In Line of Duty S01E03, there's this conversation:

We've followed procedure to the letter, sir.

I don't doubt it for a minute, but Tony Gates is, uh, from the South. I'm sure you'd be mortified, Ted, mortified, if anyone formed the opinion that AC-12 makes a point of pressing charges against officers from the South.

Everyone receives the exact same treatment.

Of course, of course, it's a delicate balance. But no one would welcome the accusation that the case against an officer from the South was being pursued with unusual alacrity.

What does "from the South" mean? (Perhaps it's some sort of euphemism for black in the UK?)

  • BTW, if you like Lennie James, you have got to watch Save Me [& Save Me Too] with some unpleasant subject-matter, heavyweight script & acting. Gritty Brit thriller at its best. Created, written, produced by James.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 10:11

1 Answer 1


I think they're using this quick switch of direction as a euphemism.

In and of itself, the label of 'from the South' refers to the UK's North/South divide rather than any racial implication. Lennie James is a Londoner [though Nottingham-born], the rest of the cast are generically Northern.

However, the accusation that they may be singling out a black officer for particular attention would make the investigation an uneasy one. To quickly switch that out as to him being a Southerner avoids the unmentioned potential for tension. Both sides of the conversation I think are aware of this euphemistic switch.

Birmingham is an odd place to use this distinction, though, as even they don't know whether they belong to the North or the South; anyone from either end always places them in the other camp ;)

  • 1
    As a southener, I can confirm that Birmingham is in the North ;)
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 9:05
  • 1
    @F1Krazy - as a Northerner who has lived in London for the past 30 years, I can confirm it's not :P The 'North' does not begin at Watford Gap :P [btw, for anyone not familiar with this, Brits have a great ability to laugh out loud at these perceptions, which we all have of what's North & what's South ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 9:07
  • 1
    As a Londoner I can tell you that anything outside of the M25 is foreign territory.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 9:45
  • Knowing a few people from Birmingham and Wolverhampton, they're quite happy to split the country into North, South, and Midlands.
    – HorusKol
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 10:36

You must log in to answer this question.