Throughout its six series, Line of Duty has frequently referred back to events and characters from previous seasons, with all sorts of familiar names and faces regularly cropping up.
And in tonight’s episode, we were reintroduced to a minor character who was last seen all the way back in series two: prisoner guard Alison Merchant, played by Maria Connolly. Talk about a timely Easter egg!
In the episode, Merchant breaks Farida Jatri’s wrist when collecting her from her cell, where she was being kept prior to being questioned by AC-12.
And if this scene rang a few bells, there’s good reason for it– this is not the first time that Merchant has acted violently towards someone in custody.
Back in series two, we saw her act in a similarly brutal fashion towards Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes). First, we saw her mix Denton’s food with feces before serving it to her, and later she poured boiling water over her hands while warning her to stop talking to AC-12.
Shortly after the incident (and after lying on her report to say that Denton had poured the hot water over her own hands) Merchant was replaced, and she hadn’t been seen again since – until now, that is.
Given past events, it seems likely that Merchant is on the OCG payroll, and so her return is unlikely to be good news for AC-12…