Line of Duty is a British police procedural television series created by Jed Mercurio and produced by World Productions. On 26 June 2012, BBC Two began to broadcast the first series; it was its best-performing drama series in ten years with a consolidated audience of 4.1 million viewers. Broadcast of the second series began on 12 February 2014; its widespread public and critical acclaim led to the BBC commissioning a further two series. The third series began on 24 March 2016 on BBC Two; the following three series were broadcast on BBC One.
|Line of Duty|
|Created by||Jed Mercurio|
|Written by||Jed Mercurio|
|Theme music composer||Carly Paradis|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||6|
|No. of episodes||36 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||1 hour / 1 hour 30 minutes|
|Production company||World Productions|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital|
|Original release||26 June 2012 –|
In May 2017, the BBC commissioned a sixth series. Filming began in February 2020 but stopped the following month due to the COVID-19 pandemic; it resumed in September. Filming continued until November 2020. Broadcast of the sixth series began on BBC One on 21 March 2021.
Before switching channels from series four onwards, Line of Duty was the most popular drama series broadcast on BBC Two and is a winner of the Royal Television Society Award and Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Drama Series. It was included in a list of the Top 50 BBC Two shows of all time and in a list of the 80 best BBC shows of all time. In 2016, the series ranked eighth in The Independent's list of the twenty greatest police shows of all time and third in a Radio Times 2018 poll of the best British crime dramas of all time. In 2021 Line of Duty won the National Television Award for Special Recognition.
Line of Duty follows DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), an authorised firearms officer who is transferred to Anti-Corruption Unit 12 (AC-12) after refusing to agree to cover up an unlawful shooting by his own team. At AC-12 Arnott is partnered with DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure), a highly commended undercover officer with a keen investigative instinct. They work under the supervision of Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), uncovering corruption within the fictional Central Police Force. Throughout the series, AC-12 investigate seemingly disparate cases involving seemingly corrupt police officers such as DCI Tony Gates (Lennie James), DI Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes), Sergeant Danny Waldron (Daniel Mays), DCI Roseanne Huntley (Thandie Newton), undercover officer DS John Corbett (Stephen Graham) and DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald).
AC-12 realises the pervasive nature of corruption and the police's deep-rooted links to an organised crime group. A long-running story arc revolves around discovering the identity of "H", a corrupt person or persons of senior rank within the police force who are instrumental in running organised crime.
|Steve Arnott||Martin Compston||Series 1–5||DS||Counter Terrorism (S1 E1)
AC-12 (S1 E1 onwards)
|Assigned to AC-12, the anti-corruption unit within the Central Constabulary. Previously, he served as a counter-terrorism officer. He transferred after he refused to collude with his colleagues following the fatal shooting of an innocent man. He was promoted to Detective Inspector from Detective Sergeant in the sixth series.|
|Kate Fleming||Vicky McClure||Series 1||DC||AC-12 (undercover with TO-20)|
|Series 2||AC-12 (undercover with Missing Persons Unit)|
|Series 3||AC-12 (undercover with Specialist Firearms Command)|
|Series 4||DS||AC-12 (undercover as DS from East Midlands Constabulary, seconded to Operation Trapdoor)|
|Series 6||Operation Lighthouse, Murder Investigation Team|
