Warning: contains major spoilers for Line of Duty series 1-6.
You could say we’ve taken this too far. You could be right. You could also say that, for a Line of Duty fan attempting to solve the many mysteries of series six, it’s useful to have the hard facts at hand. How does the newly revealed “Fourth Man” suspect Marcus Thurwell fit into the timeline as we know it? What prompted him to take early retirement two years after he conspired to suppress the investigation into the racist murder of Lawrence Christopher? Was it a scent on the air telling him that two rookie officers – Fleming and Arnott – were on their way in the next couple of years, so he’d better high tail it to Spain before they reached their full powers?
And then there are the real questions, such as: the day before AC-12 raided Hillside Lane Station in series six, it was Kate Fleming’s 35th birthday. Did she bring in doughnuts? Had Kate come in worse for wear from one too many glasses of white in Frederico’s with Jo? The people demand to know.
Taken from police records glimpsed on screen and episode scripts, below are the key dates mentioned in Line of Duty, in chronological order, right from the start. We’ll update as series six continues. Use it to bolster your theories and beat your friends in arguments. Carry the fire, team.
Prior to Series One
16th July 1963 Edward Gerard Hastings is born. Aged 2, sniffs out a ring of corrupt toddlers at his playschool
10th May 1965 Future OCG leader John Thomas ‘Tommy’ Hunter is born in Glasgow
1965 Marcus Thurwell, prime suspect for”The Fourth Man”, is born
12th April 1976 Lindsay Elizabeth Denton is born. With a fringe
22nd April 1979 Jo Davidson is born in Tommy Hunter’s family, a product of incest
3rd June 1979 John Corbett is born to Anne-Marie McGillis in Northern Ireland
1982 19-year-old Ted Hastings joins the Royal Ulster Constabulary, one of two Catholic officers in his unit. Befriends a CHIS named Anne-Marie McGillis
17th March 1982 Darren Hunter, son of future OCG boss Tommy is born. He’s likely to be Jo Davidson’s brother and nephew, if Tommy turns out to be both her father and uncle.
1984 Marcus Thurwell joins Central Police
23rd September 1985 Steve Arnott is born. Wearing a waistcoat
3rd November 1985 Kate Fleming is born. Crime doesn’t know what’s about to hit it
18th April 1989 Anne-Marie McGillis is kidnapped by the IRA
29th June 1989 Ted Hastings is injured in a pipe bomb explosion that kills a fellow Catholic officer, he suspects a deliberate attack and a cover-up conspiracy. He moves to England.
ca.1990 A teenage Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan starts working as a caddy for Tommy Hunter at the Edge Park Golf Club
1990s A group of 17 men including Tommy Hunter and CS Patrick Fairbank routinely sexually abuse the boys at Sands View children’s home
14th November 1998 Social worker Oliver Stephens-Lloyd is found murdered by the OCG after pursuing the Sands View boys’ abuse allegations. It’s made to look like suicide
21st March 1999 John Corbett joins the police service, aged 19
29th July 1999 Joanne Davidson joins the police service, aged 20
29th November 1999 Ryan Pilkington is born to mother Keely on the Borogrove Estate
2001 Anne-Marie McGillis’ corpse is found with signs of torture by the IRA
April 2003 Lawrence Christopher dies in custody after being attacked by racists including OCG-leader Tommy Hunter’s son Darren. The investigation into his murder is suppressed by corrupt officers in the pay of Hunter. The investigating officers are Marcus Thurwell, Ian Buckells and Philip Osborne
3rd July 2005 Marcus Thurwell takes early retirement from Central Police and moves to Spain
9th May 2006 Kate Fleming joins Central Police, aged 20
15th October 2007 Steve Arnott joins Central Police, aged 22
2005 A 15-year-old Lisa McQueen is admitted to a police programme for teen offenders
Series One (Unknown 2012)
– Steve Arnott’s counter-terrorism op is botched and CI Osborne demands a cover-up. Steve refuses and is recruited by Ted Hastings at AC-12
– DCI Tony Gates receives the Officer of the Year award and is investigated by AC-12 for manipulating his unit’s stats
– OCG money launderer Jackie Laverty runs over her accountant. Her lover DCI Tony Gates helps to cover it up. She’s murdered by the OCG, who blackmail Gates to cover up a string of drug murders
– DCI Gates gets a confession from OCG leader Tommy Hunter, delivers him to AC-12, then kills himself by stepping into traffic so his family receive a ‘line of duty’ pay-out
November 2012 Deborah Devereux is arrested for assault against a neighbour, DI Buckells at Kingsgate Station has the charges dropped in exchange for sexual favours
Series Two (September – November 2013)
21st May 2013 DI Lindsay Denton terminates her pregnancy, at lover DCC Dryden’s behest
16th August 2013 DCC Mike Dryden is photographed by the OCG engaging in a sex act with underage victim Carly Kirk, who goes missing that day. To fake an alibi, Dryden takes responsibility for his wife’s speeding ticket issued that evening
5th September 2013 A police convoy transporting former OCG head-turned-witness Tommy Hunter is diverted by DI Lindsay Denton, then ambushed and three officers are killed
14th September 2013 Tommy Hunter and DC Georgia Trotman are murdered in hospital by bent copper DS Jeremy Cole
September 2013 – DI Denton is charged with conspiracy to murder, remanded until the 18th of November 2013, released, then rearrested and sentenced to life, serving 585 days inside until her successful appeal.
