OPINION: How will Line of Duty series 6 end?

by | Apr 29, 2021 | All, Opinions

Those who have been following my weekly Line of Duty reviews know that I’ve found this series to be a rollercoaster and not always in a positive. However, like everybody else, I am still intrigued to see how this series ends and what shocks Jed Mercurio has in store for Sunday’s finale. Ahead of me watching this weekend’s episode, I felt it was time to offer some wild predictions and theories about what I believe may happen in the final instalment. A quick disclaimer that this is wild speculation and I’m not expecting many of these to occur but if at least one does I’ll be feeling pretty smug come Sunday. 

Steve Dies 

Although this series has featured some shocking deaths, most notably that of Ryan Pilkington, there hasn’t been that big surprise that we’re used to Line of Duty delivering. I’ve had my suspicions that this may be Steve’s last series ever since that episode where he appeared to be filled with frustration and tired of being deceived by those around him. With the character also receiving threats of suspension and worrying that his painkiller addiction may be revealed, it appears that Steve’s days with the police may be numbered. Therefore, I think this is the time for him to go out in a blaze of glory, especially if he puts himself in the line of fire by protecting either Ted or Kate. Although it will change the shape of the show should there be a seventh series, I think this moment could provide some much-needed poignancy to a series that I think has lacked emotional depth for the most part. 

Kate didn’t kill Ryan 

I think we’re all under the assumption that with Davidson taking the wrap for Ryan’s murder and Carmichael insinuating that she knows Kate was the culprit then she definitely did it. But there must be a reason we didn’t see the aftermath of the episode five cliffhanger on screen and rather had AC-12 arrive to find Ryan’s corpse. Kate’s line about being in the frame for Ryan’s murder indicates that there’s more to PC Pilkington’s demise than we believe. My theory is that there may have been another shooter with OCG links who felt Ryan was worth more dead than alive and could possibly use his death to their advantage. Although it’s more than possible that Kate is the killer, I’m always of the belief that until we get proof of something happening on screen then we don’t know that it actually occurred. 

Thurwell is Alive 

I mentioned this in my review of the penultimate episode, but I just don’t believe that Line of Duty used a photo of James Nesbitt just to mislead the audience that Marcus Thurwell would be a main player in the drama. Despite this being a brilliant misdirect on Jed Mercurio’s part, I just don’t buy it and I think that many people online felt that one of the Spanish officers who found Thurwell’s body was Thurwell himself. Whilst my initial theory was the Nesbitt would be brought in as the big guest star for the final two episodes of series six, it makes more series for him to be the key antagonist in series seven. I have a feeling that one of the final shots in this episode after the metaphorical dust has cleared will be the reveal of Thurwell’s existence and an indication that we’ll be seeing him soon. 

Steph has OCG links 

John Corbett’s widow Steph has faded in the background after being a prominent presence during the earlier episodes of this series. The characters’ purpose appeared to be to drive a wedge between Steve and Ted with the former believing the latter has given Steph money due to his guilt in revealing to the OCG that John was an undercover cop. However, my theory is that this is a big ruse and that Steph’s ill-gotten gains are being provided by the OCG rather than by ‘The Gaffer’. What I’m unsure about is whether Steph was working with the OCG prior to John’s death or if she started on their payroll following her husband’s murder. I feel that Lee Banks revealing to Steve that Ted told him of John’s identity was also part of this plan and the fact that Steph knows about Steve’s addiction is also vital information that could be used to manipulate him. Although I’m not sure where Steph fits into the bigger puzzle of the series, I feel that the character’s involvement in this series has to be more than just to be Steve’s latest conquest. 

Osbourne isn’t this Series’ Big Bad. 

The conclusion of episode six saw Ted bemoan the lack of progress in uncovering ongoing police corruption whilst a press conference with Chief Constable Philip Osbourne played in the background. Not see since series one, where he was Steve’s commanding officer, Osbourne’s presence in this episode has been mainly off screen only being shown during press conferences or interviews with the late Gail Vella. Osbourne has been mainly used as the silent antagonist by decrying the politicising of the police, merging the AC units and supplanting Carmichael into AC-12. However, I personally believe that the belief that he is corrupt is another misdirect and I don’t think that reveal of Osbourne as the man who has been pulling the strings will be that satisfying. Though I’ve no doubt that Osbourne feels the anti-corruption teams are a waste of resources, this doesn’t necessarily means that he is a bent copper and I would personally be disappointed if the reveal of his villainy is series six’s big reveal. 

There’s Something about Chloe 

In all my reviews for this series, I’ve bemoaned the fact that AC-12’s new recruit Chloe hasn’t been given a great amount to do other than dump dollops of expository dialogue when needed. The nearest thing we’ve had to any character from her was her reaction to the Lawrence Christopher case, especially on how the late architect was treated by custody officers. I don’t believe that Mercurio would introduce a new character into the fold without their being something else in her background. Although I don’t feel she’ll be revealed to be in league with the OCG, I’ve had my suspicions for some time that Chloe has a bigger part to play than we realise. I’ve seen one theory that she’s Tony Gates’s daughter, however I don’t think this would work as the character was of primary school age in series one so at the very most would be in her early twenties now. Whatever Chloe’s background is, I hope its revealed in this episode as I believe that Shalom Brune Franklin has been woefully under utilised in this series and deserves more than she has been given. 

The Identity of the Fourth Man isn’t revealed

This is my boldest prediction of the bunch, as everybody is of the belief that this week’s finale will conclude with the reveal of the fourth person in the ‘H’ conspiracy. Whilst this belief would make sense, given that the last three series have all ended with the reveal of a corrupt character, I think that this story will be dragged on into the inevitable next series. If this does happen, I think most of the audience will be annoyed as they’re expecting that to be the destination of this series, I think that that reveal would mean that any future Line of Duty series would have to start afresh with a new enquiry. Though I don’t know what this Sunday’s big reveal will be, I have my suspicions that the episode will end without the fourth man’s identity coming to light. 

To find out if any of these predictions are correct, then tune into Line of Duty on Sunday night before coming to the site directly afterwards to read my review of the finale.  

Matt Donnelly

Matt Donnelly


Made in Staffordshire, Matt is the co-editor of the site and co-host of The Custard TV Podcast. Matt has been writing about TV for over fifteen years and has written for the site for almost a decade. He's just realised this makes him a lot older than he thought he was.


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