BBC One’s Line Of Duty returns to our TV screens with its much-anticipated season six premiere on Sunday 21 March, and now we’ve got our hands on the explosive trailer, which you can scroll down to watch below.
However, die-hard fans have uncovered a secret trail of Easter eggs within the footage, all of which apparently allude to key plot developments in the forthcoming season.
What Easter eggs are hidden in the Line Of Duty season 6 trailer?
The first clue, for anyone who wants to join the online treasure hunt, is hidden at the very start of the trailer, when, two seconds in, a magazine cover is shown.
And that QR code at the bottom of the mag? Yeah, if you scan it with your phone, it directs you to a document entitled “Operation Easter Egg Hunt”.
Taking the form of a letter sent by Chief Constable Philip Osborne (Owen Teale) to DCC Andrea Wise (Elizabeth Rider), it claims that it’s high time that AC-12’s leader Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) is ousted from his position.
“Ted Hastings doesn’t lead investigations, more commit to a crusade. He is oblivious to the politics of the situation which creates problems for me and problems for you because policing is politics,” it reads.
“And should AC-12 even be led by someone who himself has been accused of corruption?”
So far, so juicy – but here’s where things get even more interesting.
If you hover over the bolded ‘next’ in the letter, it links to a (fictional) pharmacy prescription, issued to DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston).
Ibuprofen and codeine are, naturally, strong pain relief medications that can cause addiction. No wonder, then, that people have begun to suspect that Steve will (as previously theorised) be shot during an upcoming AC-12 investigation.
Before you get too bogged down in the details, though, it’s worth noting that a sequence of Morse code is hidden within the prescription.
Follow it, and you’ll be taken to a news report which has seemingly been filmed within the Line of Duty universe.
“There is no institutionalised corruption in this police force,” says the police commissioner.
However, a journalist on the scene then looks into the camera and suggests that “cynics might conclude the police commissioner might prefer that his statement isn’t studied too closely.”
Why? Because she believes that he’s learned his job “no longer depends on revealing the deepest truths, but on telling the most attractive lies.”
Check it out:
The clues don’t end there, though: at the bottom of the video, people have noticed an algebraic code, “(Hx6) + ? .xyz”.
And… well, you might want to check out this Reddit thread, as people are still doing their utmost best to piece this fiendishly tricky puzzle together.
One thing we do know for sure, though? It all leads to a location on google maps: Birmingham’s Green Lane.
As the show is set somewhere in the Midlands, it seems safe to assume that this spot is going to be key to the events that unfold later.
Watch the Line Of Duty season six trailer
On top of all those maddening clues, the actual proper trailer for Line Of Duty has given us a lot to think about.
Check it out:
What are fans saying about the Line Of Duty season six trailer?
All good things, predictably!
“Perfect,” reads one relieved comment underneath the YouTube video.
“The trailer is so sick,” says one more.
And another, echoing all of our thoughts and more, simply reads: “Omg whaaaaat?!?!”
What does the new Line Of Duty trailer tell us about season six?
Firstly, that it’s going to be an intense rollercoaster of a ride. Mainly because we’ve got a potential supervillain in the making thanks to Kelly Macdonald’s DCI Joanne Davidson.
She claims she’s innocent (obviously). But, as AC-12’s investigation uncovers deeper and darker information, will DCI Joanne Davidson turn out to be their most dangerous adversary yet?
We’ve also got someone asking all the right questions in Shalom Brune-Franklin’s DC Chloe Bishop, too.
“Do you still believe there’s a fourth man out there?” she asks Martin Compston’s DS Steve Arnott.
“Man… or woman,” he says ominously, as the camera spends just a little too long on DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure).
Then there’s that ‘lies cost lives’ tagline, a smattering of gunshots, and lots of close-ups of agonised cops’ faces… all of which seems to support the ongoing fan theory that one of our favourite AC-12 offices will be fatally shot this season.
Yes, we mean Steve. Sorry.
Why do people think DS Steve Arnott is going to die in Line Of Duty season six?
Taking to his Instagram a few weeks back, Compston shared a black and white shot BBC iPlayer promo shot for Line Of Duty, with him in the middle.
The show’s name was printed across them, but the O in of was a bullet hole through glass, right over Martin’s chest.
“I swear! If Steve gets shot… this year has been hard enough already,” commented one fan.
Another added: “Why does the bullet have to be going through our boy Steve?”
And still one more posted: “I hope you’re not suggesting Steve gets shot, are you Martin?”
Hmm. Well, nobody could ever accuse this show of being afraid to kill off lead characters…
What else do we know about Line Of Duty season six?
There are still so many unanswered questions about the AC-12 unit after that explosive season five finale.
Firstly, and most importantly, who is the final ‘H’? We know that there are four bent coppers in total, because Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan tapped it out in his dying moments – and we know the names of three of them; assistant chief constable Derek Hilton, legal counsel Gill Biggeloe and Cottan himself.
Secondly, should we be suspicious of DCS Patricia Carmichael and DCC Andrea Wise? A few scattered breadcrumb clues suggest there could be more to these coppers than meets the eye, after all.
And finally, is Ted Hastings really a good guy? Yes, he’s no longer under formal investigation (thanks for that, Kate and Steve), but series five built up a pretty solid case against him all the same. Which means… well, there’s still a pretty good chance that he could be the final ‘H’, right?
For all those who were hoping that the season six premiere of Line Of Duty would set to answering these questions right away, sorry folks: the crime drama will not be picking up where it left off.
Instead, it’s leaping forwards in time by well over a year (almost two!) to a whole new case entirely.
Speaking on the Graham Norton Show, Adrian Dunbar – aka Hastings himself – explained: “18 months have passed so the landscape has completely changed.
“We are starting from a place that the audience will probably find a bit shocking at first.
“Things and people have been moved around so the first episode is going to be one of those ‘head-wrecks’ for the audience.”
What have the cast said about Line Of Duty season six?
Everyone is refusing to share any secrets about the upcoming TV series, but everyone involved has promised that it’s going to be a wild ride.
“They sent the first episode while I was on the train. And I managed to download it and immediately got freaked out at the intensity,” MacDonald told The Guardian.
“My God is it packed full of everything,” agreed DI Kate Fleming actor Vicky McClure during an appearance on BBC Breakfast.
So far, so teasing. In fact, the only thing we know for sure about Line Of Duty season six is this: the global pandemic will not form part of the plot for season six.
“It is shot so that the pandemic is invisible,” writer Jed Mercurio explained during his recent appearance on Inside Culture With Mary Beard.
“What we did decide to do was we snuck in a few allegorical points in relation to the current situation, so sharp-eyed viewers should look out for those.”
Even better than the promise of a scattering of Covid-19 Easter eggs? Well, Compston has basically sworn that all of those questions we’re all still puzzling over from season five (and earlier) will 100% be answered this time around.
“There are a lot of big answers coming in this series, a few things that people have been looking for a few years,” he said.
Bring on that big ‘H’ revelation already, then!
Line Of Duty season six will air on Sunday 21 March.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.