BBC announces Line of Duty season six will be released early next year

Megan Sutton
·6-min read
Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

From Good Housekeeping

Contains spoilers for Line of Duty season five.

Line of Duty season five ended on a spectacular note, as it was revealed AC-12 have been barking up the wrong tree by chasing one person known as ‘H’. Gill Biggleloe was unmasked as being corrupt, Ted Hastings was proven innocent – for now – and it was explained that one more corrupt police member remains at large.

With a sixth season officially commissioned by the BBC, here’s what we know so far about what’s coming next...

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC


Work on season 6 was firmly underway pre-lockdown.

Star of the series Martin Compston shared a picture in uniform with co-star Adrian Dunbar and showrunner Jed Mercurio.

However, filming had to halt when the pandemic hit the UK and social distancing measures were introduced. Now, Mercurio is considering a re-write of the series in light of what's happened.

"We're all considering [a re-write]. We shot for four weeks in a pre-lockdown world, and all that material would have to be re-shot if we were going to change things," he said on The Andrew Marr Show.

"That would have huge cost implications, but we are considering it."

DI Kate Fleming actress Vicky McClure added: "I am [keen to go back]. Even if it means re-shooting what we've already shot."

There’s also a possibility that characters could be wearing masks in the new series, with Mercurio telling Radio Times magazine that the team are currently discussing whether to reflect the coronavirus crisis in the episodes.

Mercurio told Radio Times that season six had to be filmed by Christmas if it was going screen in 2021.

“We’d love to be on air next year, so we really have to make sure we complete our filming before Christmas.”

Photo credit: Amazon
Photo credit: Amazon

BUY NOW Line of Duty season 1 - 5 boxset, £32.99, Amazon.

The good news is that as of now, filming is back underway.

Mercurio said: "We know Line of Duty fans are desperate for series 6 and we hope we can get it on air as soon as possible. Thanks so much for your patience in these difficult times."

Martin Compston added: “It’s been a long few months and it will be a different way of working from when we stopped, but I’m delighted to be back on the case with the Line of Duty team!”

The BBC shared an image of the filming...

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Jed also shared a first look at new cast member Kelly Macdonald as DCI Jo Davidson in the interview room with AC-12.

Line of Duty season 6: When’s it on TV?

BBC has announced Line of Duty fans will see the hit-series back on their screens before the end of March 2021.

A statement sharing the broadcaster's plans for the autumn/winter TV schedule read: "Returning favourites on TV in the period up to the end of March include His Dark Materials, Doctor Who, Line Of Duty and Call The Midwife..."

Regardless of its exact air date, will series six be the last we see of Jed Mercurio's drama?

This is something we’re not quite sure of at the moment as the BBC has only officially commissioned season six, however given the show’s popularity it could certainly go on for longer.

Adrian Dunbar, who plays Hastings, told Good Morning Britian: "We'll have to wait and see. The standard of the writing is so high, you know. If Jed keeps doing it, we could go on forever."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Line of Duty season 6: Who’s in it?

We’ll see Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston return as the show’s regulars, Hastings, Fleming and Arnott, of course.

Given the huge impact her character made towards the end of season five, it’s possible we’ll see Anna Maxwell Martin return as Patricia Carmichael.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Excitingly, Kelly Macdonald will guest star.

Showrunner Jed Mercurio shared an image of himself, Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar "awaiting the arrival of secret guest stars."

Then the BBC revealed Macdonald will play Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson, the senior investigating officer of an unsolved murder, whose unconventional conduct raises suspicions at AC-12.

Jed Mercurio said: "We're honoured that Kelly Macdonald will join Martin, Vicky and Adrian in Series 6 of Line of Duty. DCI Joanne Davidson will prove the most enigmatic adversary AC-12 have ever faced."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, added: “We’re delighted that Kelly Macdonald is coming on board for series six. She’s one of the UK’s most versatile actors and we’re excited for viewers to see what Jed’s scripts have in store for her when she joins the Line of Duty team.”

Joining Line of Duty for the first time this series are Shalom Brune-Franklin (Our Girl, Cursed), Perry Fitzpatrick (This Is England, I Am Nicola), Andi Osho (Kiri, Curfew) and Prasanna Puwanarajah (Doctor Foster, Patrick Melrose).

Line of Duty season 6: What will it be about?

We imagine the series will follow AC-12 as they try to discover who the fourth corrupt police member is, under the command of Hastings who is clearly on thin ice after what happened in season five.

Lisa McQueen told police the OCG was fully neutralised in the final episode of series five, but now we know member Ryan Pilkington is a junior police officer, will he continue the OCG’s work from the inside?

Expect to also see more of Fleming and Arnott’s personal lives as they struggle with the balance between love, family and work.

But, as Mercurio contemplates a re-write post-lockdown, it's anyone's guess what the series will cover now.

Line of Duty will return to BBC One next year.

STREAM NOW on Amazon Prime Video.

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Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

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