If there’s something that set Line Of Duty apart right from the off, it’s the writing. The BBC’s mega-hit crime drama is written in its entirety by creator and showrunner Jed Mercurio – and its blend of dense acronym-heavy police-speak, ridiculously tense extended interrogation sequences, and immaculately-unfolding twist-heavy plots gives it one of the most distinctive identities in the crowded cop-drama genre. If its uncompromising dialogue initially made Line Of Duty a cult favourite on BBC Two, word-of-mouth around its gripping rug-pulls saw it bloom into one of the biggest shows on TV – and the brand new Series 6 finds Mercurio’s scripts at peak-performance, star Martin Compston tells Empire.
In a major new roundtable interview in the latest issue, Mercurio gathered his Line Of Duty cast members to talk the show’s success – and Compston, who plays AC-12’s Steve Arnott, hailed the upcoming episodes as the “perfect combo” of the show’s ability to pull off twisty tension and major spectacle. “It’s interesting because Series 3 was [for many of us] our favourite series,” he says. “It just seemed like the perfect amalgamation of the storyline building, the action, Danny [Mays] coming in. But I feel like now with Series 6 it’s sort of a perfect combo. Where a lot of the drama is in these back-stabbing moments in back alleys and you don’t know who to trust, and then there are a couple of these huge action sequences thrown in. So I’m really excited to see it all put together, because we go to another level again.”
While Line Of Duty has shape-shifted over its run – with major characters dropping in and dropping out at the drop of a (crooked copper’s) hat – Compston teased Series 6 as the culmination of an arc that’s been running through the last couple of series – with explosive results. “I think there’s a run of three episodes in this series that are the best Jed’s ever written,” he promises. “They are just astounding. It feels like Series 3 was the culmination of those first three series, and now 6 feels like 4, 5 and 6 have come together and we’re building to this big, big conclusion.”
Read Empire’s full Line Of Duty roundtable interview in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier issue, on sale now and available to order online here. Line Of Duty Series 6 airs on BBC One on Sundays.