Line of Duty showrunner Jed Mercurio has hinted that Ted Hastings could actually be corrupt police insider “H” – and Adrian Dunbar is not impressed by this attack on his character’s reputation.
The mystery of H’s identity is the big unanswered question as AC-12 return for series five, although Superintendent Hastings (Dunbar) has been suspiciously keen to pin the blame on ACC Derek Hilton (Paul Higgins) after his so-called “suicide” and consider the matter closed.
The trailer for series five has only made us more anxious that the top anti-corruption cop might be the baddie at the centre of this conspiracy – with a fleeting shot of Hastings inside what looks like a prison cell – and if you cast your mind back to the end of the previous series, you’ll remember DS Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) throwing her boss some seriously wary looks.
“Those actual shots at the end of series [four] weren’t in the script,” Dunbar reveals, adding that Mercurio directed the final scenes and added an unexpected twist. “Jed came on to direct that last bit, and suddenly he put these few shots, and we were thinking, ‘What’s this? What’s this he’s doing? Why are we…’ – ‘I want you to go over to the van, talk to that guy, throw a look back to Vicky.'”
Suffice to say, the cast were shocked. “I just thought, ‘Oh my god,‘ recalls Dunbar. “And then ‘Vicky, will you throw a look back to him, slightly?'”
McClure was equally skeptical. “I said, ‘no, I don’t want to…!'” she jokes.
“He’s just given himself a little springboard and he didn’t tell us anything about it,” complains Dunbar. “So that just happened right on the last day of the shoot, practically the last thing we shot were those reactions.
“We just thought: ‘You git. How dare you!’ We’ve just gone through six eps, and at the end of it you’re making us go, ‘ooooh I’m a bit suspicious about you’.”
As for the question of Hastings and whether he really is H? “That will be explored, that will definitely be explored through this series,” Dunbar promises.
“His personal life comes into focus again and he’ll find himself under scrutiny, and that’s another strand of the storyline that’s running along with the organised crime group stuff that’s happening. So we will focus in on Hastings.”
Line of Duty returns on Sunday 31st March at 9pm on BBC1