The tiny donkey, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph – We can’t stop wondering about AC-12 and whether they’ll be back doing what they do best: finding bent coppers, even though it’s been over a month since the Line of Duty season six finale aired.
Hastings, Arnott, and Fleming, the anti-corruption trio, ultimately uncovered the identity of H in the latest season on BBC One, with DC Chlo Bishop realising it was Ian Buckells (Nigel Boyle) all along.
However, based on Adrian Dunbar’s recent statements, the ‘H’ drama may not be totally resolved just yet.
Does this imply that the BBC drama will return for series seven? The Line of Duty star recently told Tom Allen on the BAFTA TV red carpet that “there may be a way to go” with the Fourth Man narrative – does this imply the BBC drama will return for series seven?
We’ve looked into all of the hints, remarks, and indications about the future of Line of Duty.
Here’s all we know about Season 7 of Line of Duty.
Season 7 release date: when is Line of Duty back?
Season seven has yet to be confirmed, but if it is, we’ll most likely have to wait a while.
Line of Duty’s previous seasons broadcast in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2021 (due to a pandemic-related filming delay). The drama normally airs in March and April, although there is no regulation that says it can’t air at any other time.
It’s still possible that Mercurio will finish writing and filming the second season in time for a 2022 premiere, but we believe it’s more likely that Line of Duty will return in spring 2023.
Martin Compston recently told ES Magazine that not working with his Line of Duty co-stars again would be a disgrace, but that they all need a break first: “The idea that I would never work with all the men again would be devastating.” But, given all that has happened this week, I believe that everyone, including the audience, requires some time away from it. As a result, we’ll see.”
Will Line of Duty return for season 7?
The bottom line is that we don’t yet have a definitive answer to this topic.
Line of Duty producer Jed Mercurio was circumspect about discussing the future of his smash drama in the run-up to the season six debut, telling Radio Times that the chance of a continuation was unknown.
He explained, “We’re in a situation where it’s not totally apparent whether there will be the seventh series.”
“It’s something we’re hoping for.
But, as a result of COVID and a slew of other events, we’re having to plan around the fact that none of these things are assured at this point.
“A lot of it rests on the core creatives – me and the primary actors – coming up with new storylines to tell within that universe,” he continued.
When asked about his prior claim that he insisted on being commissioned two series ahead of schedule in order to avoid cancellation, he said, “I haven’t necessarily been faithful to that.”
“Line of Duty may have achieved ‘the Chandrasekhar Limit,’ where a mass falls under its own gravitational force,” he continued.
It may not be the response that fans had hoped for, but it does leave the door open for more episodes in the future — and the cast seemed to be on board with the notion.
Since working together on Line of Duty, main characters Martin Compston (Steve Arnott), Vicky McClure (Kate Fleming), and Adrian Dunbar (Ted Hastings) have become firm friends, which made the social limitations required when filming during a pandemic somewhat stressful for them.
Dunbar told unthinkable.fm and other outlets, “We’ve had to do another series.”
“We have to get on Jed and say, ‘Look, we have to do something different than when we were in lockdown.’
We need to make one where we’re back on the ground, out there, in the city, having a good time.’
Belfast, as you know, is a fantastic place to have a good time, so we’d like to get back to doing that.”
On the BAFTA TV red carpet, he informed Tom Allen that he’s still open for another series, saying, “I’m not sure about that, if we’ll see another season.”
“I’m sure everyone wants one, and we surely do.”
Co-star Martin Compston reiterated this idea, adding that the series may still go on even now that the ‘H’ riddle has been answered.
He remarked, “I think there’s always potential for it to carry on with Jed.”
“He could always start a fresh case, as he would say, there’s always anti-corruption out there.”
In addition, Gareth Bryn, a director who worked on two episodes in season six, tweeted in response to the announcement of the record-breaking viewing figures, “Shocking!” Only 11 million people watched #LineofDuty?
That’s quite embarrassing! What about the 50 million people who aren’t watching?
I suppose it’s good to have a goal for @jed mercurio to shoot for when he starts series 7!”
But in an interview with Den of Geek, Mercurio said it was “too soon” to say whether the season six finale was the last-ever episode or not.
Will the BBC renew Line of Duty?
We know the BBC is open to another series, which is unsurprising given season 6’s record numbers.
