The AC-12 unit is back on the case as ‘Line of Duty’ returns March 31 on BBC One

AC-12's Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar in Line of Duty. Photo courtesy: BBC

AC-12’s Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar in Line of Duty. Photo courtesy: BBC

Quickly supplanting MI5 — aka Spooks in the UK — as the go-to series for any occasion, in my book, Line of Duty will return to BBC One with season 5 beginning March 31. The first three seasons ran on BBC Two before moving to BBC One in 2017, causing the weekly audience to jump from just under 6 million to just over 10 million by the end of season 4.

From the looks of things, creator/writer Jed Mercurio (Bodyguard) has once again found lightning in the Line of Duty bottle as season 5 hits the ground at breakneck speed from the opening moments of episode 1.

Vicky McClure (DS Kate Fleming), Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott) and Adrian Dunbar (Superintendent Ted Hastings) are all confirmed to be returning, as well as Maneet Bindra (Maya Sondhi), Polly Walker (Gill Biggeloe), Andrea Irvine (Roisin Hastings), and Aiysha Hart (DS Sam Railston).

In the AC-12 crosshairs for season 5 will be Stephen Graham (Snatch, Boardwalk Empire, This is England), who will become this season’s person of interest. The fifth season will see a significant format change. Instead of focusing on a single corrupt police officer, the show will focus on an organized crime group, the Balaclava Men. Graham will be playing John Corbett, the leader of the mysterious group, with Rochenda Sandall cast as Lisa McQueen, another key figure in the organized crime group.

Stephen Graham, AC-12's newest 'person of interest'. Photo courtesy: BBC

Stephen Graham, AC-12’s newest ‘person of interest’. Photo courtesy: BBC

Christmas came early for fans of the series as seasons 5 and 6 were commissioned at the same time back in May 2017, following that 10+ million audience figure for the concluding episode of season 4. The police anti-corruption unit AC-12 got the band back together in September of 2018 to begin filming season 5.

Needless to say, it’s been an interesting balancing act for Mercurio, as he has been juggling his Line of Duty schedule with his newest effort, Bodyguard, which has since become the BBC’s most-watched drama ever since records began being kept in 2002, with the season 1 finale seen by over 17 million people.

For me, aside from the true greatness of the core team of McClure, Compston and Dunbar, I love the brilliant ensemble cast of people who have found themselves trying to stay one step ahead of AC-12 during the first four seasons. such as:

  • Daniel Mayes (Ashes to Ashes, Dad’s Army)
  • Craig Parkinson (Misfits, Whitechapel)
  • Thandie Newton (Westworld, Mission Impossible 2, Solo: A Star Wars Story)
  • Keeley Hawes (MI5, Upstairs Downstairs, The Durrells in Corfu, Bodyguard)
  • Lennie James (The Walking Dead), Neil Morrissey (Men Behaving Badly)

Line of Duty, season 5, returns to the BBC One line-up on Sunday, March 31.

In: Drama