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How a small incident in Line of Duty season 1 led to Terry Boyle's near-drowning

Ryan Pilkington's attempt to drown Terry has its roots all the way back in series one.

Tommy Jessop plays Terry Boyle in Line of Duty
Published: Tuesday, 6th April 2021 at 2:10 pm

Terry Boyle had a lucky escape on Sunday night's episode of Line of Duty – with Kate's intervention saving him from a nasty death by drowning.


Terry had been targeted by corrupt cop Ryan Pilkington, who was attempting to kill him in order to prevent him from revealing any further information about the activities of the OCG.

And Ryan's attempt was very nearly successful, with another police officer killed in the incident before Kate arrived on the scene.

But, as a recent post from the official Line of Duty Twitter account points out, all of this could have been avoided had it not been for a major police error all the way back in series one.

In the first run of the show, Terry – then played by Elliot Rosen – was first targeted by Ryan and his friends Dean and Carly, with the trio taking advantage of his kindness to use his flat for their criminal activities.

Terry realised something was amiss when two of Tommy Hunter's men arrived at the flat to store Jackie Laverty's frozen body, and immediately reported the incident to the Central Police.

However, despite a visit from PC's Karen Larkin and Simon Bannerjee, Terry's complaint was not taken seriously – with the officers frustrated by his difficulty articulating the crime that had taken place.

After that incident, Terry did not reappear in the show until series five, now played by a different actor, Tommy Jessop. But in the intervening time, the OCG continued to manipulate and use Terry – partaking in a practice known as "cuckooing"– leading directly to the events of the most recent episode.

Given how much information Terry could now potentially reveal to AC-12, it's perhaps unsurprising that Ryan and the OCG are desperate to prevent him from talking by whatever means necessary.

How different things could have been had Larkin and Bannerjee just been a little more patient...

For more Line of Duty analysis, read our guides to the meaning behind CHISSteve Arnott’s back injury, our theories on Jo Davidson's mystery relative, and the backstories of Ryan PilkingtonSteph Corbett and Jackie Laverty.


Line of Duty airs on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One. If you are up to date with the latest season, you can read our Line of Duty episode 4 recap here. Check out our TV Guide to find something to watch, or visit our Drama hub for all the latest news.


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