WHAT makes “Event TV” an event is that it’s not really escapism. It’s almost, to coin a phrase, engagism. Something in the storyline, however formulaic and recognisable, is meshing with our deeper collective anxieties.

Showmakers might well aspire to that moment in their writing – but it takes the public to complete the circuit.

As a respite from the shrapnel of nationality politics, I’ve found myself wrapped up in two “event” TV moments recently.

This week I caught up with the finale episode of Line Of Duty; and our family is now working through the first series of Fleabag, having devoured the second series.

Each became an “event”, to my mind, because they were having a silent, proxy conversation with their audience about what really matters to them in their modern lives.

For Line Of Duty, the clue’s already in the title. In an age where corruption and conspiracy seems endemic, flowing through the system, who is it that we can trust (and test to destruction in doing so)?

For Fleabag, again the title helps. If modern men and women bear the burden of their freedom (free to love and f*** who they like, free to say what scandalises or crushes), how do they esteem themselves as they make their choices?

Line Of Duty is on its sixth series now, a national institution with its own fan subculture and obsessive interpreters – so I’m only coming to it seeking the zeitgeist.

But my favourite performance throughout the series has been that of Supt Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), who leads the anti-police corruption unit known as AC-12.

It’s been inspired casting. Dunbar’s aquiline face and thudding Ulster cadences draw on the same well of Northern Irish solidity as Liam Neeson or James Nesbitt.

Faced with the miasma of doubt and duplicity that defines the reality of police corruption – who better to guarantee criminal success than a uniformed officer? – Ted Hastings has been a lodestar of straightdealing. All the more so for his galumphing nobility.

Yet in the brilliant interrogation scenes of series six, we begin to see the jagged elements that a man of integrity may need to actually integrate. Hastings’s Northern-Irish identity – a child of mixed religions, who joined the RUC at the height of the Troubles – is seen as the root of his judiciousness. Here is founded his ability to follow the law, not personal loyalty to dissembling fellow cops.

Yet the writer and originator Jed Mercurio also allows Hastings’s rather crooked timber to poke through. His affection for the widows of suspects in his Ulster days blurs his judgement. His taste for pornography explains his destruction of a laptop that counts as material evidence in his own corruption trial. Hastings may even have passed a portion of criminal money to another deserving widow.

There’s a huge contemporary question here about character and power. Ted’s entire existence, digital and social, is laid out before him by his prosecutor The National: Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge (played with bureaucratic hauteur by Anna Maxwell Martin).

At one point you ask yourself: who could remotely assume any position of authority, given how the private complexities of any modern life can be potentially revealed by our super-surveillant systems?

I imagined DCS Carmichael playing the role of “lifestyle manager” in some futureworld of soft totalitarianism (no doubt using Chinese “social credit” technology). If anyone could check on a wayward citizen’s egregious social errors, she could.

Will the next series of Line Of Duty further unravel Ted’s lines, showing how even our best hopes for moral authority in an entangled world fall apart, under enough relentless scrutiny? Or will he continue to be only a mildly crumbly rock in our sea of troubles? A great creative dilemma for Mercurio.

With quite startling symmetry, Fleabag starts from the opposite end of the moral-psychological spectrum from Superintendent Ted. Fleabag – never named in the series as such, and played with sumptuous reflexivity by Phoebe Waller-Bridge – finds it difficult not to respond to every passing call on her sexual and emotional needs.

Both locations are London, which is capacious enough for each reality to run exactly alongside each other. Line Of Duty answers that seemingly incessant need for signature TV dramas to show us our drab, organisation-defined lives, except in slightly more febrile terms

Fleabag, however, is a gentle, middle-class honeycomb of parties, dates, teashops, wedding receptions, inspirational speaking events, and (of course, notoriously) church confessional boxes.

The wealth here is evident but muffled – though Fleabag cartwheels through it with only her cultural capital available to spend (meaning her accent, bearing, wit). That doesn’t stop her consorting with American mega-lawyers and sexually frustrated Irish priests. All with those subversive sidelooks to the camera, and the audience, which would smash a realist show like Line Of Duty to pieces.

But it’s far from froth. I do perceive quite a hard realism (though perhaps not intended) about Fleabag, particularly in this Brexit-defined period.

Though the topic never arises in the world of the show, Fleabag does feel like compensation therapy for frustrated, big-city Remainers.

Why can’t we have our effortless, sensual, taste-driven lives, like the wacky bourgeoisie of the series (who we might at least aspire to)? Fleabag is economically precarious – she’s constantly trying to plug the financial holes in her clearly unviable cafe – and stands in for the anxiety of her viewers’ own instabilities.

How can we keep up the display of competence, when underneath we’re drowning in debt, or worrying about the world beyond our metropolitan enclaves? Obviously, you can’t deny that Waller-Bridge is having a discussion with the same kind of audience that thrilled to Sex And The City – power feminist and “sex-positive”. But the general neuroticism of all these characters crackles and glimmers to distract from what seems like, at its heart, a political void.

A stage where the classes dominant in the Blair/Cameron area used to strut.

We’ve lost Brexit, and our leadership role. But we can at least have the most entertaining, self-consciously screwed-up relationships, thrilling to the sight of how artfully we can (nearly, not quite) fall apart.

All of this is only my reading, of course. My point is that television is perhaps more of a participant in the public conversation than it ever was.

All hail to the writers and producers (and it has to be said, the BBC as a public broadcaster) keeping their productions complex, humane and subtle, rather than cliched. Their “engagism” may help us raise our umbrellas, and venture out into the general shitstorm.