All the signs are there. Philip Osborne (Owen Teale) started off the series as the chief inspector who demanded that a young DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) lie about what went wrong during a failed counter-terrorism raid – prompting Steve to join Ted Hastings’s anti-corruption unit.
Osborne had not been seen since the first series but had been rising up through the ranks in the meantime. He emerged as the Chief Constable in season six, while shouting into any nearby TV camera that there certainly was no corruption in the police, no sirree.
But the ill-fated journalist Gail Vella (Andi Osho) was onto him and essentially doing AC-12’s job better than they were. Given Osborne was an inspector on Thurwell’s team during the Lawrence Christopher murder investigation, on top of his part in the failed counter-terrorism raid, we’re well aware of his lack of scruples.
His decision to restructure and merge the different AC units, force Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) into retirement and install lapdog Patricia Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin) in Ted’s place certainly puts a giant red flag over his head as a suspect.
But does being a thoroughly bad cop make him the Fourth Man? Very possibly. Does he live in a tiny house on a terraced street? Not likely, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t the target of the ambush all the same.