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First Look: Line of Duty series 5

The wait is over… Line of Duty is finally back. At least it will be soon enough, anyway.

The writers and producers behind the best British TV police drama of the 21st century so far kept us all ticking over in 2018 with Bodyguard, but there’s nothing quite like their twisting and turning bent cop thriller to really set the pulse racing, is there?

Series 4 hit the big time two years ago after being set loose onto BBC One for the very first time – the finale hitting an impressive 7.5 million viewers at its peak.

The AC-12 gang are all back in the office and hitting the streets, shooting furtive glances about the place and not knowing quite who to trust. DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure), DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) are all returning, desperate to find out who the shadowy ‘H’ is. Whoever this ‘H’ character is, they appear to be the puppet master behind some seriously huge-scale police corruption.

Remember all the furore around the identity of ‘Balaclava Man’ in series 4? If you recall, it turned out that it was more a case of Balaclava Men, with more than one person donning the ski mask to help carry out some of H’s dirty work. There has to be a ring leader behind the faceless thugs though, surely? A rough, tough no-nonsense criminal boss type commanding the men and working with corrupt police and, ultimately, H. And it appears there is…

His name is John Corbett and he’s set to be played by the incomparably menacing and intense Stephen Graham (Boardwalk Empire, This is England, Save Me). Stephen Graham as a bad guy in Line of Duty. What’s not to love about that, eh?!

See for yourself in this trailer for the new series:

Joining Graham in the criminal gang that seems to have the upper hand over AC-12 is a cast of characters including Lisa McQueen, played by Love, Lies and Records’ Rochenda Sandall.

The plot hasn’t been disclosed in any great detail as yet, but judging by that minute-long teaser, AC-12 are chasing down Corbett’s gang of murderous armed robbers after they kill three police officers in a heist-turned-ugly.

Mercurio teased a slight change of pace or tact with the new run, telling everyone to expect ‘very fresh territory’. “There are things we haven’t done before,” the writer teased. “Characters we haven’t seen before and that I think’s part of the construction of the series.”

Could a main figure in the series be squeezed out to make room for these new characters and this ‘new territory’? If so, could it be Vicky McClure’s Kate that makes way?

“Oh. My. God! The audience is going to be shocked,” she said in a recent interview. “I would love nothing more than to work with Adie (Dunbar), Martin (Compston) and Jed (Mercurio) for my entire career, but everything has a shelf life, which won’t be determined by me… I always wonder, ‘Is this the season I die?!’” McClure went on to hint.

So, then. Does Kate die? Who’s in on the conspiracy? And just who is ‘H’? These are questions that we’re just going to have to wait to see answered.

Can’t wait for the Line of Duty to begin on 31 March? Here are some top Netflix shows for fans of the drama to tide you over!

Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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