Everything you need to know about Patrick Fairbank in Line of Duty

Fairbank - last seen in series three - was the latest character to return to the show tonight.

Patrick Fairbank

It seems as if just about every character in Line of Duty‘s history has a role to play in the ongoing sixth series, and one of the latest to reappear is Patrick Fairbank.

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The character, played by Happy Valley’s George Costigan, was originally introduced as a major villain back in series three and hadn’t been seen again since – until now.

In the second half of tonight’s episode, AC-12 went to visit a now very elderly Fairbank in prison after uncovering some crucial information relating to the Gail Vella case.

But who is Patrick Fairbank? And what is his history on Line of Duty? Read on for everything you need to know.

Who is Patrick Fairbank?

Fairbank is a retired police officer who was of vital importance to the plot of series three – where he was exposed as not only corrupt but also a high-profile sex offender.

His introduction came when Kate and Steve were looking into the death of social worker Oliver Stephens-Lloyd, who had supposedly committed suicide in 1998 while he had been investigating allegations of abuse in the Sands View Boys Home.

During their digging, Kate and Steve came across some curious information: that Fairbank had been included on the distribution list of Stephens-Lloyd’s missing person report, despite the fact that he was leading an entirely different police department – Vice – at the time.

They went to his home to interview him, but he claimed he had very little memory of the case, said he’d never even heard of Sands View and denied any close relationship with Dale Roach, a politician who was under investigation for child sexual abuse.

After the interview, Ted Hastings arrived at the house and it emerged the pair were old friends, with the gaffer staying behind to enjoy a catch-up and some cake, much to Steve and Kate’s dismay.

After more evidence came to light that Fairbank had deliberately covered up evidence, he was brought in for an AC-12 interview – at the start of which he shared a masonic handshake with Ted.

During the interview, Fairbank was presented with several images of him alongside alleged abusers – including Dale Roach and Jimmy Savile – but he continually denied his involvement in any cover up.

Fairbank
BBC

Suspicion grew significantly when former Sands Views resident Joe Nash identified Fairbank as one of those who had abused him, and Fairbank was then brought in for further AC-12 questioning.

During the interview, Ted received Danny Waldron’s list, which further identified Fairbank as an abuser, and he arrested him for sexual activity with a child, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office.

Throughout his questioning, Fairbank had maintained his innocence, and later his lawyer Gill Biggeloe (who we now know to be corrupt) revealed that she was hoping to get the charges dropped as a result of Fairbank’s early-onset dementia.

However, vital information provided by Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan’s dying declaration was enough to put the final nail in Fairbank’s coffin and he was eventually sentenced to 10 years in prison, where he has presumably been until now.

The case first came back into focus earlier this series when archive footage appeared of Gail Vella covering his trial.

In the clip, she was heard saying that the jury had found Fairbank guilty of all charges, before she added: “What that jury didn’t hear, and only now am I allowed to report, are allegations Patrick Fairbank suppressed police investigations into child sexual exploitation that transcended local political figures such as counsellor Dale Roach.

She went on, “It’s now a matter of public record that Jimmy Savile cultivated relationships with senior police officers. Savile exploited those relationships to intimidate anyone attempting to investigate his offending.

“We now realise what Savile was getting out of those relationships with senior police officers, but what remains unknown, and un-investigated, is what those officers were getting out of their relationship with Savile.”

This brings us right up to date with the events of episode five, during which Steve had finally made some headway into discovering what Vella had been looking into prior to her death – the murder of a young black man called Lawrence Christopher.

The link between this case and Fairbank is that the SIO on the Christopher case, Marcus Thurwel, had also been involved with the Sands View Boys Home scandal.

It transpired that Gail had planned to interview Fairbank but was murdered the night before their appointment – and so presumably he must have had some major dirt to spill.

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Of course, with Fairbank now clearly declining, it remains to be seen if he can now be a useful asset to AC-12 – but it seems certain his role in the series is not yet over.

Line of Duty continues on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One. Take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage, or check out our TV guide to see what’s on TV this week.