|An undercover specialist and consummate professional, Fleming is willing to investigate officers inside and outside AC-12. Initially a detective constable, she is promoted to Detective Sergeant at the end of the third series and to Detective Inspector following the fourth. She is married, though separated, with a son.|
|Ted Hastings||Adrian Dunbar||Series 1–present||Chief Superintendent||AC-12|
|The senior investigating officer of AC-12. He recruited Arnott, Fleming and Cottan. Once a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, he is a Roman Catholic.|
|Anthony "Tony" Gates||Lennie James||Series 1||DCI||TO-20|
|The head of the serious crime unit TO-20, Gates is renowned for returning the best crime figures of any unit in the Central Constabulary. It is this reputation, however, that leads AC-12 to his team. Suspected of corruption, Gates faces an internal affairs investigation that adds further complications to his troubled home life.|
|Lindsay Denton||Keeley Hawes||Series 2||DI||CID, 4th Street Station (S2E1)
Missing Person Unit, 4th Street Station (S2E1 onwards)
|Series 3||On parole||N/A|
|Being the commander of an ambushed convoy transporting a protected witness, resulting in the deaths of the other police officers, Denton is charged with conspiracy to commit murder. She attempts to convince AC-12 of her innocence and regain her reputation, but eventually receives a life sentence. In series 3, Denton is granted an appeal and is acquitted because of an alleged sexual relationship with Arnott while she was being investigated. She discovers crucial evidence pertaining to the Danny Waldron murder investigation and historical child sex abuse. When she rejects Cottan's bribe for her to conceal the evidence, he kills her.|
|Matthew "Dot" Cottan||Craig Parkinson||Series 1||DS||TO-20|
|Series 2–3||DI||AC-9 (S2 E1)
AC-12 (S2 E1 onwards)
|An AC-12 officer, was initially introduced as a DS on Tony Gates's TO-20 team. At the beginning of series two, he is promoted to DI and transferred to AC-9. Then he is seconded to AC-12 by Hastings. Cottan is "The Caddy", a fixer for an organised crime group. He is killed after escaping from AC-12 custody towards the end of the third series.|
|Danny Waldron||Daniel Mays||Series 3||Sergeant||Strategic Firearms Command|
|Danny Waldron is an Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO). His armed response unit is investigated by AC-12, as a matter of routine following the shooting of a suspect. A deeper investigation is initiated when Arnott and Fleming discover the shooting may have been unlawful. Waldron is shot and killed by a colleague; his death results in an investigation into historic child sex abuse.|
|Roseanne "Roz" Huntley||Thandie Newton||Series 4||Detective Chief Inspector||Operation Trapdoor (S4E1)
Major Violent Crime Unit (S4E2 onwards)
|The senior investigating officer of Operation Trapdoor, at the centre of an AC-12 investigation for mishandling evidence.|
|John Corbett||Stephen Graham||Series 5||Detective Sergeant||Operation Pear Tree|
|Corbett is an undercover police officer using the name John Clayton, who has been uncontactable for several months. He then appears as the gang leader of an organised crime group that hijacked a police convoy transporting seized drugs.|
|Patricia Carmichael||Anna Maxwell Martin||Series 5||Detective Chief Superintendent||AC-3, East Midlands Constabulary|
|Series 6||Joint Professional Standards Unit, East Midlands Constabulary & Central Police|
|The senior investigating officer of AC-3, who is drafted in to review AC-12's handling of the Corbett investigation. In series 6, Carmichael assumes control of AC-12.|
|Joanne Davidson||Kelly Macdonald||Series 6||Detective Chief Inspector||Operation Lighthouse, Murder Investigation Team|
|Acting Detective Superintendent|
|The SIO of "Operation Lighthouse"; the investigation into the murder of a journalist, Gail Vella. Her unconventional conduct raises suspicions at AC-12.|
- Brian McCardie as Tommy Hunter (series 1–2)
- Neil Morrissey as DC Nigel Morton (series 1–3)
- Nigel Boyle as DI/DCI/DSU Ian Buckells (series 1, 4, 6)
