If you’re hooked on Line of Duty, you’ll be thrilled to know that a sixth season is on its way.
The hit British police drama was re-commissioned for a fifth and sixth season at the end of season four back in 2017.
BBC director-general Tony Hall said at the time: “I am very excited to say there’s not one but two more series of Line of Duty. So hooray for AC-12!"
Line of Duty is the UK's most-watched show of the year to date, with 7.8 million viewers tuning in to watch the drama of the series 5 premiere unfold.
Here’s everything we know about Line of Duty season 6 on BBC One so far, including whether the anti-corruption squad will continue after that...
***SPOILERS for series 1-5 ahead***
Catch up on Line of Duty seasons 1-5 now - it’s available to stream on BBC iPlayer, under the Players & Apps tab on BT TV.
When is Line of Duty series 6 released?
A release date for Line of Duty series 6 has not been announced as the series has not been filmed yet. Filming is confirmed to take place in 2020.
Asked about the series 6 air date by RadioTimes.com, the show's creator Jed Mercurio said: “I would hope it’s sometime in 2020, next year. But that’s not something that we’re able to confirm.”
Promoting season 5, the main cast members told BT TV and other journalists that filming usually happens towards the end of the year.
Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott) and Vicky McClure (DI Kate Fleming), both above on set, alluded to the fact that filming generally ends before Christmas.
But if series 6 is still in the planning stage, it doesn't look like filming will take place at the end of 2019.
All five previous seasons - except for series one - have consisted of six one-hour episodes on BBC One, so we reckon series 6 will be the same.
Fingers crossed for another 90-minute finale episode too, especially if it’s the last ever episode - more on that below.
Who’s in the cast?
It's been confirmed that the three main three cast members are returning for series 6. That’s Vicky McClure (DI Kate Fleming), Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott) and Adrian Dunbar (Superintendent Ted Hastings), below.
However whether they’ll survive for the whole series remains to be seen, as the show’s creator and writer Jed Mercurio has a habit of killing off the show’s main characters.
As for the rest of the cast, we’ll update this article with more information when we have it - although we'd be amazed if Anna Maxwell Martin wasn't back to show us more about who Detective Chief Superintendent Patricia Carmichael really is.
In November 2019, it was confirmed that Kelly Macdonald will star as guest lead in the next series of the show.
🚨 Kelly Macdonald will star as guest lead in the next series of #LineOfDuty. 🚨 She's playing Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson, the senior investigating officer of an unsolved murder, whose unconventional conduct raises suspicions at AC-12. pic.twitter.com/nG99KaCppl— BBC One (@BBCOne) November 19, 2019
Asked by BT TV whether he'd be up for appearing in Line of Duty - whose lengthy interrogation scenes are very similar to the episodes of Criminal - Pinnock told us: "Oh absolutely, yeah! I’ve been watching it since the very first series came out. I think I’ve only missed one season, which is the latest one, so I’ll definitely, definitely catch up.
"If the right part came along and I was available to do it, it’s definitely a franchise I’d consider doing, considering my lack of not wanting to do much television anymore. We’ll see, but I wouldn’t flatly turn it down, let’s put it that’s way! It’s a great show."
What will happen in series 6?
Season 5 of Line of Duty was set up around answering one of telly’s most burning questions: Who is the corrupt police officer, known as H?
By the finale, we'd discovered that H was not one person, but was actually made up of four Caddies, signalled by original Caddy DI Matthew "Dot" Cottan who the team noticed had been tapping out the Morse Code for H - four dots - in his dying declaration.
We know that ACC Derek Hilton was the second, and series 5 named legal counsel Gill Biggeloe as the third, so we're expecting to see AC-12 searching for the fourth and final corrupt official in series 6.
Hastings is still a strong possibility despite being framed by Biggeloe in series 5, and AC-3's DCS Patricia Carmichael who was investigating him also looks decidedly dodgy.
Meanwhile, OCG member Ryan's success in getting into police college will surely be followed up as he becomes the force's newest corrupt officer.
There are still many loose ends to be tied up, and it’s believed that main scriptwriter Jed Mercurio - below right with the cast - already knows what’s going to happen in series 6.
Speaking to journalists including BT TV to promote the fifth series, Martin Compston hinted that storylines would be further developed - and potentially come to a conclusion - in series 6.
He says: “The BBC have been really good to us. Ever since series 2, we’ve been commissioned for two at a time... because Jed has been very adamant that he’s going to be the one that finishes it, so if he doesn’t know if we’ll get a series 7 or 8, then he will [finish it].
“His thing is he has to give the pay-off to the audience, who have stuck with us all these years. It gives him the breathing space to go ‘I can develop this over next series, because I know we’re going to be there’, so that’s been great.”
Adrian Dunbar, who’s played the gaffer alongside Compston for five seasons, agrees that Mercurio knows what’s going to happen in the story beyond what's been on TV.
He tells us: “I think he does [know where it’s going to go]. He’s mapped it out roughly. I think initially he had mapped out roughly up to series 5, but then I suppose, because it took off the way it did, he’s thought beyond that now, and he’s still thinking beyond that.
“But he’s still managing to hold onto our initial audience, and give them all these pay-offs of sticking with the original arc. The original arc still keeps going.”
The full plot for season 6 has not yet been announced, but we'll update this article with more information when we have it.
Will there be a series 7?
Line of Duty has only been commissioned up to season 6, with its creator Jed Mercurio telling journalists that the show has ‘a life span’. Does this mean that the next series will be its last?
Asked how long Line of Duty can go on for, Mercurio said at a press screening for the show: “I don’t know. We all love making the show. I think a lot depends on how people respond to it.
“I think that it’s great that people get very excited about it, when they get to the end of the series and they talk about what they want to know, and what they want to see next.
“But I think we recognise that it’s got a life span, so I think we’ve got to calibrate that against the audience responses.
“I have some thoughts [about how it’s all going to end].”
Is there a trailer?
There isn’t currently a trailer for season 6, as the series has not been filmed yet so there is no footage. That doesn’t mean you can’t get excited for the new season though - there’s plenty of time to go back and re-watch series 1-5 of Line of Duty.
Watch Line of Duty if you liked…
Bodyguard (above), Save Me, Undercover, Luther, Marcella, Unforgotten.
Catch up on Line of Duty series 1-5 now - it’s available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
BT TV customers can find the BBC iPlayer app under the Players & Apps tab on their TV box.
Images: BBC One / Vicky McClure Instagram