“Addictive event television, Line of Duty has kept the nation guessing for the last seven weeks, so it’s no wonder that last night’s jaw-dropping climax hit a ratings record,” said BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore.
“Jed Mercurio is a true master of his trade, and I want to congratulate him and the rest of the cast and crew for a fantastic drama series.
I’m looking forward to talking with the team about where we should go next and what the series’ future might be.”
When asked for an update on season seven, BBC Drama commissioner Piers Wenger simply replied, “No comment” – a line that fans of the programme are accustomed with.
Line of Duty season 7 cast
Thankfully, the AC-12 trio survived season six without dying, so we’re hoping for a return of Martin Compston (DI Steve Arnott), Adrian Dunbar (Superintendent Ted Hastings), and Vicky McClure in season seven (DI Kate Fleming).
AC-12’s hardest-working new recruit DC Chloe Bishop (Shalom Brune-Franklin) is also likely to return, though nothing is definite with the city’s anti-corruption divisions undergoing a merger).
And Anna Maxwell Martin as DCS Patricia Carmichael would almost certainly return, despite the actress emphasized in an interview with Grazia that she had no insider information on whether she – or the program itself – will return: “I wouldn’t know…
I’m not part of the in-crowd there, and I’m not sure they even know.’
But what about the next guest star on Line of Duty?
Lennie James, Keeley Hawes, Daniel Mays, Thandiwe Newton, Stephen Graham, and Kelly Macdonald have all appeared as guest stars on the show so far.
Only Hawes has starred in more than one series of Line of Duty out of this star-studded cast.
Jo Davidson, played by Kelly Macdonald, might be able to do the same, having survived the sixth season – although that seems dubious, given that her storey concluded with her in witness protection (with a lover, a cottage, and a golden retriever – lucky).
Season seven will almost certainly be led by another renowned TV actor, but we’ll have to wait and see.
What will happen next in season 7? Theories and predictions
It’s difficult to predict what might happen in a seventh series, but now that the mystery of who is ‘H’ has been solved, Line of Duty will have to go in new directions if it is to be renewed for another season – though we’re confident that Mercurio will have plenty of ideas if he does want to keep things going.
The season 6 finale did, as many fans had hoped, provide closure to the case that has plagued AC-12 for years — the identity of ‘H’ or ‘The Fourth Man.’
With Ian Buckells being revealed, we’ve come to the end of a plotline that’s been running from the beginning of the drama, as evidenced by Ted’s evidence wall being pulled down at the close of the episode, replete with mugshots of characters from the first season.
While there’s no reason why AC-12 couldn’t return with a fresh case, it would undoubtedly push the programme forward.
Buckells’ reveal as the Big Bad appears to be an inevitable conclusion in many respects.
However, Line of Duty star Adrian Dunbar recently hinted that the H plot may not be completely resolved, telling Tom Allen on the BAFTA TV red carpet: “There may be a way to go with all of that.”
“We haven’t figured it out yet, have we?”
There have been rumours.
“Who knows?” says the speaker.
Aside from the H of it all, there are concerns about AC-12’s future: despite the successful operation, Chief Constable Osborne continues to dismantle the force’s anti-corruption units, and the closing credits reveal that he is putting those close to him in key positions of power, including Patricia Carmichael.
While this could indicate that things are coming to an end, it may also signal the start of an exciting seventh season, which might follow Steve, Kate, and the (presumably restored) Ted as they strive to reclaim control of the unit.
There would undoubtedly be more forces than ever before preventing them from arresting bent coppers.
And though they may have found their top man, there’s no doubt that there are still a few rotten apples to pick out…
Mercurio appears willing to delve more into Chief Constable Philip Osborne (Owen Teale), who many fans believe is the most senior twisted copper of them all.
“I think that if there is more Line of Duty, then certainly there is promise there,” the showrunner told Den of Geek.
He is a high-ranking official who is an utter liar and has a history of corruption, as evidenced by the Karim Ali and Lawrence Christopher cases.
“Obviously, there is potential there if we wanted to look into it, but it’s too early to say if we would.”
Do you want to know more about the season six finale?
We have plenty – read our Line of Duty ending explanation, look at the unsolved Line of Duty questions, or look at all of the Line of Duty red herrings that teased and mislead the finale resolution.