Line Of Duty’s Operation Trapdoor explained: Drama revives kidnap and murder plot from series 4 as Roz Huntley’s shifty lawyer Jimmy Lakewell returns – and disgraced Ian Buckells and Farida Jatri were BOTH involved

  • Lawyer Jimmy Lakewell featured in series four and was friends with Roz Huntley
  • Was in league with OCG and involved in cover up relating to Operation Trapdoor

Ted Hastings’ exclamation ‘mother of God!’ to the Jo Davidson revelation at the end of last night’s Line of Duty pretty much summed up how many viewers felt as the action-packed episode came to a close.

DNA samples taken from PS Farida Jatri’s home not only revealed DCI Davidson had been there, despite denying their personal relationship in the past, but also threw up a DNA match to someone else on the police database – a mystery blood relative of Davidson’s. 

And there was more than one blast from the past for long-time fans of the crime drama, as AC-12 visited bent lawyer James ‘Jimmy’ Lakewell in prison to interview him after identifying him as the man who spoke to murdered journalist Gail Vella about police corruption.

Lakewell featured in series four of Line of Duty, and was a university friend of DCI Roz Huntley’s husband Nick. He was found to be in league with the OCG and involved in a cover up relating to Operation Trapdoor.

James ‘Jimmy’ Lakewell featured in series four of Line of Duty (right), and was a university friend of DCI Roz Huntley’s (pictured left) husband Nick. He was found to be in league with the OCG and involved in a cover up relating to Operation Trapdoor

Despite Lakewell refusing to tell AC-12 what he knows about the latest case of police corruption which Vella appears to have been investigating, he came to a sticky end when he was returned to prison and murdered by yet another familiar face – OCG member Lee Banks – in collusion with DSU Buckells, also now suspected of being involved in organised crime. 

Many eagle-eyed viewers are already trying to join up the dots – but for those less familiar with seasons gone by, here’s a refresher on Operation Trapdoor and its significance to series six.

What was Operation Trapdoor?

Operation Trapdoor was based out of Polk Avenue Station and headed up by DCI Roz Huntley – played by Thandiwe Newton – who was appointed by Assistant Chief Constable Derek Hilton.

The large scale police investigation looked into the kidnapping and murder of Baswinder Kaur, the disappearance of Leonie Collersdale and the attempted kidnapping of Hana Reznikova by a so-called ‘Balaclava Man’.

How were Farida Jatri and DSU Buckells connected to Operation Trapdoor? 

Farida Jatri worked under Roz Huntley on Operation Trapdoor

Farida Jatri was one of the officers working under Huntley at Polk Avenue, as was DCI Buckells, who took over as senior investigating officer when Huntley was removed due to AC-12’s investigation into her. 

Following the arrest of Michael Farmer, who was suspected of kidnapping Hana and murdered the other two women, Farida briefly appeared on news footage which covered the events. 

Back in series one, then a Detective Inspector, Buckells was appointed SIO in the case of Jackie Laverty’s disappearance by CS Derek Hilton. 

In series four, DSI Buckells replaced DCI Huntley as temporary head of Operation Trapdoor when she was taken in by AC-12. 

Later in series four, Buckells was summoned to AC-12 accused of breaching DS Kate Fleming’s cover, and is angrily dismissed from Ted Hastings’ office after suggesting it was down to undercover officers having a ‘shelf life’.  

Under pressure from ACC Hilton, Huntley arrested a suspect – Michael Farmer – despite forensic evidence failing to stack up, according to forensic co-ordinator Tim Ifield.

Concerned a miscarriage of justice may be taking place, Ifield reported Huntley to Steve Arnott at AC-12, eventually leading to the anti-corruption force putting her under surveillance and eventually bringing her in, but only after she killed Ifield following an altercation at his flat. 

Huntley’s husband Nick was pulled in for questioning by Steve Arnott over Ifield’s death after his car was spotted in the area near his flat on the night of his murder. He was represented by his friend Jimmy Lakewell, a founding partner of the criminal law firm Lakewell, Dean & Stevenson.

