With Line of Duty back on our screens, millions of us are glued to our sets trying to keep up with hundreds of acronyms, the breadcrumbs of clues from previous series, and trying to remember whether the Keeley Hawes character died in series 2, or was it 3?
Of course, real workplaces aren’t like the fictional police force that we see portrayed so well in Line of Duty. You’re unlikely to encounter a sinister cabal of insiders orchestrating institutional corruption on a huge scale – unless you’ve been helping Matt Hancock commission test and trace contracts for the government. But with out handy NewsBiscuit guide below, you can recreate the excitement of an actual AC12 corruption investigation in your own workplace.
1. Shorten every noun that you use
In your regular team meeting, insist on presenting your boss with the ‘intel’ on the monthly sales targets, and ask about whether the Swindon ‘op’ is going ahead. When your colleagues ask if you’ve got your presentation ready for the conference, act like you’re speaking into a walkie talkie and say ‘affirmative, code Fahrenheit’ before announcing that you’ve been in touch with your handler to book a room at the Slough TravelLodge.
2. Set some traps
It looks like someone has taken one of the biscuits from the pack you left in the cupboard. You know because you put a thin layer of talc on the top and its clearly been disturbed. Ask Fiona, the admin temp for an immediate ‘sit rep’, and get forensics to dust for prints. Last week it was Rich Teas, and now Jammy Dodgers. These bastards cannot be trusted and don’t know when to stop.
3. Follow the evidence
That expense claim that Mike made for some headphones to help him work at home during the pandemic? The receipt is from PC World – the same retail park where those kids have been playing on their bikes during lockdown. Make a note on a crumpled piece of paper saying ‘county lines?’ along with the names of Mike and all his pub quiz team mates, then leave it on display on the desk at reception.
4. Give yourself an interesting backstory
Everyone thinks you’ve worked in sales for 25 years and your life is dull as shit. Create an atmosphere of uncertainty and intrigue by casually dropping hints that you were a greenkeeper at your local pitch and putt working for someone with supposed mob connections called ‘Mad’ Jimmy McBride.
5. Buy 15 pay as you go phones and hide them in a bag in your boot
Try to get some really old retro style ones, and then ring each one just once, from a public phone box, leaving a short message like ‘We move tonight’, or ‘Mikey knows – hold firm’. Wait until one of your work colleagues can clearly see you from their car, and then throw one in a big skip, before walking off looking around furtively.
6. Get yourself a severe gambling habit.
You need to make yourself at least a bit vulnerable to being turned by a mystery person called ‘J’ and his enforcers who have constructed a facade of innocence working as middle managers in your HR team. Run up loads of debts, and have a brief fling with your company’s legal advisor so it can be used against you sometime in the future. even you are happily married, sleep in your car if possible, brush your teeth in your work toilets, and lurk regularly about 100m from your own home, behind a tree, just as your wife is taking the kids to school.
7. Do a recap of ‘what we know so far’ every morning
As each person arrives in the office, play some dramatic piano music, and mimic something they’ve said over the last few weeks, so that it sounds like they might have bumped someone off or are hiding a piece of evidence. Raise your eyebrow as you do an impression of Jean from accounts saying ‘I’m clocking off early today to go to the dentist, remember’ and do a pretend double take when Richard and Steve both say ‘sorry, after you mate’ when they nearly bump into each other in the corridor.
8. Invest in a massive whiteboard
Print off pictures of everyone in the office and put them all on a big board in your office, with dotted arrows between everyone. Include a random photo of Derek from marketing who left 10 years ago to work for a rival firm, next to a picture you’ve taken of a full bin bag near a pond or outside an old industrial unit. If anyone asks say that you’re now a UCO working on a cold case.
9. Employ a solicitor or workplace rep who is useless
If you are taken in for questioning at work, make sure your the only thing your rep does is whisper occasionally in your ear, make random notes, and pour you some water, as well as saying nothing except ‘my client has already answered….’ before they are interrupted.
10. Leave a trail of half-clues
Develop an annoying habit of leaving as many loose ends and clues lying around as you can. Write really heavily so you leave an imprint on the piece of paper below. Use a password for your computer that takes exactly 3 attempts to crack and make sure all the files on your computer can be downloaded from a single folder onto a flash drive. And make sure you leave the file with all the evidence in at the top of the pile on your desk. Film footage of just your boots walking away from the office and hint that everything will be revealed next series.