Martin Compston as DS Steve Arnott in ’Line of Duty 6’. Picture: BritBox
Martin Compston as DS Steve Arnott in ’Line of Duty 6’. Picture: BritBox

Loyalties tested, lines crossed in season six of ‘Line of Duty 6’

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Sep 6, 2021

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Fast-paced, tense and action-packed. That pretty much sums up episode one of the sixth season of Line of Duty.

Speculation is rife of a seventh season of the critically-acclaimed British police drama, written and created by Jed Mercurio.

In the meantime, there’s plenty of suspense, leaving fans on tenterhooks.

In a chat with Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott) and Vicky McClure (DI Kate Fleming), the actors unpacked this season’s taut storyline.

This season, AC-12s Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) and DS Arnott are looking into the actions of DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) and her team, which includes former AC-12 officer DI Fleming.

And Arnott tries to sway Fleming into helping them with their case, which puts her in a bit of a predicament.

On where we find his character this season, Compston said: “At the beginning of the series, Steve is still a DS.

“So, still no promotion but he is chasing! He has got bored as AC-12 is now tainted and the investigations have been severely curtailed.

“At the start, he is chasing up mundane cases; similar to chasing Lennie James over the expense of a bacon roll in the first series!

“Steve thrives on the thrill of the chase and the adventure of it so he’s a bit lost and having issues both physically and mentally.

“He definitely sees himself as a bit of a Sherlock Holmes with a waistcoat.

“Every year with Line of Duty, these scripts are a gift and we get more into the backstories of each character through Jed’s writing. If we deliver what’s on the page we are on to a winner.”

As for his favourite moments filming this season, he admitted: “This series has been a shoot like no other.

“We shot in the middle of a pandemic and it was interesting when we stopped for the first lockdown.

“Nobody had any idea what was going on and it was such a surreal feeling.

“Before we stopped, there was the looming threat of being shut down hanging over us. It’s quite hard to get into work in the morning and get yourself motivated when everyone is worried about getting home.

Vicky McClure (DI Kate Fleming) in “Line of Duty 6”. Picture: BritBox

“The biggest thing for me was when we started this year, I had just come off the job called The Nest and I had a few topless scenes in the show. I was probably in the best shape of my life.

“So, when we started the job at the beginning of this year, I was in pretty good nick.

“Then lockdown happened; we all ate too much, drank too much. When I came back to the UK and had to quarantine, I asked our lovely costume designer to leave Steve’s suits in my room so I could try them on as they were all tailored. That was a really tough day – I was bursting out of everything!

“I didn’t realise the suits were quite so tailored to my original shape. I thought quarantine was going to be wine and pizza, but it was water, soup and an exercise bike for two weeks. I was chuffed to get out of it.”

As for working with Macdonald, Compston said: “A huge part of this show and its success is down to its incredible guest stars. Kicking off with Lennie James, then Keeley Hawes, Danny Mays popping in, Thandie Newton and Stephen Graham, all these legends.

“As a fellow Scot, Kelly Macdonald was one of the ones I was most excited about. She’s had the perfect career.

“She was in Trainspotting, Boardwalk Empire and has her own Scottish Pixar film, Brave.

“She has it all. She’s a wonderfully talented actor and is such a joy.

“Some of the interview scenes have been mammoth and it’s the luck of the draw but Adrian and I definitely got the short straw this year and are in every single one.

“Kelly has a couple of tasty ones. When I met her at the Scottish Baftas, I knew they were in discussions about the role, so I asked her if there was anything I could do to help as I was so excited to have her on the show.

“She said how terrified she was of the interview scenes. It’s a common theme of anyone coming on to the show but we are all terrified too.

“It’s a hard day’s graft and I think some of the scenes this year were 36-minute takes, which is full-on.

“But she’s a trooper, she got through it and hopefully, we have another good one in the bag.”

McClure added: “I am the class clown on this job. We have a laugh every day as we either forget our lines, fluff them or say something stupid.

“I can’t think of anything overly specific as it's such a regular occurrence. To be honest, it usually involves Adrian Dunbar.”

She continued: “Kelly is a great laugh and an incredible actor.

“Again, we were really grateful to have a new guest lead that fits straight into the Line of Duty family.

“We had some brilliant scenes to do together and enjoyed many jigsaws together. I think everyone will be blown away by Jo’s storyline.

“It couldn’t have been in better hands.”

“Line of Duty” 6 is currently streaming on BritBox.

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