Thandie Newton joins the cast of Line of Duty as AC-12’s “most devious opponent yet”

Jason Watkins, Lee Ingleby and Royce Pierreson also sign up alongside the hit show’s regulars Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar

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British star Thandie Newton will play the part of the lead antagonist in the fourth series of Jed Mercurio’s hit police corruption drama Line Of Duty when it moves to BBC1 next year.

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The Mission Impossible II and Crash star will play DCI Roz Huntley, a copper who is investigated by the AC-12 officers portrayed by Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar.

The key antagonist role was played in previous series by Lennie James, Keeley Hawes and Daniel Mays, though Huntley will prove AC-12’s “most devious opponent yet”, according to the BBC.

Hiring Newton, who played Nyah Nordoff-Hall opposite Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible II and Christine in Paul Haggis’s hit 2004 film Crash, is a coup even for a series as successful as Line of Duty.

Jason Watkins, Lee Ingleby and Royce Pierreson are also confirmed for the new run.

The drama will begin with Roz and her team in the thick of a career-defining case, Operation Trapdoor.

Under intense pressure to catch the culprit and prove herself to her superiors – and facing conflict with her colleague, Forensic Coordinator Tim Ifield, played by Jason Watkins (Love Nina, The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies) – her handling of the investigation is probed by AC-12.

A mother of two and wife to husband Nick, played be Lee Ingleby (The A Word, Our Zoo), “Roz will do anything to stop her life unraveling” according to the production team.

PC Maneet Bindra (Maya Sondhi) and newcomer Detective Constable Jamie Desford (Royce Pierreson) will also feature in the show which begins filming in Belfast next month.

Speaking about the role, Thandie Newton said: “I watched the last three seasons of Line of Duty with breathless admiration for its creators, both behind and in front of the camera. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining them now.”

Vicky McClure, who plays tenacious DS Kate Fleming, added: “Such exciting news to have Thandie on board. I’m really looking forward to working with her and getting back to Belfast with the team.” 

Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott in Line of Duty) said: “I’m delighted to be heading back to Belfast with the rest of the AC-12 cast and I’m looking forward to once again trying to do justice to the fantastic scripts Jed Mercurio has written. It’s a testament to how well Line of Duty has done last few years that we can attract someone of Thandie Newton’s calibre to the show. It’s great to have her on board.”

Creator, writer and executive producer Jed Mercurio added that he was “looking forward to tormenting the nation with ever more diabolical plot twists”.

The award-winning series moved to BBC1 after its huge success since launching on BBC2 in 2012. This third series was the highest-rating BBC2 drama series ever since the current measuring system began in 2002, with a series-consolidated average of 5.1 million viewers. The breathtaking 90-minute finale consolidated at 5.6 million.

In addition, Moore announced at today’s Edinburgh Television Festival that Mercurio and the Line of Duty team have been commissioned to make a six part series about the police’s Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch (RaSP) of London’s Metropolitan Police Service for BBC1.

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The drama, Bodyguard, tells a fictional story following a team of RaSP officers whose duties involve protecting royals, politicians and diplomats. The team is led by a Specialist Protection Officer, the as-yet-uncast Bodyguard of the title, a heroic but volatile Gulf War veteran.