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Line of Duty season 6: Top 3 could be killed off, teases Jed Mercurio

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Any Line of Duty fan knows all too well that no character is ever safe. Just ask DC Trotman. Oh wait, you can’t – she was pushed out of a window at the end of her first-ever episode. So far, the holy trinity of lead characters Steve Arnott, Ted Hastings and Kate Fleming have remained unscathed – but showrunner Jed Mercurio has teased that this might not always be the case.

In an online Q&A about the forthcoming sixth series, which begins on March 21, Mercurio was asked if he had ever thought about killing off the top three. “We all get on brilliantly, but everybody knows that we’re serving something bigger than ourselves, which is Line of Duty. And one of the things about the show is that nobody’s safe,” he responded.

“That’s what keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. So I know that it would be a sad day, but I think all the main cast realise that it’s possible. And you know, we’re mates, we talk about it, we joke about it. It’s something that no one would relish, but everybody would understand.”

Mother of God – could it be the end of AC-12 as we know it? While Mercurio and the cast remained tight-lipped about spoilers, executive producer Simon Heath did admit the season would feature moments that would “break the internet”.

The new series sees Kelly McDonald joining the show as the latest copper raising the suspicions of anti-corruption unit AC-12. Mercurio has previously described her character DCI Joanne Davison as “the most enigmatic adversary AC-12 has ever faced”, as questions are asked about why a long-running murder investigation she is in charge of remains unsolved.

In the last series, fingers were pointed at Hastings, with theories that he might be the mysterious H, a corrupt, influential senior police officer. By the final episode, we discovered that H was in fact four people – Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan, Derek Hilton and Gill Biggeloe, with the fourth yet to be revealed. A recently released trailer hinted that Kate could come under the spotlight this season:  as DC Chloe Bishop (newcomer Shalom Brune-Franklin) asks “do you still believe there’s a fourth man out there?”, Steve Arnott ominously replies “Man… or woman?” as the camera turns to Kate.

Vicky McClure, who plays Kate, gave nothing away when asked if her character might end up on the wrong side of the law – although she did admit that series six had been her favourite so far, describing it as “explosive”. “I can’t tell you anything. The trailer is great, it’s very entertaining, and I’m enjoying all the theories!” she said.

As to whether we could expect another series of Line of Duty in future, Heath said it was a case of wait-and-see. “Let’s see how this season performs. We just enjoy making one season at a time.”

Filming for the sixth series wrapped in November last year, after the pandemic forced filming to be halted earlier in the year. After its delayed arrival, it was recently revealed that this series will feature seven episodes rather than the usual six. Now we’re talking, fella.

Line of Duty season six starts on March 21, 9pm on BBC One

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