- Paul Higgins as CS/ACC Derek Hilton (series 1, 4)
- Elliot Rosen (series 1) and Tommy Jessop (series 5–6) as Terry Boyle
- Tomi May as Miroslav Minkowicz (series 1, 5)
- Gregory Piper as Ryan Pilkington (series 1), PC Ryan Pilkington (series 5–6)
- Owen Teale as Chief Inspector/Chief Constable Phillip Osbourne (series 1, 6)
- Tony Pitts as DCS Lester Hargreaves (series 2, 4, 5)
- Christina Chong as DS/DI Nicola Rogerson (series 2, 3, 6)
- Andrea Irvine as Roisin Hastings (series 2, 5)
- Maria Connolly as Alison Merchant, corrupt prison officer (series 2, 5, 6)
- Maya Sondhi as PC Maneet Bindra (series 3–5)
- Aiysha Hart as DS Sam Railston (series 3–6)
- Polly Walker as Gill Biggeloe, special counsel to the police and crime commissioner (series 3, 5)
- George Costigan as former CS Patrick Fairbank (series 3, 6)
- Patrick FitzSymons as DCI Mark Moffatt (series 4–5)
- Patrick Baladi as Jimmy Lakewell (series 4, 6)
- Anneika Rose as PC/PS Farida Jatri (series 4, 6)
- Ace Bhatti as PCC Rohan Sindwhani (series 5–6)
- Elizabeth Rider as DCC Andrea Wise (series 5–6)
- Amy De Bhrún as Steph Corbett (series 5–6)
- Rosa Escoda as Amanda Yao (series 5–6)
- Alastair Natkiel as Lee Banks (series 5–6)
- Gina McKee as Jackie Laverty
- Kate Ashfield as Jools Gates
- Heather Craney as DCI Alice Prior
- Lauren O'Rourke as Keely Pilkington
- Marie Critchley as Jane Hargreaves
- Alison Lintott as Rita Bennett
- Claire Keelan as DS Leah Janson
- Faraz Ayub as DC Deepak Kapoor
- Fiona Boylan as PC Karen Larkin
- Neet Mohan as PC Simon Bannerjee
- Darren Morfitt as Sergeant Colin Brackley
- Shaun Mason as Lee
- Mark Bonnar as DCC Mike Dryden
- Steve Toussaint as CS Mallick
- Sacha Dhawan as DS Manish Prasad
- Richard Huw as Nick Robson
- David Maybrick as Sergeant Alex Wallis
- Allison McKenzie as DS Jayne Akers
- Antonio Magro as PC Vincent Butler
- Niall Macgregor as Richard Akers
- Michael Nardone as Sergeant O'Neill
- Chetna Pandya as New Jo
- Henry Pettigrew as DC Jeremy Cole
- Jessica Raine as DC Georgia Trotman
- Charlotte Spencer as Carly Kirk
- Liz White as Jo Dwyer
- Rochenda Sandall as Lisa McQueen
- Taj Atwal as PC Tatleen Sohota
- Susan Vidler as Det Supt Alison Powell
- Sian Reese-Williams as Sergeant Jane Cafferty
- Richard Pepple as Sergeant Kyle Ferringham
- Maanuv Thiara as Vihaan Malhotra
- Laura Elphinstone as DI Michelle Brandyce
- Natalie Gavin as Sergeant Martina "Tina" Tranter
- Shalom Brune-Franklin as DC Chloë Bishop
- Perry Fitzpatrick as DS Chris Lomax
- Kwaku Fortune as DS Marks
- Sherise Blackman as PS Ruby Jones
- Tara Divina as PC Lisa Patel
- Andi Osho as Gail Vella
- Prasanna Puwanarajah as Nadaraja
- Sara Dylan as Boyle's solicitor
- Kerri McLean as Deborah Devereux
- James Nesbitt as Marcus Thurwell
- Steve Oram as the medical counsellor
|Series||Episodes||Originally aired||Average viewership|
(in millions)[note 1]
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||5||26 June 2012||24 July 2012||BBC Two||3.80|
|2||6||12 February 2014||19 March 2014||3.43|
|3||6||24 March 2016||28 April 2016||5.42|
|4||6||26 March 2017||30 April 2017||BBC One||9.55|
|5||6||31 March 2019||5 May 2019||12.85|
|6||7||21 March 2021||2 May 2021||15.39|
- Series 1-2 based on 7 day data. Series 3-5 based on 28 day data.
Line of Duty was created and written by Jed Mercurio drawing inspiration from the Metropolitan Police anti-corruption unit A10, which was set up in 1971. The first two series were produced by World Productions, on behalf of BBC Two. David Caffrey and Douglas Mackinnon directed series one. Mackinnon directed the first three episodes of series two and Daniel Nettheim directed the remaining three episodes. Mercurio produced series one and acted as executive producer for series two, with Peter Norris taking over as producer for the second series.
Although the police refused to co-operate with the programme's producers, the production team was advised anonymously by serving officers and retired police officers, and made use of anonymous police blogs.
