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for Wednesday 23rd August 2017

Line of Duty finale: Should AC-12 be looking for Balaclava WOMAN?

Ahead of tomorrow's reveal, read our theories...

As the phenomenal fourth series of Line of Duty comes to its thrilling conclusion tomorrow night, a sweaty-palmed, lip-chewing nation will be desperate for answers.

Who is Balaclava Man? Will Michael Farmer be proved innocent? Will Roz Huntley get her comeuppance? Has Nick got a dark secret? Will Steve recover from his injuries? Are Ted Hastings' masonic connections more sinister than they seem?

Will AC-12's Holy Trinity crack the corruption?

Here are Entertainment Daily's theories on all those current mysteries - and our ultimate verdict:

We think the first victim Leonie Collersdale - possibly also Balwinder Kaur - was killed by someone connected to the crime syndicate previously responsible for Jackie Laverty’s kidnap and murder.

They need to cover this up and this creates the need to provide a credible fall guy to the police.

Michael Farmer.

Is Farmer as rabbit-in-headlights as he appears? (Credit: BBC)

Hannah Resnikova’s kidnap and discovery at Farmer’s house at the start of episode one was part of his framing, as was the planting of the victim’s earrings there.

Smooth lawyer Jimmy Lakewell is in league with the crime syndicate and he selected Farmer as the fall guy - he’d previously represented him.

(We are not convinced Farmer is completely innocent, however. There's just something about his terrified simpleton routine we're not buying. Primal Fear, anyone?)

Does Lakewell hold the key to the whole plot? (Credit: BBC)

Hannah's kidnapper didn’t seem that accomplished - she managed to briefly escape from the car in the first episode, remember? Maybe they hadn’t done it before? Hmm…

Jimmy’s supposed friendship of Nick Huntley is a sham. He may also have had an affair with Roz Huntley.

Is the only love lost between these two Roz? (Credit: BBC)

We also think that Jimmy is happy when AC-12’s suspicions turn to Nick as a possible Balaclava Man (yes, we think there are multiple!) because, with Nick out of the way, he can rekindle this relationship OR it helps his professional interest in distracting attention from the real killers of Leonie and Balwinder – the crime syndicate.

Still with us?!

Forensics terrier Tim Ifield was innocent of everything, other than underhandedly trying to prevent Michael Farmer being wrongly convicted.

Although… him dressing up in the balaclava gear and being intentionally caught on CCTV served two purposes: firstly, to ‘prove’ Balaclava Man was still out there; secondly, that he was responsible for the killing and carving up of Roz – who HE was at this point planning to saw into small pieces.

Was Ifield the most innocent of all involved in the murder cases? (Credit: BBC)

That brings us onto another question mark hanging over his head - for an innocent man on the side of justice, Ifield did seem alarmingly unfazed at the prospect of chopping up his boss after he thought he’d accidentally killed her. And why he had that balaclava get-up in his rucksack already we cannot fathom.

Speaking of her... maybe Roz was knowingly involved in the framing of Michael Farmer right from the outset. Jimmy identified and chose him, and she was in on it. So, as soon as she turned up at the scene in episode one, she found the evidence that she knew would be there - so she could credibly convict him.

That would make her total refusal to listen to Tim's protestations about Farmer's innocence more understandable - and it would have provided more motive to visit Tim - him derailing her premeditated plan is a more compelling reason to shut him up than him just raising questions about her 'getting it a bit wrong'.

Nick Huntley is also innocent on all counts (other than possibly taking some quiet satisfaction in Roz having her hand amputated – remember, he thinks she’s had an affair). His dressing up in a balaclava-esque outfit to visit Roz in hospital during episode five was just a red herring.

What IS Hilton hiding? (Credit: BBC)

ACC Hilton is connected to the crime syndicate. His previous dithering/greasy-pole climbing demeanour is a masterful act, and his pulling of Maneet’s strings to get the video file of Dot’s dying confession goes beyond just wanting to frustrate Ted – his more sinister motive is trying to protect himself. This makes his chiding of Ted Hastings for failing to unmask a corrupt ‘Dot’ even more twisted.

So, who threw Steve Arnott down the stairs?

Is Steve's attacker just one of many balaclava-clad foot soldiers? (Credit: BBC)

Hilton’s too high-powered to be doing balaclava-style work himself.

A number of other people knew Steve was en-route to interrogate Nick... It might have been Jimmy, but that feels too obvious for the supremely twisty-turny LoD.

Maybe he called the goons at the crime syndicate..?

Are those lady features behind that balaclava? (Credit: BBC)

BUT, when you look reeaaaaaally closely, didn’t the balaclava-wearing figure who pitched Steve over the stairs have quite full lips? Surely we couldn’t be looking for Balaclava WOMAN?

We'll give you a few seconds to digest that thought.

Read more: Main character set to die in LoD finale?

Right! And, so, to the potential female suspects...

Even in our most fevered imaginings we can’t see Maneet doing it.

Kate Fleming - yes, we're going there - did seem pretty cross that Steve got the Inspector promotion above her… surely Vicky McClure couldn’t be channelling her shove-loving character from The Replacement? (Her psycho character Paula tried to frame her nemesis for hurling her down a terrifying flight of stairs.) No, it couldn’t be…

Has Kate been triple bluffing all along? (Credit: BBC)

What about apparently mild-mannered but incredibly loyal DC Jodie Taylor? She seems to be everywhere… and seems very intent on de-railing AC-12’s activities at any moment.

Just how far is Jodie pushing to get ahead? (Credit: BBC)

Maybe Jodie’s up to no good. Maybe Jodie had just enough blind - or misguided loyalty - to Roz (even going so far as unrequited love…? Or maybe THIS was Roz’s affair?) to intercept Steve and chuck him down the stairs?

Thinking about it, wasn’t she conveniently one of the first officers at the scene at Michael Farmer’s house?

Read more: LoD's Martin Compston on reason for Arnott's waistcoats

So there – we’ve said it. Jodie is Balaclava Woman. Or at least one of 'The Balaclava People'...

Leave us your theories on our Facebook thread or email them to [email protected] - we'll publish the best ahead of tomorrow's final show.