They were in the midst of a dramatic shoot-out than ended Sunday’s show on a shocking cliffhanger.
So it was no surprise that Line of Duty fans were sent into a tailspin over the weekend after seeing a throwback snap of killer PC Ryan Pilkington as a young boy.
The snap of Vicky McClure and actor Gregory Piper, who plays PC Ryan Pilkington, was taken during filming for the police drama’s first series, and sparked a slew of reaction from fans.
So young: Line of Duty fans went wild over the weekend after seeing a throwback snap of the PC Pilkington actor Gregory Piper during filming for the show’s first series
The snap, which resurfaced on Twitter over the weekend, showed Vicky, who plays DI Kate Fleming alongside Gregory during one of his first appearances on the show in 2012.
He originally played a young Ryan Pilkington who had been brought up as part of the OCG, and has since returned for the show’s sixth series as a bent copper hell-bent on hiding the group’s involvement in Gail Vella’s murder.
Fans went wild for the image after a Line of Duty fan account posted the snap alongside the end of Sunday’s tense cliffhanger, which saw Fleming and Pilkington threatening to shoot in a gripping showdown.
Dramatic: The image is a stark contrast to Sunday’s cliffhanger which saw Pilkington and DI Kate Fleming in the midst of a tense shootout
One wrote: ‘They grow up so quickly,’ while another added: ‘So cool that you got the same actor back, makes it feel even more authentic!’
A third also wrote: ‘So cool that you got the same actor back, makes it feel even more authentic!’
It comes as it was also revealed that the long-awaited return of Line of Duty last month has landed a consolidated 15 million viewers.
The figures show that huge numbers tuned into the launch of series six on catch-up after 9.6 million viewers watched the episode when it first aired on March 21.
Already Line of Duty has been named as the highest-rated drama on UK television since Bodyguard in 2018, which was also created by Jed Mercurio.
Blast from the past! Fans went wild for the image after a Line of Duty fan account posted the snap alongside the end of Sunday’s tense cliffhanger
Love it! Many fans took to Twitter to share their reaction to seeing the throwback image
Wow! It comes as it was also revealed that the long-awaited return of Line of Duty last month has landed a consolidated 15 million viewers
It comes after the results of Jo Davidson’s DNA match were finally revealed during Sunday’s very dramatic show – confirming that she is indeed related to Tommy Hunter.
And some eagle-eyed fans have now said they’ve spotted a hidden post-it note which goes even further to claim the police officer is ‘both his niece and daughter’.
Several viewers took to Twitter after noticing the easy-to-miss clue and started to theorise how and why Jo [Kelly Macdonald] got involved with the OCG.
Shock development: It comes after eagle-eyed viewers also claimed they had discovered the real relationship between Jo Davidson (pictured) and Tommy Hunter
At the start of Sunday’s show, Steve Arnott [Martin Compson] told Kate Fleming [Vicky McClure] about the DNA match, with Ted Hastings [Adrian Dunbar] declaring that Jo had ‘pulled the wool over her eyes’.
Arnott told Kate, who has been working for her new gaffer throughout the latest series, that there was a partial match and spoke about ‘homozygosity in their DNA’.
His update left Kate reeling as ‘homozygosity’ suggests that Davidson and Hunter are very closely related and there could even be some incest in the family tree.
This only added to the buzz when avid fans later claimed they spotted a post-it note pinned against Tommy Hunter’s picture in the show.
Giving it away? Taking to Twitter, several people shared a moment from the episode which saw a yellow note by the side of Tommy Hunter’s picture
Sharing it on Twitter, one person explained how it read: ‘Jo Davidson’s DNA has been identified at Farida Jatri’s house. A match has been made to TOMMY HUNTER, stating she is both his niece and daughter.’
Explaining the term, one fan wrote: ‘In case anyone missed the homozygosity reference in @Line_of_duty it basically means Jo Davidson is both Tommy Hunter’s daughter AND niece.’
And armed with this new information, it didn’t take long for fans to start coming up with new theories to explain Jo’s behaviour.
One fan suggested: ‘Jo is Tommy Hunters niece and daughter with the homozygosity in their DNA but did the incest continue and Ryan is Jo’s son, the lingering looks between them, the over the top way he calls her Ma’am (mum) and someone had to have fast tracked him into MIT.’
It read: ‘November 2020. Jo Davidson’s DNA has been identified at Farida Jatri’s house. A match has been made to TOMMY HUNTER, stating she is both his niece and daughter’
Here come the theories: It didn’t take long for fans to suggest their own ideas about the relationship between Davidson and Hunter
And another said: ‘Jo says she hasn’t any family. I think it’s because she doesn’t want it known that she is Tommy Hunter’s daughter as she’d most likely lose her job. Hence why OCG have a hold over her.’