Series one was filmed in Birmingham, including pub interiors in the Queen's Arms. The following five series were made in Northern Ireland. Although exact locations are never mentioned, maps of Birmingham appear on walls, and telephone numbers use an 0121 area code, again indicating Birmingham. The fictional 01632 phone code is also seen. Various postcodes seen on paper and screen have the Birmingham 'B' or Milton Keynes 'MK' prefix. The police forces referred to are the fictional Central Constabulary and the fictional East Midlands Constabulary. A photo gallery of exterior scenes from series two shows the 4th Street Station on Ormeau Avenue in Belfast. Many locations in Belfast have been used as filming locations; the offices of Invest Northern Ireland on Bedford Street depict the exterior of AC-12's headquarters.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2012||2012 Royal Television Society Awards||Actor (Male)||Lennie James||Nominated|
|Drama Series||Line of Duty 1||Nominated|
|Writer – Drama||Jed Mercurio||Nominated|
|2012 Royal Television Society Midlands Awards||Best Drama/Fictional Programme||Line of Duty 1||Won|
|Best Acting Performance (Male)||Lennie James||Won|
|Best Acting Newcomer||Gregory Piper||Won|
|2012 Crime Thriller Awards||The TV Dagger||Line of Duty 1||Nominated|
|2013||2013 Broadcast Awards||Best Drama Series or Serial||Nominated|
|2013 South Bank Sky Arts Awards||TV Drama||Nominated|
|Broadcasting Press Guild Awards||Best TV Drama||Nominated|
|2014||2014 Freesat Awards||Line of Duty 2||Won|
|2014 Crime Thriller Awards||The TV Dagger||Nominated|
|Best Actress Dagger||Keeley Hawes||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress Dagger||Vicky McClure||Nominated|
|BAFTA Scotland||Best Actor – Television||Mark Bonnar||Nominated|
|2014 Royal Television Society Craft & Design Awards||Best Editing – Drama||Andrew McClelland||Won|
|2015||Writers' Guild of Great Britain||TV Drama – Long Form||Jed Mercurio||Nominated|
|2015 Broadcast Awards||Best Drama Series or Serial||Line of Duty 2||Nominated|
|International Programme Sales||Nominated|
|Broadcasting Press Guild Awards||Best Drama Series||Nominated|
|Best Drama Writer||Jed Mercurio||Nominated|
|2015 Royal Television Society Awards||Best Drama Series||Line of Duty 2||Won|
|BAFTA Television Craft Awards||Writer – Drama||Jed Mercurio||Nominated|
|BAFTA Television Awards||Leading Actress||Keeley Hawes||Nominated|
|Supporting Actress||Vicky McClure||Nominated|
|Drama Series||Line of Duty 2||Nominated|
|2015 South Bank Sky Arts Awards||TV Drama||Nominated|
|Royal Television Society Northern Ireland Awards||Best Drama||Won|
|2016||TV Choice Awards||Best Drama Series||Line of Duty 3||Nominated|
|BAFTA Scotland||Best Director – Television||Michael Keillor||Nominated|
|Royal Television Society Northern Ireland||Best Drama||Line of Duty 3||Nominated|
|2017||Broadcast Awards||Best Drama Series or Serial||Nominated|
|Broadcasting Press Guild Awards||Best TV Drama Series||Nominated|
|Broadcasting Press Guild Awards||Best Actress||Keeley Hawes||Won|
|2017 Royal Television Society Awards||Drama Series||Line of Duty 3||Nominated|
|2017 Royal Television Society Awards||Writer – Drama||Jed Mercurio||Nominated|
|BAFTA Television Awards||Supporting Actor||Daniel Mays||Nominated|
|Virgin TV's Must-See Moment||Urgent Exit Required||Nominated|
|Celtic Media Festival||Best Drama Series||Line of Duty 3||Won|||
|Diversity in Media Awards||TV Programme of the Year||Nominated|
|TV Moment of the Year||Urgent Exit Required||Nominated|
|TV Moment of the Year||DCI Roz Huntley Interview||Nominated|
|TV Choice Awards||Best Drama||Line of Duty 4||Nominated|
|British Screenwriters' Awards||Best Crime Writing on Television||Jed Mercurio||Won|||
|Royal Television Society Northern Ireland||Best Drama||Line of Duty 4||Won|||
|2018||Writers' Guild of Great Britain||TV Drama – Long Form||Jed Mercurio||Nominated|
|National Television Awards||Crime Drama||Line of Duty 4||Nominated|
|Irish Film and Television Academy||Drama||Nominated|
|Actor in a Leading Role – Drama||Adrian Dunbar||Nominated|
|Broadcasting Press Guild Awards||Best Drama Series||Line of Duty 4||Won|||
|Best Actress||Thandie Newton||Nominated|||
|Writer's Award||Jed Mercurio||Won|||
|Royal Television Society||Actor (Female)||Thandie Newton||Nominated|
