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Line of Duty season 6 will have an extra episode – and there's a new teaser clip

The BBC has announced that Line of Duty season six is “coming soon”. Here’s everything we know about the series so far. 

Updated on 3 January 2021:

Line of Duty fans, we’ve got an exciting season six update for you. The BBC has confirmed that it is “coming soon” and will feature an extra episode (seven instead of the usual six). The announcement was made in a very special way, via a teaser clip shared on Twitter.

In the clip, Steve (Martin Compston) tells superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar): “Regardless of the personnel involved, Vella’s still the highest-profile inquiry engaging this force.”

Ted replies: “I’m gonna need a hell of a lot more before I can authorise a formal inquiry.”

When Steve moves to protest, his boss warns: “Houl yer whisht! I need more.”

Steve’s voiceover then teases: “How about an extra episode, gaffer?

Updated on 24 November 2020: Line of Duty is exactly what we all need right now: a good TV show with brilliant writers, an excellent cast and a plot that keeps you gripped through the long winter nights. That’s exactly why everyone at Stylist HQ was very excited last week when the BBC confirmed via Radio Times that season six will hit our screens in March 2021. 

And now, the show’s creator Jed Mercurio has celebrated the end of filming by sharing the first look at Kelly Macdonald as Line of Duty’s next guest series lead.  Macdonald plays detective chief inspector Joanne Davidson, the senior investigating officer on an unsolved murder case whose unconventional conduct attracts the attention of AC-12.

Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson
Line of Duty: Kelly Macdonald as Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson.

It comes just a few weeks after Mercurio posted a picture to his Twitter account showing a scene from the new series. He captioned it: “When I took this photo I was careful to keep the inmate opposite ⁦@martin_compston⁩ hidden but you can just about see an out-of-focus image on the camera monitor.

“Clue: it’s not Julia Montague.”

The conspiracy theories quickly started. One fan said: “As long as it’s not the gaffer”. Another added, “Have they reassembled Jackie Laverty?” which is a good question but surely not a theory that could be correct. (We all saw the body in the freezer, right?)

Although none of us have any of the answers, we all want to find out as much as we can about what to expect from season six, especially with the arrival of Macdonald’s intriguing new character. So let’s take a look at everything else we’ve learned so far…

Updated on 18 Feb 2020: Line of Duty is, arguably, the best crime drama out there in the UK. The BBC series, which stars Vicky McClure in the role of DI Kate Fleming, has been a hit with audiences over its five seasons. In fact, the series five finale is the most watched programme of 2019 so far, with a consolidated viewing figure of 13.7 million. So, naturally, there’s already a big buzz over season six.

Which is why we ware always very happy when the BBC decided to share some first-look photos from the set..

The Beeb decided to reward loyal fans yet again with some extra-special pictures from day one of filming on Line of Duty series six. And, on top of that, they’ve also revealed that the new series of the show is set a year and a half on from the events of series five, and will feature a brand new case for AC-12, focused on an enigmatic Detective Chief Inspector.

If you take a closer look at the images, you’ll see Martin Compston’s character of Steven Arnott speaking to his fellow AC-12 officers. In the background, though, is where things get really interesting.

It’s a photo of Kelly MacDonald’s police ID credentials. But why?

Unfortunately, we will have to wait until later in the year to find out. 

BBC - Line of Duty S6 set photos
BBC - Line of Duty S6 set photos

And earlier in February LOD fans went wild once again when BBC One tweeted a photo of McClure and her cast-mates doing a read-through.

“Back to work for this lot at the #LineOfDuty Series 6 read-through!” read the caption on the picture, which also featured Compston, Macdonald and Adrian Dunbar. The post was shared over 2,000 times, and it attracted thousands of comments from loyal LOD viewers, too.

“YASSSSSSSSSS. So ready!” tweeted one. “I can only accept this photo from somebody at least one rank senior,” joked another.

The main focus of the comments, though, was on something the BBC hadn’t noticed when they originally posted the image.

Due to an optical illusion, it looks as if Dunbar’s arm is wrapped around all three of his co-stars. And this, of course, has prompted a spate of “long arm of the law” jokes.

“How long is Hastings’ arm in this photo? ” asked one confused fan.

“Hastings appears to have the longest arm of the law,” replied another, alongside a string of laugh-face emojis.

In November last year it was announced that Kelly Macdonald would be joining the cast. Macdonald will play Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson in the AC-12 anti-corruption branch, who is a senior investigating officer of an unsolved murder. 

According to BBC News, Davidson is an “enigmatic DCI whose unconventional conduct raises suspicions”. Ooof, that adds a whole new layer of brilliant acting and characterisation to an already-brilliant TV show. Of course, you’ll recognise award-winning actor Macdonald from hit films such as Trainspotting, Gosford Park, Harry Potter and Brave, and TV shows including Broadwalk Empire and Giri/Haji.

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The show’s creator Jed Mercurio said the show was “honoured” to have her on board. He continued: “DCI Joanne Davidson will prove the most enigmatic adversary AC-12 have ever faced.”

In the past, guest lead stars have included Thandie Newton, Stephen Graham and Keeley Hawes. So Macdonald is following in some very impressive footsteps indeed. 

Here’s what we know about Line of Duty season six so far 

Vicky McClure will return as DI Kate Fleming in Line of Duty season six.
Vicky McClure will return as DI Kate Fleming in Line of Duty season six.

Although series six has been given the green light, we’re yet to be told when to expect it on our screens.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com about the show’s return in October, Mercurio said: “I would hope it’s sometime in 2020, next year.” And in November the BBC confirmed that filming would begin “next year”.

It’s assumed that all the main AC-12 actors will return: Adrian Dunbar (Supt Ted Hastings), Vicky McClure (DI Kate Fleming), and Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott). 

Compston shared a photograph of some of the cast hanging out together. “Cannae beat a catch up with these two. Next time we’ll most likely be in uniform or at least Adrian will I’ll be in a new 3 piece,” he wrote. 

Speaking at Stylist Live LUXE, McClure also spoke about spending time with the cast. “I spend a lot of time with Martin Compston (Steve Arnott) on Line of Duty, and everybody’s got their job,” she said. “The director’s got their job, there’s a lot going on, so we have really been there for each other in a way we really needed. We make a bit of dinner together and chat. Sometimes it’s not talking about work, sometimes it’s learning lines… it’s whatever we think we need at that time.

“I couldn’t do that job without them,” she added. “It makes a big difference.”

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Although we don’t have many details to go on, the ones that we do have prove that the next series is going to be just as captivating – if not, more so – than the last.

Stay tuned for more details. 

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Images: Getty, BBC