When Arnott visited the Lakewell, Dean & Stevenson offices to question Mr Huntley further, he was attacked with a baseball bat by a man in a balaclava and thrown down the stairs – resulting in the back injury which led to his current addiction to painkillers. 

Lakewell represented DCI Huntley in her final interrogation with AC-12, where she admitted to killing Ifield, but then explosively exposed Lakewell’s connection to an OCG scheme masterminded by ACC Hilton, where police officers are put under pressure to manipulate evidence. 

It was revealed that Lakewell, whom Nick Huntley rang as Arnott was approaching his office, used a burner phone to tip off Hilton, who then contacted ‘Balaclava Man’ who attacked Arnott. 

The burner phone was also used by the man who kidnapped Hana and planted incriminating evidence in the house of Michael Farmer – a previous client of Lakewell’s – to frame him. 

Lakewell had tried to frame Farmer on the orders of the people running a scheme to get vulnerable police staff to manipulate evidence so that they can be pressured later. DCI Huntley proved Hilton’s involvement through the number he gave her while attempting to seduce her. 

Lakewell refused to testify and go into witness protection, and was imprisoned for perverting the cause of justice. 

He hinted the OCG was blackmailing him, admitting: ‘If you don’t do their bidding, a body gets taken out of cold storage with your DNA all over it… There are some people there’s no immunity from.’

Lakewell, whom Nick Huntley rang as Arnott was approaching his office, used a burner phone to tip off Hilton, right, who then contacted one of the ‘Balaclava Men’ (pictured left) who attacked Arnott

How Lakewell is linked to series six 

Earlier in series six, a recording from reporter Gail Vella’s computer revealed Lakewell speaking to her about police corruption; he referenced another case which had a racist element – which Arnott, Hastings and DC Chloe Bishop deduced must have been what Vella was looking into when she was murdered. 

When the AC-12 crew visited Lakewell in prison he refused to talk, hinting he was being watched by corrupt prison officers. 

AC-12 then came up with a plan to break him out to interview him, but it all went pear-shaped when they were ambushed by the OCG in an attempt to permanently silence Lakewell. 

When Lakewell returns to his cell at HMP Blackthorn he’s jumped by Lee Banks and strangled to death – under the watch of shamed DS Ian Buckells

Banks killed Lakewell in collusion with DSU Buckells, pictured, also now suspected of being involved in organised crime

Although Lakewell survived, he refused to cooperate during a later interview with AC-12 and asked to be returned to prison, yet again turning down witness protection, hoping he’d be looked on favourably by the OCG for keeping quiet.

No such luck, as when he returned to his cell at HMP Blackthorn he was jumped by fellow inmate Lee Banks and strangled to death – under the watch of shamed DS Ian Buckells.

Who is Lee Banks and what is his connection to Trapdoor?

Lee Banks first appeared in series five as a member of the OCG in which undercover officer Jon Corbett was embedded.

He worked with Lisa McQueen, Miroslav Minkowicz and Ryan Pilkington, now a bent copper working under DCI Jo Davidson.

Banks is also a long-time associate of Robert Denmoor – one of the Balaclava Men investigated during Trapdoor and shot dead by Hastings during DC Jamie Desford’s hold up of AC-12 HQ.

Lee Banks (far right) worked with Lisa McQueen, Miroslav Minkowicz and Ryan Pilkington, now a bent copper working under DCI Jo Davidson

Denmoor was the man who kidnapped and murdered Leonie Collersdale. 

Crucially, Lakewell revealed Denmoor wasn’t the only ‘Balaclava Man’ and that there are several other criminals within the OCG who dress that way when committing crimes. 

While part of the OCG on the outside, Banks kidnapped AC-12’s PC Maneet Bindra – whom they later murdered – and was arrested after visiting the home of bent cop Sergeant Jane Cafferty who was being paid off for helping coordinate the hijacking of a police convoy transporting seized drugs. 

Banks was visited in prison last series by Superintendent Ted Hastings, and much of their conversation reveals unknown; perhaps it won’t be long before viewers discover what the pair really talked about… 

Line Of Duty continues Sunday at 9PM on BBC One.  

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