While someone else suggested: ‘So Tommy Hunter most likely raped his sister and that’s what Steve meant about homozygosity. Post it note says Jo is both his niece and daughter .’
Tommy’s name was most recently brought up to John Corbett – who is now dead – by Lisa McQueen in the second episode of series five. She told Corbett that Hunter was the leader of the OCG before he was a part of the syndicate.
While head of the OCG, Tommy groomed Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan as a teenager, before encouraging him to join the police as a mole for the crime gang.
Viewers will also recall that he has links to Ryan Pilkington, who worked for him as a juvenile delinquent.
Unexpected: Arnott had left Kate looking stunned after speaking about the ‘homozygosity’ in the DNA results during the show
Tommy was ‘killed off’ during series two after being ambushed while being moved into witness protection and then later murdered in hospital.
Elsewhere in Sunday’s episode, which saw an eye-popping 10m viewers tune in to see what was coming next int he drama, fans were sent wild as it ended on a nail-biting cliffhanger as Kate and Ryan were locked in a showdown.
After viewers learnt about Davidson’s relationship with Hunter, the fifth episode ended with Vicky McClure’s character Kate Fleming in a tense showdown with Ryan Pilkington, played by Gregory Piper.
Soon after the show aired, Twitter was flooded with wild reaction from fans, who demanded bosses show the next episode now, as the suspense was too much to wait another week to see the outcome of the shoot off.
However some fans are convinced the series six trailer gives away who survives the shoot out between DI Fleming and PC Pilkington.
Yet keen fans have claimed they already know the outcome from watching the trailer, while Adrian Dunbar – who plays Superintendent Hastings – has revealed that there’s already been ‘a very big clue’ about what happens in next week’s episode.
Putting their amateur detective skills to the test, several Line of Duty fans took to Twitter after Sunday’s show to suggest that the series six trailer had the answers.
Line Of Stress! Line Of Duty fans were also sent wild on Sunday evening as the latest episode ended on a nail-biting cliffhanger as Kate and Ryan were locked in a showdown
Wah! The fifth episode ended with Vicky McClure’s character Kate Fleming in a tense showdown with Ryan Pilkington, played by Gregory Piper
They were quick to point out one blink-and-you-miss-it scene which sees Kate standing next to Acting Detective Superintendent Jo Davidson [Kelly Macdonald] – which has yet to air on the show.
Fans thus deduced the scene must happen in the aftermath of the shooting – indicating Kate survives. Although nothing is known of Ryan’s fate.
One person declared: ‘Screen grab from #Lineofduty session 6 @BBC trailer. #katefleming looks p***ed, #jodavidson has her hands in the air. THIS SCENE HASN’T OCCURRED YET. #katefleming lives for at least 1 more episode.’
And another wrote: ‘Nah she’s no dead! Major spoiler if you Look back at the original season 6 trailer – both Jo and Kate get stopped by armed police, exact same clothes they were wearing just now. I reckon Ryan either missed or the second shot was Jo.’
Adrian appeared to back up the theories as he appeared as the first guest back in the Good Morning Britain studio on Monday, pointing fans away from the misspelt ‘definately’ but insisting many ‘already know’ her fate.
Look what you’ve caused: Davidson seemed genuinely distraught when she thought Kate could be shot, however it was her messages that got her in the position
Reflecting on Sunday’s dramatic show, Adrian said: ‘Great cliffhanger again, Jed loves his cliffhangers. And a lot of LOD fans know [what’s coming next for Kate]
Presenter Adil Ray then jumped in asking: ‘They’ve worked it out you mean?’
Adrian continued, knowingly nodding his head: ‘A lot of Line of Duty fans know what’s going on. All will be revealed in the fullness of time.’
Susanna then despaired as she said: ‘I feel like you’re giving us a really heavy piece of information that I can’t for the life of me work out.’
Have they cracked it? Line Of Duty fans are convinced the series six trailer gives away who survives the shoot out between DI Fleming and PC Pilkington
Adrian then dropped the bombshell: ‘Yes, there’s been a very big clue. I’m giving you a scoop. As the first guest back on the show, I am giving you a massive scoop.
‘There’s a clue out there as to what happens next.’
Viewers were also left reeling after fan favourite Ted Hastings was tipped as being the elusive H again, and Ryan left in a standoff with DI Kate.
In typical AC-12 style, a twist emerged in the form of a throwback clue to the 2019 series showing the word definitely misspelt as ‘definately’ in Davidson’s messages – a clue that previously suggested Hastings could be one of the bent coppers he is so hellbent on finding.
What’s next? Although fans were already reeling with the twist, the show ended with shock, with the tense cliffhanger seeing PC Pilkington drawing his gun at DI Fleming
LINE OF DUTY SEASON SIX: WHAT ARE THE MAIN FAN THEORIES?
