay for breakfast. Laverty promises to call Gates if she gets back before it's too late. Gates suggests going back to hers before she has to go. Gates then sees two men attacking a woman in the street. He runs out and manages to subdue one of them, then he tackles the other guy who is holding a knife. Gates manages to wrestle the knife away from him when the waitress from the cafe, Nadzia Wojcik, turns up and says she's called the police. Gates flashes his police badge and says "They're already here". The waitress then proceeds to give him back his £20 and tells him breakfast is on them.

At the event celebrating police achievements, Hastings informs Arnott that his first investigation will focus on DCI Tony Gates, the senior officer of TO-20, a unit of Central Police CID, who has just been made Officer of the Year. Hastings has received a tip-off that Gates has a suspiciously high clearance rate and doesn't believe it's accurate. Gates is surrounded by his all-male team including DS Matthew Cottan, DC Deepak Kapoor and DC Nigel Morton. CC Edward Thomas jokes with CS Derek Hilton that Gates will be after his job next, but Gates tells him he believes he has reached his level. During the event, we see Gates receive a call and rush out. He appears at Jackie Laverty's house; she is in a state having just hit something with her car, and after having several drinks out with colleagues. Laverty says she thinks it was a dog. Gates tells her that she has nothing to worry about, but she continues fretting as she believes that her neighbours will report it and that she's been drinking and another drink drive conviction will lead to her being imprisoned. Gates repeatedly asks where her car is. She finally admits that because he didn't immediately answer her phone she panicked and reported it stolen. Gates is now left with very few options and decides to stage a burglary, smashing the front window and making it look like Laverty's car keys were hooked up from the hall table. We then see him later crawl into bed with his wife, Jools Gates, having kissed his two daughters, Natalie and Chloe goodnight.

We first see DC Kate Fleming, assigned to Central CID, when she is interviewing Alf Butterfield with PC Karen Larkin. He is a resident of The Bog, Moss Heath, and has suffered 3 burglaries this year alone. He has come in hoping for progress but is told that they empathise with his situation but without hard evidence, there is little they can do. Frustrated, he gets up to walk out and Fleming gives him her card, saying he can call her day or night, and they'll see what they can do the catch the offenders this time.

Chief Superintendent Derek Hilton calls Fleming into his office to discuss crime statistics. As a divisional commander, he has been tasked with reducing knife crime in his area. The file for Gates' arrest that morning, which Fleming processed, has both individuals charged with possession of prohibited weapon and assault with a weapon but only one individual actually had a knife. This change to the file would result in a reduction in reported knife crime and Hilton whilst he doesn't outright say to change it, as it is not his policy to intercede in individual offences, he does strongly suggest that Fleming reconsider the charges. He also discusses Alf Butterfield's complaint. He says that they pursue two out of three reported crimes, and that, due to CID's unacceptable detection rate, they should down-process anything that won't quickly lead to an offender. Fleming returns to the CID offices, taking the file on the double arrest with her.

We then see the inner workings of TO-20 as led by Gates. He gets Cottan to read out a summary of a case file and then sticks or twists the case if it sounds good. Gates lists all possible crimes they can associate with the file and then decides if it sounds good enough to proceed. During this Cottan reads out the file of a DOA found beside a road. Gates agrees to pass it to traffic, as it's likely a hit and run, but asks where the body was found. Cottan confirmed it was found in Edge Park, off Millionaires Row, which is where Laverty lives.

Despite having sent the case to traffic Gates goes out to the scene to investigate. There is no ID for the DOA and no CCTV or witnesses. The traffic PC on the scene tells Gatess that a range rover was found in a lay-by about half a mile down the road. When asked, Gates claims he received a tip-off that it might be connected to one of TO-20's investigations, hence the interest. Gates then immediately meets up with Laverty and tells her that she hit a man, not a dog. Gates tries to persuade her to do the right thing and hand herself in. He doesn't want to be involved in a cover-up. He tells her to tell them she panicked but now she wants to come clean and not to call him.

