We weren’t allowed to tell you this before the first episode of Line of Duty season six aired on BBC One, but now we can finally talk about it: Terry Boyle is back!
Line of Duty creator and showrunner Jed Mercurio has hinted that some old characters from previous seasons will be reappearing, and within the first 15 minutes we were re-introduced to Terry.
The character may only have appeared in two episodes, but he has an important role to play in the overarching story of Line of Duty:
Who is Terry Boyle?
Terry Boyle is a man with Down’s Syndrome, who lives independently in his own flat. Throughout Line of Duty, we have seen him exploited by the members of an organised crime group (OCG) – and particularly by young Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper), who claims to be his best friend while cynically using and abusing him.
Who plays Terry Boyle?
The role was originally played by Elliott Rosen in season one. The actor’s other credits include Peak Practice and EastEnders, and – more recently – Casualty, in which he appeared as Neil Ogden.
For season five of Line of Duty, actor Tommy Jessop took over the role of Terry Boyle – and he appears again in season six. Jessop’s other credits include Off Their Rockers, Doctors, Day of the Flowers, and Casualty.
Terry Boyle’s first appearance in Line of Duty
We first met Terry in season one. Ryan, who at the time was still just a boy with a BMX bike and a police record, brought his friends (Carly and Dean) to hang out at Terry’s flat. Carly hit him in the face, Dean urinated in his potted plant, and Ryan raided his fridge (and took note of his large, empty freezer).
Later, two men working for the OCG (at the time led by Tommy Hunter) arrived at Terry’s flat with two heavy suitcases. There, they unloaded the frozen, sawed-up body parts of Jackie Laverty (Gina McKee) as well as a knife they could use to implicate DCI Tony Gates (Lennie James). Much to Terry’s obvious distress, they put them in Terry’s freezer and left.
While Ryan and his boss clearly assumed that Terry would not make a fuss about this, they were wrong; after the men left, he actually called 999 to report a break-in.
However, the police missed their chance to discover the body, and failed to help Terry. When PC Karen Larkin (Fiona Boylan) and PC Simon Bannerjee (Neet Mohan) visited Terry’s flat to follow up with him about the call, he struggled to properly articulate what had happened. PC Larkin got frustrated and impatient with Terry, and quickly pretended to receive an urgent call.
What happened last time Terry was in Line of Duty?
By the time Terry appeared in Line of Duty again, it was season five and his so-called friend Ryan had grown up to become a fully-fledged member of the criminal group. However, Ryan was still exploiting Terry (and his freezer-space).
While Terry was living in a high-rise council block in season one, by season five he seemed to have moved to a new flat – perhaps under the direction of the OCG (read our explainer of the term “cuckooing”), as his flat was located opposite the OCG’s headquarters at Kingsgate Printing Services.
With a good view of the street outside the shop, he was expected to act as a lookout – which is why Ryan paid him a visit alongside Lisa McQueen (Rochenda Sandall) and Miroslav (Tomi May) to interrogate him about the police raid on the print shop.
And when Miroslav went looking for beers in Terry’s kitchen, he opened the freezer and found… the sawn-up body of Jackie Laverty! (Who he had apparently forgotten all about.)
Distressed by the questions, Terry told Lisa and Ryan that he couldn’t remember what the officers who raided the shop looked like, repeating the phrase: “I forget things”. However, he did show them photographs he had taken, allowing them to identify Superintendent Ted Hastings and DS Steve Arnott (and realise the group must have a rat).
Line of Duty continues on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One. You can read our Line of Duty episode 1 recap, Line of Duty episode 2 recap, or check out our broader Line of Duty recap to refresh your memory on all that occurred before season 6. Take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage, or check out what else is on with our TV guide.