Series Three (May to July 2015)
13th May 2015 Danny Waldron shoots dead his childhood abuser Ronan Murphy and instigates a police cover-up, later torturing Linus Murphy – another abuser – to death
1st June 2015 Danny Waldron is fatally shot by PC Hari Bains, blackmailed by the OCG
13th July 2015 Danny Waldron’s funeral takes place
17th July 2015 Lindsay Denton is murdered by DI Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan, who attempts to frame Steve Arnott for the crime
18th July 2015 Dot sends an ‘Urgent exit required’ text to the OCG and is shot out of an AC-12 interview. Kate gives chase and Dot is killed saving her from an OCG bullet. She records his Dying Declaration giving clues to the identity of corrupt officers in league with the OCG
2016 Patrick Fairbank is transferred to Queen’s Chase Open Prison due to declining health
Series Four (March to May 2017)
11th November 2016 The dismembered corpse of sex worker Baswinder Kaur is found
25th January 2017 Leonie Collersdale, also a sex worker, goes missing
9th March 2017 Hana Reznikova is abducted as part of the OCG’s attempt to frame Michael Farmer for the Operation Trapdoor murders
17th March 2017 Roz Huntley hits her head at Tim Ifield’s flat and, thinking her dead, he makes plans to dispose of her corpse. She wakes up and in a struggle, accidentally kills Tim Ifield then attempts to cover it up by cutting off his fingers and disposing of his laptop and phone
4th May 2017 Hastings fatally shoots a ‘Balaclava Man’ attempting to extract and/or kill solicitor Jimmy Lakewell from AC-12 headquarters
5th May 2017 ACC Derek Hilton is found dead, supposedly a shotgun suicide but more likely murdered by the OCG. At a later date, Roz Huntley pleads guilty to the manslaughter of Tim Ifield and is sentenced to 10 years in HMP Brentiss Prison. Jimmy Lakewell pleads guilty to perverting the course of justice and is sentenced to HMP Blackthorn
Series Five (February to July 2019)
Late Dec 2018/Early Jan 2019 -Gill Biggeloe, working for the OCG, lies to John Corbett that Ted Hastings is the corrupt officer responsible for his mother’s death by the IRA. He records the conversation
22nd Jan 2019 Operation Pear Tree officially begins, implanting John Corbett in the OCG
15th Feb 2019 The OCG hijack a heroin shipment Eastfield Depot, murdering 3 corrupt police officers
23rd Feb 2019 PC Maneet Bindra is murdered by the OCG. RIP
27th Feb 2019 The OCG hijack a ballistics transport carrying firearms
4th March 2019 Lisa McQueen meets with DCS Hargreaves, whom she’s been blackmailing over his visits to an OCG-run illegal brothel
5th March 2019 The OCG raid the Eastfield Depot, John Corbett shoots Hargreaves dead
10th March 2019 Steve and Kate question Steph Corbett about John Corbett’s NI connections
12th March 2019 Ted Hastings visits Lee Banks at Blackthorn prison, John Corbett is murdered by Ryan Pilkington
14th March 2019 Patricia Carmichael of AC-3 interviews Ted Hastings over his alleged corruption after he poses as ‘H’ in an unofficial undercover op which results in the arrest of Lisa McQueen and the death of Miroslav Minkowicz. Lisa later makes an immunity deal and gets witness protection. Gill Biggeloe is found to be corrupt, arrested, and also ends up under witness protection
Late March 2019 Operation Pear Tree is concluded, finding no link between police corruption and organised crime. God, give me strength!
27th July 2019 Ryan Pilkington officially joins Central Police
Series Six (October 2020 – ?)
26th August 2019 Gail Vella interviews Lee Banks at HMP Blackthorn. He tells his brother Carl Banks that she’s investigating links between corrupt officers in the Lawrence Christopher murder and the Sands View child sex abuse ring
10th September 2019 Gail Vella is murdered outside her Moss Heath home
11th September 2019 Gail Vella was due to interview Patrick Fairbank at Queen’s Chase Open Prison
October 2019 DCI Jo Davidson is made SIO of the Gail Vella murder investigation
2nd or 3rd October 2019 Gail Vella’s funeral takes place
26th October 2020 CHIS Alistair Oldroyd phones his handler to say he heard ‘Ross Turner’ boasting of killing Gail Vella. Det Supt Buckells delays the operation to pick up the suspect until the next morning.
27th October 2020 1:23am: a burner phone found at PS Jatri’s home makes an outgoing call.
Operation Lighthouse is diverted to an armed robbery, causing more than two hours’ delay. Terry Boyle is found at Ross Turner’s address at Beechwood House and arrested on suspicion of murder. The freezer formerly containing Jackie Laverty’s corpse is dumped
29th October 2020 CHIS Alistair Oldroyd is found dead
2nd November 2020 Farida Jatri requests a transfer from MIT. She is replaced by PC Ryan Pilkington. Carl Banks’ corpse is discovered at an industrial site, the prints on the knife match those of Alistair Oldroy
4th November 2020 AC-12 tries to raid Hillside Lane Station but are sent back, then return later to seize the Operation Lighthouse files, some of which are missing and later found in DSU Buckells’ car
8th November 2020 Ryan follows Jo to her home address on Croxton Street
10th November 2020 Kate and Jo go for a drink at Frederico’s Bar, followed by Ryan
11th November 2020 PC Ryan Pilkington attempts to kill Terry Boyle, successfully drowning PC Lisa Patel by forcing the police car into Edge Park Reservoir
November 2020 A police convoy carrying witness Jimmy Lakewell comes under fire by the OCG. DI Arnott shoots a sniper. Lakewell is murdered in prison by OCG member Lee Banks. DNA deposits found at Farida Jatri’s home reveal that Jo Davidson is related to a significant nominal from a past investigation
End of November 2020 AC-12 is due to be merged with AC-3 and AC-9
30th January 2021 Ted Hastings, mother of God, is due to retire
Line of Duty continues on Sunday the 25th of April at 9pm on BBC One.