Hastings and Arnott turn up to interview Gates. They bump into Fleming in the corridor and Hastings looks worried when he sees Fleming, and Fleming looks worried when she finds out Arnott is part of AC-12. Hilton advises Gates that AC-12 is investigating him. Gates looks shocked and says he has no idea why. Hilton tells him they will call him in.

First AC-12 interview with Tony Gates[]

Gates goes to the interview with AC-12. Hastings introduces himself as "Superintendent Hastings, like the battle." Gates says that he recognises and respects the importance of their mission, and is happy to help them in any way that he can. Hastings says that is very reassuring, and Arnott starts the tape. Hastings informs Gates that they are investigating that he didn't report the free breakfast he received the morning of mugging. Gates looks bemused at this charge, as Hastings hands him a yellow notice and declines to make any statement. Gates asks if the complaint came from the muggers before leaving the room.

Hastings informed Arnott that this is a ruse so that when the proper investigation on Gates starts he'll think it's just a storm in a teacup, and that Gates's guard is down and that's how they'll get him. Arnott argues that it is possible that Gates crime statistics are for real. Hastings says that he will lay odds that if it looks to good to be true then the guy's a cheat. Arnott doesn't see why they should investigate someone who appears to be an exemplary officer. Hastings says "Appears to be. My point exactly."

After first AC-12 interview with Tony Gates[]

DS Leah Janson and Rita Bennett are part of Fleming's CID team. They sit in the space next to Gates' TO-20 team, so they can hear what is being said. Gates has passed the hit and run to their department, despite them already having a large backlog of unsolved cases. Janson says to give the case to their civilian colleague, Bennett. Janson also advises Fleming that Gates has been given a written warning about his team's gender balance, as the team is all-male, and Janson believes this means she's a shoe-in for a transfer.

Gates is pacing his office looking pensive when he sees Bennett leading Laverty into her office for an interview. Bennett conducts a routine interview regarding Laverty's report that her car was stolen, which she reported at 10:06 pm the night before it was discovered. When asked about her occupation, Laverty says that she runs her own business, Laverty Holdings, and suggests Bennett put her down as self-employed. Laverty asks if Bennett is a proper police officer, and Bennett advises her that she isn't a police officer but carries out some aspects of police work. Laverty at this points seems to have lost any will to do as Gates asked and confess to the crime; she carries on with the interview, claiming that she got back from a business trip at around 9pm and later remembered she'd left something in the car. When questioned, Laverty says that she was in the back room with music playing and therefore didn't hear anything.

Gates and Laverty meet up at a motorway sliproad and Gates is fed up with her. Laverty says that the woman seemed so convinced that it was impossible to change the story. Gates says that she only looks out for number one. Laverty then says she'll fix it, she'll go to prison if that's what he wants.

Hastings decides to take Arnott out for a few drinks as he's a young fella new in town. The other police officers in there move away when they realise they are both AC-12 officers. Fleming is also in the pub with Janson.

We see Gates's wife, Jools, at home with his two daughters and their dog, Sammy. Gates arrives and listens to his daughter playing the piano.

Fleming decides to leave the pub. Arnott follows her and tries to build bridges. Fleming lets him know that she's behind Gates 100% and that she believes Arnott is harassing an excellent officer over a forgotten form. Arnott doesn't look particularly convinced he is doing the right thing and continues to look into Gates records.

Arnott approaches Gates the next morning. Gates threatens to get Arnott charged with harrassment but listens after Arnott says he can't believe Gates is stuck on for a free breakfast, and he just wants to make the yellow notice go away so they can both get on with investigation real crime. Gates tells Arnott that Hastings is a zealot and convincing him that Gates is on the level will not be an easy task. Arnott asks why Gates didn't log the gratuity. Gates says that he forgot, he knows it's a crap excuse, but it's the truth.

Gates goes to Bennett and asks her for the status of the hit and run investigation. She advises him that they are still waiting for identification on the DOA. Gates tells her that should she get anything to go straight to him, as it might connect to something his team are looking into.

