Martin Compston wants to do one more series of Line of Duty for a “proper send off”

The actor also reveals the secret meaning behind DS Steve Arnott's trademark waistcoats.

Martin Compston as DS Steve Arnott in Line of Duty season 6 ep 1

Line of Duty‘s Martin Compston would like to do one more series of the hit police thriller to have a “proper send off” post-COVID.

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The actor, who returns as DS Steve Arnott for series 6, was addressing the possibility of another series after this one, telling The Guardian: “It always depends on audience reaction and whether there’s a desire for more.

“We want to leave a good legacy and be remembered as one of the great shows, not for a disappointing final series. But this was a strange one to make, thanks to the horror show we’ve all been living through.”

Compton explained that the atmosphere on set “wasn’t the same” as it had been while making previous series due to filming restrictions implicated by the pandemic which made connections with cast and crew difficult.

“We had a seven-month filming break, then came back under all the restrictions. The crew had to keep their distance. Masks made it harder to make a connection,” he continued. “The atmosphere on set wasn’t the same. It would be tough to end it that way. So on a personal level, it would be nice to do at least one more when life was back to normal and we could have a proper send-off.”

On the topic of Steve’s trademark waistcoats, Compston explained that he wears them in part because “he thinks he’s Sherlock Holmes”, and “because he’s the overdressed prick at work, having all the office affairs”.

DC Chloe Bishop with DS Steve Arnott in Line of Duty S6
DC Chloe Bishop with DS Steve Arnott in Line of Duty S6 (BBC)

Viewers will find Steve in an unhappy place in series 6 – he appears to have developed an addiction to painkillers for a back injury he sustained after being thrown down a flight of stairs by a balaclava-clad member of the OCG back in series 4.

He also seems slightly fed up of AC-12, particularly without his pal DCI Kate Fleming.

“He’s struggling with back problems and painkiller issues after getting thrown down the stairs in series four,” Compston disclosed.

“As an actor, that’s a gift to play, because there’s duplicity. Steve’s putting on a brave face at work, still turning up in his flashy suits and trying to run the show, but at home he’s falling to pieces. He’s a workaholic who defines himself by his job, but he’s in danger of losing it all.”

Series 6 features Vicky McClure will be back as DCI Kate Fleming, Adrian Dunbar returning as Superintendent Ted Hastings, and Kelly Macdonald making her debut as DCI Jo Davidson, as she heads up an investigation into the murder of journalist Gail Vella.

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Line of Duty returns on Sunday 21st March at 9pm on BBC One. Read our Line of Duty recap to refresh your memory of all that has happened so far. Looking for something to watch? Check out our handy TV Guide.