AFTER seven action-packed weeks, Line of Duty is about to reach a spectacular finale – and its central star, Martin Compston, has dropped a hint it could mark the end of the cop thriller.
The last episode of this series, which airs on Sunday, could reveal the identity of the arch criminal, code-named H.
And 36-year-old Martin, who plays DI Steve Arnott, has suggested it might just provide the “perfect ending” to the entire show.
He said: “I think there are a lot of pay-offs coming.
“There are a lot of big answers and I also think it is sort of deserved.
“People have stuck with us for such a long time and I think there comes a point where the natural story arc that has been running all these years is coming to an end.”
Asked if creator Jed Mercurio is making a seventh series, he told the Shrine Of Duty podcast: “The genuine answer is we don’t know, but that’s nothing different for us.
“Jed always takes a couple of months off after a series because there’s a lot of stuff that’s way beyond my pay grade — the data, figures, the analytics, audience scores.
“I think he likes to take the emotion out of it and sit down and look at all that. But there are different elements this year because usually we are looking at just in terms of, ‘Do people want us back?’.
“You don’t want to overdo it but there’s also, when you get ten years in, you start to think of legacy.
“If it goes down that well in some ways then it might be the perfect ending.”
The previous episode of the BBC1 drama saw DI Kate Fleming, played by Vicky McClure, 37, and Acting Chief Supt Jo Davidson, played Kelly Macdonald, 45, arrested over the shooting of bent copper PC Ryan Pilkington after a stand-off.
Jo was grilled by anti-corruption officers from AC-12 in one of the show’s famous interrogation scenes and raised suspicion with her constant answers of “no comment”.
The action is building up to reveal the name of criminal mastermind H.
He is the fourth man of an organised crime group that includes corrupt top cops within Central Police.
So far viewers have learned Matthew “Dot” Cottan, Derek Hilton and Gill Biggeloe are the other three bent figures within the force.
The main suspects in the firing line are Jo, Supt Ted Hastings, DCS Patricia Carmichael, CC Philip Osborne, DCI Marcus Thurwell and Det Supt Ian Buckells.
Will we finally find out who the fourth person is, then?
In a separate chat which airs on tomorrow night’s The Jonathan Ross Show on ITV, Martin said: “We won’t come back just for the sake of it. That’s for sure. We’ll come back if there’s a story to tell.
“If it ends well maybe sometimes it is best to leave it. But genuinely we don’t know.”
Sunday’s episode is set to be the series’ most-watched show ever, with 11.2million people tuning in last week.
As the show has grown in popularity, so have the three main actors Vicky, Martin and Adrian Dunbar, 62, who plays Ted Hastings.
The two married men have become sex symbols — with Martin receiving his fair share of unwanted saucy messages.
He said: “The Instagram DMs get a bit out of hand. A lot of stuff I wish I hadn’t seen.
“I need to stop looking at them. A lot of marriage proposals and a lot of proposals of other stuff — from both sexes, I must say.”
Martin, who married American actress Tianna Chanel Flynn in 2016 and lives in Las Vegas with her, has seen his dreamboat status rocket thanks to his smart on-screen outfits.
The actor, born in Greenock, Inverclyde, dons three-piece suits with the look quickly becoming a fans’ favourite as well as a hit with ladies.
On his outfit, Martin said: “It was me who decided it. Jed had an idea in the first series that he wanted layers that Steve could look a bit different in so in the second series there was a couple of different thoughts in my head.
“Steve sees himself as Sherlock Holmes — he thinks he’s a super detective. But also he’s the overdressed w****r at work. He’s the guy in the call centre with a headset on with the waistcoat, having all the office affairs and nobody can understand why.
“Like, how is he pulling all these birds? Cause there’s just that wee arrogant thing about him that he just thinks he’s a wee bit better.”
DI Arnott has gone through hell in the previous two series, first suffering from the agony of being severely injured in a clash with criminals, then getting addicted to painkillers as a result.
There’s a great line this year and it’s kind of aimed in a broader sense, ‘A bare-faced liar promoted to our highest office’. Read into that what you will in our current climate.
But Martin wouldn’t have it any other way.
He said: “I love playing him and he’s a joy to play. He is an arrogant so-and-so but he really cares about his job.
“That is something Jed really drives home to us with everything going on. There’s a great line this year and it’s kind of aimed in a broader sense, ‘A bare-faced liar promoted to our highest office’.
“Read into that what you will in our current climate. His thing is always like AC-12 are what stands against corruption — and never forget that.”
After working alongside each other for so long, the three main stars and Jed have formed a friendship.
They are stuck together while filming the series in Belfast — and they were forced even closer last year as the production adopted coronavirus restrictions including bubbles to shoot during the pandemic.
Unfortunately, their camaraderie can disrupt very serious and intense scenes with some of the cast bursting into laughter at inappropriate times.
Martin said: “These big interview scenes, the tensions in them are unreal.
“Not just so much in the scene itself, which is obviously filled with tension, but just going, ‘Can we do this? It’s 30 minutes long and can we get through it and can we get through it well?’.
“There’s usually a time, probably about day two after lunch, when your mind has just gone. You are on autopilot and you know the giggles are ready to happen because the finish line is in sight and it just takes something to go.
“Adrian had bit of a brain freeze but animal-themed. There’s a bit where he’s on a rant at Kelly and he is meant to say, ‘A bunch of racist thugs,’ but he says, ‘A bunch of racist slugs,’ and, ‘There was a mountain of evidence,’ and he said, ‘There’s a mountain of elephants coming at you’.
“We were just like, ‘What is going on?’. Everybody is averting each other’s eyes and grabbing and pinching your thigh under the table not to laugh. Then, I think, it was the slugs one and everybody just lost it.
“It’s because you are so against the time as well. You don’t want to be the one.”
He added: “That’s the problem with the giggles. People think they are really self-indulgent but they are horrible. Once you start there is no way back.”
For fans, the show is no laughing matter — and millions will be tuning in to find out if it really is the end.
- The latest series of Line Of Duty concludes on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday.
Six ways the epic series may finish
Line Of Duty star Martin Compston seems to be hinting this Sunday’s show could deliver the perfect ending, but what would that look like?
ROD McPHEE considers endings that could leave fans of the police thriller completely satisfied – or perfectly tantalised and begging for more . . .
CHIEF Constable Philip Osborne is H, the bent copper who’s corrupted Central Police at the bidding of armed criminals. DI Arnott and DI Fleming earn commendations, while Jo Davidson enters witness protection and gets the normal life she’s been denied.
ONE of the three AC-12 heroes perishes – in the line of duty. DI Fleming is torn between loyalty to AC-12 and her latest boss, Acting Det Supt Jo Davidson and gets caught in the crossfire.
DET Chief Supt Patricia Carmichael gets her comeuppance. She is revealed as H – or at least his right hand woman – and has been tampering with crucial evidence to try to knobble her nemesis Ted Hastings. Her grim smile goes as she is thrown out of the force as a result.
DETETTIVE Constable Chloe Bishop is finally revealed as the daughter of Detective Chief Inspector Tony Gates, the cop who had his life ruined by criminals in series one. The hard-working and under-rated Chloe becomes central to a dramatic final storyline as she reaps her revenge on the mobsters, and the show comes full circle.
DI Arnott is angry and vents his spleen by killing off H and taking revenge on a number of the other mobsters who left him crippled and addicted to painkillers. The normally upright copper turns to wholly illegal methods to crush the entire organised crime gang – and gets away with it scot-free.
We’d love Ted NOT to be the villain of the piece, as has been suggested this series. Instead he’d be reunited with his wife and have all his money problems solved by a nice pay-off by the police force. After all, given the information he has he could get a much deserved golden goodbye just to keep it all quiet.
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