Line of Duty showrunner Jed Mercurio has spoken about Sunday night’s H reveal, and discussed why it was so important that Ian Buckells (Nigel Boyle) was the guilty man.
The last episode of series six saw Vicky McClure’s Kate Fleming, Martin Compston’s Steve Arnott and Adrian Dunbar’s Ted Hastings finally crack the case and unmask the rotten apple at the heart of corruption in the police service.
However, many viewers were left underwhelmed on Sunday night after the reveal. Piers Morgan was one of the disappointed ones, branding it ‘underwhelming’ and seemingly capturing the mood of fans.
Now, show creator Jed has spoken about why Ian – who has been a part of the show since series one – had to be the person responsible.
Speaking on the Obsessed With… Line of Duty on BBC Sounds podcast with former Dot Cottan actor Craig Parkinson, Jed discussed Ian’s character arc in series six.
‘I suppose it was really down to the decision to kind of hold him to account mid season. There were suspicions around him in the first few episodes, AC-12 get him in and they charge him, off he goes to prison and it feels like he’s done and dusted,’ Jed said.
He added: ‘And I think that if we kept him as part of the action all the way through, then it would have been very hard to misdirect the audience, so we were trying to present other candidates to take the kind of focus away from him, but it was always really important to me that it was someone who’d been in season one – someone who’d been there the whole time.’
The showrunner also referenced one telling scene at the end of series one, where Dot was granted permission to speak to OCG member Tommy Hunter in the back of a van by Ian.
Jed said: ‘It was really about the heritage of the series, going all the way back to season one, where Dot Cotton says, “Oh, can I just have a quick word” with Tommy Hunter in the back of the van.’
Although Ian ‘had to be H’ according to Jed, he also admitted that he thought about the possibility of making other characters such as Marcus Thurwell (James Nesbitt) the guilty party at one stage.
Jed said: ‘You know we did introduce some characters late. Thurwell came in late, we went back to Fairbank who appeared in season three, we had the Chief Constable, who had obviously been there since season one, but then I don’t think he would have been a satisfying candidate because he’d been absent for so long. It would feel like we just brought him back in to pin it on him.’
The Line Of Duty series six finale was watched by an average of 12.8million people in overnight viewing figures, making it the most-watched episode of a drama in 20 years, the BBC has said.
Further episodes have yet to be announced. However, the BBC’s chief content officer, however, has hinted at more Line Of Duty episodes in the future.
Line Of Duty is available to stream on catch-up on BBC iPlayer
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