Fleming goes to talk to Gates about increases in class A detections on the Bog over the last few days. Gates thanks her for the tip. Fleming lets Gates know she's interested in joining TO-20. Gates tells her it's a bad time with the AC-12 investigation. Fleming says he'll piss all over them and that she wants to join the squad to fight real crime. They banter back and forth as Gates measures her up. He invites her out for a drink with the team to see how they get along. Fleming thanks him and leaves. Janson, who was watching Gates and Fleming, then has a go at Fleming for cutting in front of her to try and join TO-20.

Second AC-12 interview with Tony Gates[]

Hastings expresses disappointment that Arnott hasn't been able to dig up anything on Gates yet. However, he is happy that someone else on the team has found something. Gates arrives for an interview with DCI Alice Prior, who is his police federation representative. Hastings and Arnott sit down and much to Arnott's shock Hastings advises Gates that the inquiry is widening and he is now being investigated for "laddering" – a process in which a number of different charges are placed on the same defendant to increase an officer's number of successful cases. Prior tells Hastings that Gates strenuously denies the allegations but offers his full co-operation. Hastings issues another yellow notice and Prior asks for details of his suspension. Hastings confirms there will be no suspension as he is not seen as a threat to his fellow officers or indeed the public in general. Gates now feels betrayed by Arnott and lets him know.

Hastings advises Arnott that he's disappointed that he didn't uncover the laddering, that he wasn't even looking for it. Hastings calls him a born AC-12 officer having chosen the moral stand over the personal cost when it came to the shooting incident. Arnott says that it's unfair to have dumped him into an ongoing investigation and not have fully briefed him. Hastings says that Gates got where he is by only picking easy to solve cases and then adding multiple charges on, charges which don't even make it to court. Hastings thinks the only reason Gates has gotten to his level is by playing the system. Arnott suggests that he got to where he is because he had to be twice as good as the next person. Hastings asks what he's saying, does he mean that to be corrupt Gates would have to be twice as bad? Arnott says that victimisation of black officers, but Hastings cuts him off and tells him that he doesn't know anything about victimisation. That his first year out he was sent on a job with his fellow Catholic officer, they drove straight over a pipe bomb and Hastings ended up in intensive care and the other officer was buried. The logbook for the job went missing and nothing happened as a result. Hastings feels very strongly that he was victimised due to his religion.

After second AC-12 interview with Tony Gates[]

Fleming arrives for drinks with the TO-20 team. After some light banter, she seems to fit in well with the boys and they all relax.

Hastings calls Arnott back into the office later that evening. He tells Arnott that they will get Gates with or without him, so he can either be with them, or be just another prick who lost his bottle, it's his choice. Hastings then brings Arnott in on the identification of the other officer working on the case. Fleming is working undercover to get into TO-20. Arnott realises that she gave them the information on the laddering. Fleming tells Arnott that she's on the inside at last. Arnott reveals his doubts about the case, as it would make more sense to be assigned to cases not being investigated. Gates isn't on the take, he's only working the system to improve his stats. Fleming advises that TO-20 have been nicknamed the Big Sexy Crime unit; they get the highest budget, the best kit and yet victims of crime are missing out because Gates only tackles cases that score points. Arnott says that's the system. Fleming says that she wouldn't be risking what she's risking if she didn't believe Gates was a special case. Arnott says that he thought anti-corruption was about getting officers in the pockets of criminals. Fleming tells him "You took a stand and it put you out on your own. You're not on your own anymore. Unless you want to be."

The next day, Arnott finds that his car has been broken into in the police car park and a surprise has been left for him by TO-20. Arnott goes to their offices where they are discussing the three-fold increase in demand and supply of Class A narcotics that Fleming told Gates about, and that they have been given the go ahead for a surveillance op. Morton and Cottan say to Arnott well, if you're going to throw sit at the boss. When Arnott confronts Gates, telling Gates he thought he was clean but it looks like he's dirty after all, Gates tells him that "If you take a shot at the king, make sure you kill him, son." Arnott then leaves, and Gates returns to the briefing room. He asks which one of them did it, but they are soon laughing about it.

