Line of Duty season 6: release date and cast for the next series of the Martin Compston-starring police drama

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Fans of the BBC’s hit police drama, Line of Duty, will be delighted to discover that the show could be returning sooner than expected.

The explosive season five finale left things up in the air, with the members of Anti-Corruption Unit 12 struggling to expose the traitor in their midst.

There will be old friends and new enemies in season six. Picture: BBC

There will be old friends and new enemies in season six. Picture: BBC

Season 6 has plenty of new twists and turns in store, with a brand new nemesis played by another huge star.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new season.

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What happened in season 5?

Stephen Graham served as last season's guest star. Picture: BBC

Stephen Graham served as last season's guest star. Picture: BBC

Line of Duty’s fifth season revolved around undercover officer John Corbett and his attempts to smoke out the corrupt cop lurking within the Organised Crime Group – an individual known only as “H”.

He believes Ted Hastings to be the culprit and works tirelessly to prove his guilt, until the OCG somehow discovered Corbett’s true identity and slit his throat.

The OCG-linked lawyer Gill Biggeloe then tries unsuccessfully to frame Hastings for the whole affair, with the series ending in a state of confusion as to who leaked Corbett’s true identity and who this mysterious “H” really was.

Who stars in the new season?

Kelly Macdonald will provide AC-12 with a fierce new adversary. Picture: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Kelly Macdonald will provide AC-12 with a fierce new adversary. Picture: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

All of the main cast are expected to return, including the full AC-12 crew – Martin Compston as DS Steve Arnott, Adrian Dunbar as Supt Ted Hastings, and Vicky McClure as DI Kate Fleming.

It is still unknown whether the likes of Taj Atwal (PC Tatleen Sohota) and Aiysha Hart (DS Sam Railston) will be back for the new season.

One of the main sources of excitement heading into each new season of Line of Duty is finding out who the new guest star will be.

The previous season centred around The Irishman’s Stephen Graham, while BAFTA-winning star Thandie Newton showed up in the season before.

The guest lead for season six will be none other than Scottish megastar Kelly Macdonald.

After famously making her breakthrough in the grimy Irvine Welsh adaptation, Trainspotting, Macdonald has gone on to star in major series like Boardwalk Empire and an eclectic range of hit films, including Gosford Park, Harry Potter, Brave and No Country For Old Men.

More recently, she has starred in TV dramas like The Victim and Giri/Haji.

In Line of Duty, Mcdonald will play DCI Joanne Davidson, a senior officer known for her unconventional way of going about business, tasked with leading up a murder case in the new series.

The show’s creator, Jed Mercurio has said that “We’re honoured that Kelly Macdonald will join Martin, Vicky and Adrian in series six of Line Of Duty. DCI Joanne Davidson will prove the most enigmatic adversary AC-12 have ever faced.”

Martin Compston also described Macdonald as a “magnificent addition to the Line of Duty team”.

When will season 6 be released?

It was initially expected that the new season wouldn’t be arriving until 2021 as the BBC has typically left a two-year gap between seasons.

However, at the end of 2019, Mercurio told the Radio Times “I would hope it’s sometime in 2020” and the BBC later confirmed that filming would at least begin that year.

The cast then met up in February 2020 for a read-through of the season six script, which many have taken as an indication that it will be returning sooner than anticipated.

Line of Duty featured in a trailer released by the BBC for shows arriving in 2020, so it seems safe for fans to start getting their hopes up: Line of Duty season 6 will likely air some time before the year is out.