James Nesbitt makes surprise Line of Duty appearance after joking he was “galled” not to be cast in the show

Despite recently claiming to be “galled” never to be cast in Line of Duty, the Bloodlands actor was clearly double bluffing.

Line of Duty

Bloodlands’ James Nesbitt made a surprise cameo in tonight’s Line of Duty episode, appearing in the BBC drama as retired officer Marcus Thurwell.

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The Cold Feet star, who worked with Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio on BBC thriller Bloodlands, jokingly complained in February that he was “always slightly galled” that he’d never been considered for a role on the show – but now it seems he can finally tick that accomplishment off his acting bucket list.

In tonight’s episode, Nesbitt made a very brief, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance as Marcus Thurwell, the senior investigating officer on the case of Lawrence Christopher, who’d died in police study in 2003 and whose death Gail Vella had been looking into.

Steve Arnott typed Marcus Thurwell’s name into the police database and brought up his profile, at which point a file image of James Nesbitt popped onto the screen.

Alongside the picture, the database showed other files relating to the Sands View case from series four, the boys’ home that was the location of historic sexual abuse by a pedophile ring led by high ranking individuals, before we learned Thurwell has since retired and was last seen several years ago in Spain.

Nesbitt played detective Tom Brannick in BBC One’s cold case series Bloodlands, executive produced by Mercurio, and revealed to Radio Times magazine that his casting came about after he bumped into the Line of Duty creator at a party.

“I said, ‘Come on Jed, when are we going to get a chance to work together?’ Even though Line of Duty had been shot here for years I was never considered for it, which has always slightly galled me.”

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Now Nesbitt has made a very brief appearance on the show, is it possible that Marcus Thurwell could come out of retirement in a future Line of Duty episode? We’ll have to wait and see.

Line of Duty continues on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One. If you’re up to date with the latest season, why not read our Line of Duty episode four recap. Take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage, or check out our TV guide to see what’s on TV this week.