Line of Duty fans develop new theory after spotting hidden connection between characters

Viewers spotted a potentially telling link between certain characters during the finale of Line of Duty's repeated first series.

Tony Pitts plays Les Hargreaves in Line of Duty

BBC One’s repeats of Line of Duty series one came to a tense conclusion on Monday, with fans having enjoyed re-watching the hugely popular crime drama from the very start.

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While viewers were gripped by AC-12’s attempts to nick ‘bent copper’ Tony Gates, some noticed an interesting connection between two characters, one of whom is likely to feature more heavily in season six.

One viewer noticed that Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper), introduced in series one as a teenage member of the OSG, is assigned a social worker named Jane Hargreaves – who shares a surname with season four and five’s villain Lester Hargreaves (Tony Pitts).

“Ryan’s social worker’s name is Jane Hargreaves, we’ll just leave this here…#LineofDuty,” they tweeted during the season one finale, with another viewer replying: “Hargreaves wife maybe?”

Detective Chief Superintendent Lester Hargreaves first appears in season two as a member of the Major Violent Crime department, but was revealed last series to be working with the Organised Crime Syndicate when undercover officer John Corbett shot and killed him.

He is initially believed to be ‘H‘ – AC12’s unknown target over the last eight years – however, this theory is dismissed after corrupt officers Sergeant Jane Cafferty and PC Kieran Bloom say they had no contact with him until recent weeks.

Social worker Jane, played by Marie Critchley, only appears in one episode and while there’s no indication onscreen that she could be related to Lester Hargreaves, it’s possible the two characters are linked by marriage – especially as Lester is seen wearing a wedding ring throughout the series.

Line of Duty’s fifth series saw Ryan reappear as a key member of the Organised Crime Syndicate, murdering both PC Maneet Bindra and John Corbett. However, in the last episode, we see that he has been accepted into the Student Police Officer training programme, becoming a corrupt cop in the making.

Could Ryan’s social worker be a key figure in the OCG, like her potential husband Lester was? And could this subtle hint come back to haunt Arnott (Martin Compston), Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) in the upcoming series?

Series six of Line of Duty was three weeks into shooting before the cast and crew were forced to stop in March due to COVID-19.

The show’s creator Jed Mercurio recently told RadioTimes.com that they hope to resume filming by a certain date and would “love to be on air next year”, but need to finish filming by Christmas in order to do so.

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Series one star Lennie James, who played corrupt officer Tony Gates, also spoke to RadioTimes.com about previous plans for his character to return, saying that Mercurio initially said he’d written a scene featuring Gates before scrapping it the next day. “He was absolutely right, it was a stupid idea but if anyone could pull it off it would probably be him,” he said.

Line of Duty season six will return to the BBC. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide