In the Line of Duty season 6 finale, it was none other than Ian Buckells – written off by many as utterly incompetent, and certainly not a villain – who was unmasked as the omniscient and omnipotent Fourth Man, aka 'H'.


There had been multiple contenders for the role of big bad across the show's six seasons, with Ted Hastings, Kate Fleming and Steve Arnott all accused at one point or another.

But creator Jed Mercurio had gone in a different direction entirely, with actor Nigel Boyle, who had flitted in and out of the show, entrusted with the role.

As soon as season 6 wrapped up, there were questions about whether the series would return for season 7, with rumblings that there was a desire to.

"We've got to do another series," Dunbar previously told and other press.

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"We've got to get onto Jed and say, 'Look, we've got to do one that's not like when we were in lockdown. We've got to do one where we're back on the ground, we're out there, we're in the city, we're having fun'. You know, it's a great city to have fun in, Belfast, so we really want to get back to doing that again."

Vicky McClure told The Guardian in January this year that the cast were "all game" for more, and LoD newcomer Shalom Brune-Franklin also said she'd return to the show if asked.

Line Of Duty - Ep 3
Chloë Bishop (Shalom Brune Franklin) and Steve Arnott (Martin Compston)

Speaking to at the Radio Times Covers Party recently, this is what Boyle had to say: "I was chatting to [executive producer] Simon Heath earlier and I was saying, 'Come on mate. [What's happening?]'' And he was like, 'We'd kind of like to but we don't know if it's going to happen.'

"I said, 'What's the official line?' And he said, 'Well, there isn't one.'"

On if we'll see Buckells again if it does get the greenlight, Boyle predicted that the potential is there, but he'd likely die very early on.

Nigel Boyle plays Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells in Line of Duty
Nigel Boyle plays Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells in Line of Duty (BBC)

Before season 6 arrived, this is what Mercurio told about the future of the show: "We’re in a situation where it's not entirely clear that there will be a seventh series.

"We would hope there could be. But we're having to do our planning coming out of COVID, and a whole bunch of other things... these things aren't guaranteed at all now."

He added: "A lot of it depends on the key creatives – that's me and the main actors – finding new stories to tell within that universe. Line of Duty may have reached 'the Chandrasekhar Limit', at which a mass collapses under its own gravitational force."


Line of Duty is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Take a look at more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.
Enjoy more chats with the stars at the Radio Times Covers Party 2022 in the new issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale Tuesday 5th April – subscribe now to get each issue delivered to your door. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.