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Former Line of Duty star Craig Parkinson on Steve’s possible painkiller addiction: “Jed doesn't put anything there for no reason”

One of AC-12's most lauded members could be facing an internal struggle.

Martin Compston plays DS Steve Arnott in Line of Duty
Published: Monday, 22nd March 2021 at 9:30 pm

Fans have a lot of questions after Line of Duty's series six premiere and one of the biggest is hanging over DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), who appears to be developing an addiction to painkillers.


We were reintroduced to a more melancholic version of the beloved character last night, who seems to be fed up with his work and still suffering the consequences of a serious injury sustained in an earlier season.

In series four, during AC-12's investigation of DCI Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton), Steve was thrown down a flight of stairs by a man in a balaclava and the fall very nearly killed him.

Since then, we have seen him struggle with mobility and other physical issues, while he now seems to be entirely reliant on powerful painkillers to get him through the day.

Speaking on the latest episode of BBC Sounds podcast Obsessed with Line of Duty, former cast member Craig Parkinson expressed a strong belief that this will be a key theme running throughout the upcoming episodes.

"I'm thinking that he's slowly upped his drug take and now they've taken over him; I think this is going to be a major plot point during this season," he said.

"Knowing what I know and also now being an avid audience member, Jed [Mercurio] does not put anything there for no reason, everything is to be explained and it means something. So, I'm just sort of picking up and running with everything at the moment."

The series six opener didn't give much away, with fans also left questioning a possible romantic connection between DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald), as well as the fate of supposed murder victim Gail Vella.

"I love the way that scene was shot when Steve went to go pick up his drugs," Parkinson added. "It had quite a woozy, sort of druggy feel to it so I thought he's been smashing these pills for a long time. I'm worried about Steve."

For support and information about the issues raised in this article, find the BBC's recommended resources here.


Line of Duty continues on Sunday 28th March at 9pm on BBC One. If you're up to date with series 6, check out our Line of Duty episode 2 recap here. Take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage, or check out what else is on with our TV Guide


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