The Season 6 finale of BBC police corruption drama “Line of Duty” snared over 15 million viewers — the century’s most-watched UK drama episode.
Season 6 is now out there on streaming service BritBox, with acquainted faces Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott), Vicky McClure (DI Kate Fleming) and Adrian Dunbar (Superintendent Ted Hastings) returning to research a homicide case with sinister and far-reaching implications.
“One of the things we do with ‘Line of Duty’ is to reward our loyal fans who are familiar with previous seasons, but it’s really important that we make the show totally acceptable to new fans,” series creator/author Jed Mercurio instructed The Post. “So each season begins with a brand new character by no means portrayed within the present earlier than…and, in Season 6, it’s Kelly Macdonald taking part in a lead murder detective [DCI Joanne Davidson] investigating the homicide of a journalist, Gail Vella. When the season begins this murder inquiry is a couple of 12 months previous they usually nonetheless haven’t recognized a major suspect.
“We come into our story when there’s a breakthrough in the case, which brings the anti-corruption department into the story because there are suspicious circumstances around the arrest of the suspect.”
That’s simply the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and because the seven-episode season unravels Joanne Davidson falls beneath suspicion in connection to Vella’s homicide — whereas doubts are raised about members of the anti-corruption unit, together with Superintendent Hastings.
“In developing the series it was originally important that internal affairs officers weren’t holier-than-thou,” Mercurio stated. “I wished to make the cops beneath investigation for being allegedly corrupt function in a form of ethical gray space, so the viewers may have sympathy for them and we may divide the loyalties of the viewers and in addition create thriller across the cops beneath investigation. They might not be responsible of what they’re being investigated for…there could also be one other clarification they usually’re really good cops.
“Whether one of these anti-corruption officers is going to end up being revealed as having committed corruption themselves — or whether they take immoral or unethical steps in their professional lives that will come back to haunt them — are all very important to the identity of the show.”
Mercurio writes every “Line of Duty” episode himself, as he did along with his different BBC rankings behemoth, “Bodyguard,” which starred Keeley Hawes and Richard Madden and streamed on Netflix within the US. It’s no simple process, contemplating every episode is about an hour lengthy, with no industrial interruptions, and the series takes a really deep dive into every of its season-long instances, with references to previous characters.
“I have the main points of the season, the main twists and turns of the story, the main character development and dramatic concerns, mapped out in advance,” Mercurio stated. “The way the show is written, episode-by-episode, it can be a journey of discovery. It may become apparent that some our plans won’t work out and may need revising to the point of taking a step back and adjusting the overall plan for the whole season.”
Mercurio attributes the enduring reputation of “Line of Duty” to 1 central conceit.
“The essential difference is that it’s cops versus cops. We’re the only police drama series that deals with corruption, which is an intrinsic part of our storytelling,” he stated. “One of the explanations we didn’t have a clean journey to getting on the air [at the start] was that the overwhelming majority of cop reveals are what you would possibly name ‘propaganda,’ the drama of reassurance about policing. There had been misgivings by the community executives that the viewers wouldn’t welcome a present that requested questions on police misconduct and violence.
“But what we’ve proven, season after season, is that the viewers will purchase into that and make some of it chime with their considerations about the best way our establishments are arrange…and whether or not they interact in misconduct or components of corruption.
“The other shows aren’t asking those questions,” he stated, “and maybe it makes [our fans] watch ‘Line of Duty’ in a different way.”