Line Of Duty’s long-awaited sixth series finally has a start date, and the countdown is officially on. 

The BBC have confirmed the hit police drama will return on Sunday 21 March at 9pm on BBC One. 

Jed Mercurio’s thriller has been eagerly anticipated as it had originally been due to air in 2020, but shooting was halted for six months last March due to the pandemic. 

Line Of Duty's DI Kate Flemming, DS Steve Arnott, DC Chloe Bishop and Superintendent Ted Hastings

Filming eventually resumed in September when the cast and crew formed a bubble on location in Northern Ireland. 

News of the sixth series’ arrival was confirmed with the release of an exclusive teaser, played out around the Six Nations match on Saturday. 

It was previously revealed that the new season will also include an additional episode, with seven instalments instead of the usual six. 

All three lead actors, Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar are back as DS Steve Arnott, DI Kate Flemming and Superintendent Ted Hastings.

They will be joined by new addition DC Chloe Bishop, played by Shalom Brune-Franklin. 

The AC-12 team will face their “most enigmatic adversary” yet in the form of Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson – played by Kelly Macdonald – whose suspicious conduct on an unsolved murder case attracts their attention. 

Kelly MacDonald in Line Of Duty

The fifth series of Line Of Duty concluded in 2019 and revealed legal counsel Gill Biggeloe had been setting up Hastings as organised crime boss “H”.

It was later confirmed from a closer examination of DI Matthew Cottan’s dying declaration that “H” was actually a clue, rather than a person, indicating there are four high ranking officers in league with organised crime.

So far, Cottan, ACC Derek Hilton, Biggeloe have already been unmasked, with another still at large, which is likely to explored in the sixth series. 

During filming of the new episodes, Line Of Duty creator and writer Jed Mercurio sparked a theory among fans, after tweeting a series of behind-the-scenes pictures. 

Some eagle-eyed fans noticed a tiny detail in the snaps that suggests one character has either been demoted, or is heading undercover.

Series 1-5 of Line Of Duty are available to watch as a boxset now on BBC iPlayer.

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