After seven long weeks, Line Of Duty season six will come to an end tonight with the series’ finale. But what can fans expect? Here are six hints the cast have dropped so far.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for season six of Line Of Duty so far.
It’s here, people. Today, after seven long weeks of deciphering acronyms, poring over the latest fan theories and tuning in every Sunday evening, Line Of Duty season six will come to an end with its seventh and final episode.
Besides the fact that any Line Of Duty finale is a pretty big deal, the rumours that this season could be the last of the hit BBC crime drama make it even more significant. After all, if the series is coming to an end (cry), will we finally find out who ‘H’ is?
Despite fans’ best efforts to unpick who the fourth man (or woman) could be, the identity of the series’ biggest villain remains under wraps. Indeed, although there have been countless attempts to get the Line Of Duty cast to spill one of TV’s biggest secrets in press interviews conducted over the last seven weeks, they’ve remained pretty tight-lipped throughout.
However, just because they haven’t given us much to work with when it comes to H’s true identity, doesn’t mean they haven’t provided fans with some hints about where the story is headed – especially when it comes to tonight’s final episode.
So, what can we expect from tonight’s finale? Here’s everything the Line Of Duty cast has said about the episode so far.
1. The theory that Patricia Carmichael is ‘H’ isn’t as watertight as it sounds
Indeed, perhaps the most prominent one comes from a moment in episode four when fans believe that Jimmy Lakewell hinted that she was the fourth woman during his recorded interview with the murdered journalist Gail Vella because he urged her to look past the racist element of her investigation.
As one fan tweeted: “We all know Patricia Carmichael is H. Jimmy Lakewell said ‘look beyond the RACE CLAIM to find H’. So, take the letters of RACE CLAIM from the letters of CARMICHAEL. What do you get? H. Solved it.”
Since then, fans have been pretty sure that Carmichael is the bent copper AC-12 have been looking for – but as Martin Compston (who plays Steve Arnott in the series) pointed out during an interview on The Jonathan Ross Show last night (1 May), that theory isn’t as watertight as it sounds.
“Do you know what I love about that one? It’s so spot-on, but that line never got said,” Compston said. “It blew my mind the first time I heard it, but [Jed Mercurio, the show’s creator] was like, ‘No, that never happened’.”
Rewatch the episode where Lakewell is supposed to have told Vella to “look beyond the race claim” and you’ll see what Compston is on about. What Lakewell actually said was, “Sometimes the reasons for the cover-up are more obscure” – which is a pretty far cry from the race claim anagram that led fans to frame Carmichael.
2. However, that’s not to say Carmichael isn’t bent in one way or another
However, that’s not to say Carmichael isn’t bent in one way or another
Elsewhere in the Jonathan Ross interview, Vicky McClure (who plays Kate Fleming) responded to another prominent fan theory pointing to the fact that Carmichael is H – the pen tapping incident during last week’s episode.
Some have pointed out that, while Carmichael was interrogating DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald), she tapped her pen four times – a gesture which spells out “H” in morse code.
And while Maxwell Martin denied this moment had any meaning in a This Morning interview earlier this week, claiming she was just “bored” while filming, when Ross put the theory to McClure, she didn’t deny its significance, simply responding with, “Hmmm, that’s very interesting”.
3. Whoever ‘H’ is, only the “top cast” truly know
It’s no secret that H’s true identity has been kept tightly under wraps from the public – but according to season six star Kelly Macdonald, most of the show’s cast and crew have also been kept in the dark about what’s truly going on.
Speaking during an interview with the PA news agency, Macdonald said she only found out about her character’s history during filming, and said Jed Mercurio was “troublesome” when it came to revealing details.
“Jed Mercurio, man, he is troublesome,” she said. “He keeps a lot to himself. I feel like Martin [Compston] always heard about things first. I felt like he would get the lay of the land. I don’t know if that was just because he is so on top of everything and understands everything acutely and what the connotations are.
“I didn’t have the full story on Jo. I just knew that things hadn’t been great for her. Jed kept saying, ‘She is this enigmatic figure,’ and he was being enigmatic himself. By the time we came back after the first lockdown, I knew what was up.”
She continued: “The main cast know [who H is]. I don’t know about everybody. ‘H’ knows who ‘H’ is.”
4. The ending will “shock” and “frustrate” viewers
As if we weren’t apprehensive enough about what tonight’s finale will bring, Craig Parkinson, who hosts the BBC’s Obsessed With… Line Of Duty podcast and played DI Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan in the show before his untimely death in season three, has hinted at the fact that the final episode will be a bit of a rollercoaster ride for viewers during an interview on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC Radio 2 show.
“I think it’s gonna shock people,” he said. “I think people are going to be frustrated, it’s exhilarating, it’s exciting… these aren’t soundbites, I’ve seen it four times, honestly, and it really stands up to repeat viewing.”
Elsewhere, in an interview with Sky News’ Backstage Podcast, Parkinson said that AC-12 were set to “break some hearts”.
“I’m so proud of the guys for going back after the break, getting it done without any illness and delivering one of the iconic great British dramas that we’ve produced in the past few years,” Parkinson said. “Talk about timing, we all need AC-12 in our life right now, albeit I’m sure they’re going to break some hearts at some point.”
5. The finale will also provide “big answers” – but could be the last episode we ever get
Compston’s comments on The Jonathan Ross Show last night weren’t the only time he’s hinted at what might happen during tonight’s episode. Indeed, during an interview with the Shrine Of Duty podcast earlier this week, he confirmed that fans will at least some of what they’re looking for.
“There are a lot of payoffs coming this Sunday,” he explained. “There are a lot of big answers coming, and I think it’s deserved. You know, people have stuck with us for such a long time. I think there comes a point where the natural story arc that’s been running all these years is coming to an end.”
Compston also spoke about the possibility of the show returning for a season seven.
“Jed [Mercurio] always takes time after a series, like a couple of months” he explained.
“There’s a lot of stuff that’s way beyond my pay grade like the data, the figures, analytics, audience scores and all that. He likes to take the emotion out of it and sit down and looks at all that.
“There are different elements this year. Usually, we’re just looking at – do people want us back, because you don’t want to overdo it. But there’s also – when you get ten years in, you start to think of legacy, and if it goes down that well in some ways it might be the perfect ending.”
Compston continued: “We won’t do [another series] just for the sake of doing it. That won’t happen. Jed will only do it if he feels there’s a story there to be told.”
6. No character is completely safe
As much as we’d hate to think that Steve, Kate or Ted could meet their demise during tonight’s episode, according to McClure, it’s not off the cards.
Reflecting on the death of Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan back in season three during an interview with Metro, McClure said the moment had been a real shock for the cast – and teased that more surprises like that could be on the way.
“It was strange, wasn’t it, when Craig left,” she said. “Craig Parkinson was part of the show for the first three years, we was well on our way then, got into our stride and then he went.
“Reading that in the script was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s… That’s huge’. Nobody is safe.”
The Line Of Duty season six finale will air on BBC One tonight at 9pm
As Stylist’s junior digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.