|Voice of the Listener & Viewer Awards for Excellence in Broadcasting||Best TV Drama Programme||Line of Duty 4||Won|||
|BAFTA Television Craft Awards||Editing: Fiction||Andrew McClelland||Nominated|||
|BAFTA Television Awards||Leading Actress||Thandie Newton||Nominated|||
|Supporting Actor||Adrian Dunbar||Nominated|||
|Drama Series||Line of Duty 4||Nominated|||
|Virgin TV's Must-See Moment||Huntley's Narrow Escape||Nominated|||
|Televisual Bulldog Awards||Best Drama Series||Line of Duty 4||Won|||
|South Bank Sky Arts Awards||TV Drama||Nominated|||
|Edinburgh TV Awards||Best UK Drama||Nominated|||
|2019||TV Choice Awards||Best Drama Series||Line of Duty 5||Won|||
|Best Actor||Adrian Dunbar||Won|
|Best Actress||Vicky McClure||Nominated|
|2020||National Television Awards||Drama||Line of Duty 5||Nominated|
|Irish Film and Television Academy||Actor in a Lead Role in Drama||Adrian Dunbar||Nominated|
|GQ Men of the Year Awards||Television Actor||Won|
|National Television Awards||Returning Drama||Line of Duty 6||Won|||
|Special Recognition Award||Won|
|Drama Performance||Martin Compston||Nominated|
|TV Choice Awards||Best Drama Series||Line of Duty 6||Won|||
|Best Actor||Martin Compston||Won|
|Best Actress||Vicky McClure||Won|
|British Academy Scotland Awards||Audience Award||Martin Compston||Nominated|||
|TV Times Awards||Favourite Drama||Line of Duty 6||Pending|||
|Favourite Actor||Martin Compston||Pending|
|Favourite Actress||Vicky McClure||Pending|
|Indicates a product not yet released|
DVD releases for Line of Duty:
|Name||Release dates||No. of episodes||Additional Information||Ref|
|Line of Duty: Series 1||26 June 2012||5||Two-disc box set including all five episodes from series one.|||
|Line of Duty: Series 2||12 February 2014||6||Two-disc box set including all six episodes from series two|||
|Line of Duty: Series 1 & 2||11||Four-disc box set including all 11 episodes from series one and two|||
|Line of Duty: Series 3||24 March 2016||6||Two-disc box set including all six episodes from series three|||
|Line of Duty: Series 4||8 May 2017||Two-disc box set including all six episodes from series four|||
|Line of Duty: Series 1–4||23||Eight-disc box set including all 23 episodes from series one to four|||
|Line of Duty: Series 5||6 May 2019||6||Two-disc box set including all six episodes from series five|||
|Line of Duty: Series 1–5||29||Ten-disc box set including all 29 episodes from series one to five|||
|Line of Duty: Series 6||31 May 2021||7||Two-disc box set including all seven episodes from series six|||
|Line of Duty: Series 1–6||36||Twelve-disc box set including all 36 episodes from series one to six|||
Blu-ray releases for Line of Duty:
|Name||Release dates||Ep #||Additional Information|
|Line of Duty: Series 1||10 April 2015||5||The two-disc box set includes all five episodes from series one, with a classification age of 16. |
Running time: 300 minutes.
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
|Line of Duty: Series 2||25 September 2015||6||The two-disc box set includes all six episodes from series two, with a classification age of 16. |
Running time: 369 minutes.
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
|Line of Duty: Series 3||20 January 2017||The two-disc box set includes all six episodes from series three, with a classification age of 16. |
Running time: 390 minutes.
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Line of Duty got a series six Blu-ray release.
Line of Duty series one to six will be released in a compilation Blu-ray box set.
In Australia, as of 2021, the first five series are available across streaming services such as Britbox, Netflix, Acorn TV and Stan, but series six is exclusive to Britbox.
In the United States, the first series was released on Hulu in August 2012, as an exclusive series, until Acorn TV picked up the streaming rights for its platform in 2018, which included the existing series and exclusive access to series five and later additions. The first three series began airing on AMC on 4 April 2020. However, licence changes in 2021 led to BritBox also obtaining the rights to the series in the United States, along with exclusive rights to series six and any future series. 
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