How Line of Duty became must-see TV and made a folk hero of Ted Hastings
The inspiration behind Ted is an officer called Robert Mark, who set up A10, and his heroic and lonely battle against Met corruption.
Line of Duty holds its status as the defining TV crime drama of today. The conspiracy theme of the series chimes at a time when public institutions and representatives are distrusted.
Ted Hastings, the head of anti-corruption, has emerged as the beating heart of the drama.
The Real Ted Hastings reveals how the compelling drama reflects real events and figures, most notably Robert Mark and his battle against Met corruption.
Ted Hastings and Robert Mark
The show is a hit around the world, with a media obsession: who is H? The UK audience has grown from 4m to 16m and even the late Queen Elizabeth was a fan.
Starting with a bang – ‘I’ll put you all back in uniform’ were his first words to his team. New Met Commissioner Robert Mark – the inspiration for Ted Hastings – takes on his entire corruption-riddled detective branch in his first brutal speech.
The scale of the problem facing Robert Mark – institutionalised corruption in CID.
The similarities between Ted Hastings and Robert Mark are evident – both flawed, uncompromising in making enemies, and had victories in fighting corruption. Robert Mark’s powerful confrontation with the whole of CID in April 1972, established his forthright style and impact – ‘A good police force is one that catches more criminals than it employs.’
478 bent cops forced out
Mark, during his four years and 11 months as commissioner, saw 478 officers leave the force following or in anticipation of criminal/disciplinary proceedings. Departures in the previous decade had averaged about 16 a year.
His legacy was a dismantled corrupt network in Soho (he transferred vice work to the uniformed branch); a disrupted powerbase of CID officers and CID squads made more accountable by being put under a uniformed commander.
He established the need for a dedicated team to investigate police corruption that lives on today.
Author Robin Jarossi is a freelance journalist and the author of The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper. He is also an on-air contributor to true-crime documentaries on the BBC and CBS Reality, including Murder by the Sea.
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