Season six of Line Of Duty has left fans with more questions than answers, with viewers flocking to Twitter to question what exactly is DCI Jo Davidson is up to, whether Kate Fleming has really left AC-12 and who is H?
Here, MailOnline examines some of the most prominent fan theories
Kate Fleming HASN’T left AC-12 and is working undercover
One of the most shocking discoveries was AC-12’s Kate is now working with a new team- with some fans suggesting she could even be the infamous H.
While chatting to her new gaffer DCI Davidson, Kate said: ‘I got fed upon nicking coppers, I’d rather go after the psycho who murdered Gail [Vella].’
But despite seeming confident in her new role, some viewers were left wondering if all was at it seems and theorised that Kate could still be undercover for AC-12.
Even after she tipped off Davidson and incurred the wrath of Ted Hastings, fans have continued to speculate that she is so deep undercover that even Hastings is having to keep her true agenda secret.
Kate Fleming HASN’T left AC-12 and is working undercover: Is it true? The jury is still out on this one
DCI Jo Davidson is being blackmailed by an Organised Crime Group
Jo has already survived a grilling from AC-12’s top team and appeared to clear her name when it was ex-girlfriend PS Farida Jatri who seemed to have taken part in corruption.
However, Jo was seen hitching a ride with known bent copper Ryan Pilkington and taken to collect a burner phone, making her look suspicious once more.
Fans, however, are convinced the DCI is being blackmailed by an OCG, following her emotional outburst when she was summoned to pick up a new burner.
DCI Jo Davidson is being blackmailed by an Organised Crime Group: Is it true? After her car park outburst it seems increasingly likely
DCI Jo Davidson’s mother is Anne-Marie McGillis
Fans speculated over who Jo’s mother could be after she was seen in a photograph in the first episode.
Many theorised her mother has something to do with season five character John Corbett’s [Stephen Graham] mother Anne-Marie McGillis, who was killed by an Irish Republican paramilitary group sometime after 1989.
DCI Jo Davidson’s mother is Anne-Marie McGillis: Is it true? There simply isn’t enough evidence yet to determine on way or the other
Gail Vella is still alive
Although season six has centered around the murder of journalist Gail Vella, one obscure theory is that she is in fact still alive.
Craig Parkinson, who played Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan in the show, said on BBC Sounds podcast Obsessed with Line of Duty: ‘Somebody is in that flat and there’s some connection with Gail Vella, the investigative journalist.
‘You don’t cast someone like Andi Osho and then just have her as little magazine prints and stick them up on a kitchen wall.’
Sarah Millican – who also appeared on the podcast – went on to suggest Vella may have been a former lover of DCI Davidson’s.
Gail Vella is still alive: Is it true? It seems unlikely that the scale of police corruption is so huge that they could fake a murder victim
DC Chloe Bishop is Tony Gates’ daughter
Bishop is one of AC-12’s newest recruits, and as Gates and his wife Jools had two daughters, Natalie and Chloe, viewers have suggested their shared first name ‘can’t be a coincidence’.
Gates’ daughter was last seen in season one in 2012, which means she’d be roughly the same age as Bishop is now.
Fans have suggested that Bishop either took her mother’s maiden name or the name of a step-father, so that her true identity remains a secret – for now.
Gates died at the end of the first season when he walked into a busy road after getting a confession from gang leader Tommy Hunter, who had been blackmailing the police officer into covering up their criminal activity.
DC Chloe Bishop is Tony Gates’ daughter: Is it true? The dates and facts line up, but there still isn’t enough to write it off as a coincidence just yet
DCI Jo Davidson’s mystery blood relative is…?
After it was revealed that Jo’s DNA matched someone on the Police National Computer, fans theorized who that could be.
The overriding theories suggested that Davidson’s relative was either Tommy Hunter, of series one and two, Mike Dryden of series two, John Corbett of series five, or Derek Hilton, killed off in series four.
Tommy Hunter was the leader of the OCG in earlier series of the show, and a paedophile. His character is dead.
Mike Dryden, the former Deputy Chief Constable, was last seen resigning from his post for perverting the course of justice in series two. His Scottish links also suggest he could be related to Davidson.
John Corbett was an undercover cop in series five who had his throat slit, leaving behind a wife, two daughters, and a mysterious link to a woman, Anne-Marie, whom fans claim could also be Davidson’s mother.
Derek Hilton was a Chief Superintendent and later the Assistant Chief Constable of Central Police. He was also secretly affiliated with organised crime. He was shot in the mouth in a staged suicide in season four.
Other suggestions were Gill Biggeloe, Jackie Laverty, Lindsay Denton or Terry Boyle.
After it was revealed that Jo’s DNA matched someone on the Police National Computer, fans theorized who that could be. Scottish Mike Dryden was last seen resigning from his post for perverting the course of justice in series two