Morton and Cottan are then seen carrying out surveillance on The Bog. The next day, Morton presents the findings, revealing two suspected drug dealers operating out of a derelict house on Greek Lane. One suspect is called Wesley Duke, who is a known cocaine seller. Morton advises that Duke appears to have moved from small time to bigger leagues as he has access to more product. Morton wants to pick up Duke and turn him, but Fleming says it's too risky, what if the Greek Lane Mob find out? Gates agrees and orders further surveillance to see who else is involved. Gates informs Fleming that he is going to go ahead and formally process her transfer to TO-20.

Gates goes to Laverty's house to talk to her and advise her that the case has been filed as an unexplained hit and run, and no-one's suspicious. Gates gets up to leave and Laverty kisses him, he's in too deep to leave her now.

Arnott starts investigating Gates for laddering and looking at all the cases he's been involved with. Hastings appears and says he has it on good authority that it was Gates himself who soiled Arnott's car.

Kapoor and Cottan are on surveillance duty at the Greek Lane property when Kapoor receives a call to say that they have been called off surveillance duty early. Cottan says to leave straight away, Kapoor asks if they should wait for the next surveillance team to turn up. Cottan says they've been warned about overtime and should just head out, it'll only be 10 minutes until the next team turn up. Kapoor drives away.

The next morning at the same property as the surveillance was being carried out on, the two dealers turn up dead having been tortured. Morton has a go at Cottan for leaving early the night before. Cottan argues it was only 10 minutes, 15 tops that the house was left unwatched. Gates arrives at the scene. Fleming advises that both men were still alive when their fingers were amputated, and theorises that whoever killed them wanted to know something and didn't find out. Gates identifies that the fingers were cleanly removed, each with a single stroke, most likely with a bolt cutter. He charges Cottan with finding any cases with similar MOs, Morton with going through all the forensics, getting entry control front and back, dabs in all the downstairs rooms and the upstairs bathroom, and Fleming with doing the door-to-door. Gates wants to know who the boys were. Outside the property, Gates theorises that the two dealers who were murdered were the new kids on the block and someone didn't want them muscling into their existing territory. Fleming asks if Gates is tempted to dump this one on CID. Gates replies that "It's big, it's sexy, and that makes it mine."

Arnott continues to look through Gates files at various cases he has been involved in, putting together a list of evidence of laddering.

Back at the station, Fleming is met by Janson, who tells her what goes around comes around. Alf Butterfield has returned to the police station, with cuts and bruises on his face. Fleming apologises and is told that he was home when the burglars attacked this time. Hilton interrupts the interview to tell Fleming that Mr Butterfield will likely make a complaint. Fleming argues that Hilton told her to put the case on the back burner, and Hilton chides her and says she was supposed to prioritise.

Bennett lets Gates know that there has been a missing persons report come through from County CID for Gurjit Patel, which matches the DOA in the hit and run case. He was reported missing the day after the hit and run and is an accountant for Laverty Holdings. Laverty Holdings is unsurprisingly owned by Jackie Laverty and she knew Mr Patel. Gates then informs Bennett that his squad will be taking over the investigation. He informs Bennett that it's a very sensitive case and he'll inform county of the match to the missing person, and he'll need her to send him all the files. He insists on moving the files and sends Bennett off to get him tea, whilst he decides what to do. He deletes all links to the identification or Laverty from the file, whilst still logged in as Bennett. Arnott happens to be looking at the case before Gates has deleted the links.


Opening Credits[]

Closing Credits[]


  • Jed Mercurio as Car Driver
  • Simon Hill as Journalist
  • Brandon James Watts as Drug Dealer


Scenes from this episode were recorded as Shannon Road, Tay Grove, Teviot Grove, The Fold, Kings Norton, Birmingham, of which was a partially derelict housing estate awaiting new housing developments in 2012. Other filming locations include Birmingham Municipal Bank (AC-12 building), the House of Sport on Bridge Street (Kingsgate Station), Millennium Point (interview rooms), Millionaire's Row (Millionaire's Row) and The Queen's Arms, Newhall Street (The Queen's Arms pub).


  • In the scene where Tony Gates is driving to meet Jackie Laverty whilst talking on the phone to her, Lennie James (Tony Gates) had not been informed of the route that had been recce'd, so Jed Mercurio drove along the route whilst Lennie James followed in the car behind, filming the scene.