The finale of the sixth series of acclaimed police procedural Line of Duty airs on BBC One this Sunday, and, if the show’s record ratings are anything to go by, viewer anticipation levels have never been higher. And why shouldn’t they be? Sunday’s episode sees coppers DS Arnott (Martin Compston), DI Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Superintendent Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) poised to uncover the identity of “H”, the underworld mole first teased in Series 3, wrapping up the show’s longest running unsolved mystery!
Whoever “H” turns out to be (and there are plenty of theories currently doing the rounds online), it’s bound to be a surprise – after all, wrong-footing viewers has been Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio’s forte since the show debuted back in 2012. Whether it’s characters unexpectedly shifting their allegiances or getting bumped off altogether, Mercurio has consistently kept audiences guessing with jaw-dropping narrative bombshells tailor made for Line of Duty’s weekly release schedule.
So, ahead of the Series 6 finale’s big reveal, let’s take a look back at the five most explosive Line of Duty plot twists (so far, at least).
5. Danny Waldron’s early exit
Everything about Daniel Mays’ Sergeant Danny Waldron screamed “series villain”. An abrasive loner loathed by his own team and under investigation for a seemingly senseless murder, Waldron is introduced as the focus of Line of Duty Series 3 – only to be fatally shot in the closing moments of Episode 1 and bleeding out early on in Episode 2!
Yet despite only appearing very briefly on screen, Danny remains a driving force in Line of Duty Series 3. In a prime example of Mercurio’s sprawling, somewhat convoluted storytelling style, the fallout of Waldron’s untimely death not only brings to light the systematic abuse of children by high-ranking politicians and police officers, it also helps unmask the corrupt copper codenamed “The Caddy” at long last (more on that later…).
4. Gill Biggeloe’s true colours are revealed
Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker) never rated as a fan favourite character, but few suspected this taciturn special counsel was bent all along! However, that’s exactly what we learn in the finale of Line of Duty Series 5, when Biggeloe is outed as a mole recruited by the show’s underworld element to infiltrate the police force’s senior ranks.
With her cover blown, Biggeloe’s criminal bosses waste no time arranging to have her killed, but fortunately, the attempt on her life is foiled by Arnott. The last time we see her, ol’ Gill is cooperating with police in exchange for immunity and a shiny new identity (which is about as good a fate as you can hope for, by Line of Duty standards).
3. Enter: The Caddy
Arguably the biggest plot twist in Line of Duty Series 1 comes late in the game, when DI Matthew “Dot” Cottan (Craig Parkinson) is revealed to be the inside man working for gangster Tommy Hunter. The kicker? Viewers are the only ones to know, as Dot – codenamed “The Caddy” by avid golfer Tommy – remains safely under the radar when the credits roll.
For the next two series, fans could only squirm as Dot joins the AC-12 anti-corruption unit and worms his way deeper into the confidences of Hastings, Arnott, and Fleming – all while covering his own tracks! Dot’s luck ultimately runs out, though, after his duplicity is exposed in Series 3 by Keeley Hawes’ disgraced copper Lindsay Denton. He later dies attempting to escape justice when – in a fit of remorse – he steps in front of a hail of gunfire intended for Fleming.
That isn’t Dot’s only act of atonement, either. In his final moments, Dot shares vital evidence about the previously “untouchable” sexual predators who abused Danny Waldron as a boy, and divulges (via morse code, no less) that four other moles are currently at large in the upper echelons of the police force!
2. Maneet Bindra’s short-lived criminal career
If there’s a maxim Line of Duty fans live by, it’s “trust no one”, and PC Maneet Bindra proved to be no exception.
Portrayed by actress Maya Sondhi, Bindra quickly established herself as a likeable recurring character, so it’s a real gut punch when she offers to leak sensitive information to the show’s shadowy criminal syndicate in the Series 5 opener. Sure, she was doing it to protect her cousin’s life, but it stung all the same.
Yet even more shocking than Bindra embarking on a criminal career is just how short said career winds up being. Before Episode 1 is done, the ex-officer has been dispatched in decidedly gruesome fashion by agents of rogue undercover operative John Corbett (Stephen Graham), who slit her throat.
And that’s not even the worst of it! It later transpires that Bindra was trying to run her own unofficial undercover operation, to make up for letting AC-12 down. Poor Maneet deserved better.
1. Joanne Davidson’s terrible family secret
As the focus of Line of Duty Series 6, DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) is at the centre of several massive plot twists – but really, what could top the horrific truth about her parentage? Seriously: it would be a big enough curve ball to simply find out that Joanne’s father was vile criminal Tommy Hunter, but the fact that he’s her uncle as well? That degree of ickiness is hard to beat…