These are the best theories about Line of Duty series six

Daniella Scott
·13-min read
Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

The finale to season 5 of Line of Duty left us with as many questions as it did answers. Who is H? Who was the OCG actually talking to on that laptop? Will anyone ever be questioned by an officer one rank senior? We're desperate for answers and while we're waiting for series 6 to provide them, we're thankful that dutiful fans have gone out of their way to give us something to hold onto.

Here are the best theories about Line of Duty series 6.

Ryan Pilkington killed Gail Vella

The focus of this series is the murder of journalist Gail Vella, which Jo Davidson's team was investigating. While a lot of the focus has been on a suspect named Karl Banks, one fan theory suggests it's actually OCG member and new police officer Ryan Pilkington who is responsible for Vella's death.

Firstly, one fan noticed what appeared to be some quite specific camera work. At one moment Davidson says there were some details in the case that had been overlooked, including a burglary, at which point the camera quickly focuses on Pilkington. Again, when Kate says the words, "discharged the fatal shot" the camera again goes to Pilkington. Coincidence?

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Meanwhile, others picked up on the way he threatened Davidson outside her flat during episode 4, in which he pressed a gun directly against her head using the same 'hard contact technique' that was used in the murder of Gail Vella. It's all pretty convincing.

Patricia Carmichael is 'H'

Episode 5 saw the return of DCI Patricia Carmichael, the AC-3 officer who questioned Ted Hastings last season over the death of undercover officer John Corbett. She's pretty brutal and it's basically always bad news when she walks through the door. So it's not a huge surprise that fans have started to wonder if she could be the mysterious 'H' we've been searching for all these years.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

The theory first came about after Jimmy Lakewell's tip to Steve Arnott in which he told him "look into the race claim," and one fan quickly deciphered that 'race claim' with an 'H' added is an anagram of 'Carmichael'.

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Meanwhile, others have pointed out that Carmichael has always seemed pretty against Hastings and the whole AC-12 team, and seems even more so now that the team is closer than ever to unmasking 'H'.

Plus, previous theories have floated the idea that 'H' will likely be a woman, since everyone seems so intent on making the automatic and very sexist assumption that it has to be a man. So, this theory might just work...?

DC Chloe Bishop is Tony Gates' daughter

DC Chloe Bishop, played by Our Girl star Shalom Brune-Franklin, has just joined AC-12 at the start of the sixth series. She's clearly very on it and has already won the respect of both Hastings and Arnott, but fans are convinced there's more to Chloe than meets the eye.

Back in season one when we were trying to work out how Tony Gates was going to get himself out of that Jackie-Laverty-in-a-fridge mess, you might have noticed that he mentioned having two daughters with his wife Jools, Natalie and (you guessed it) Chloe. Well, one fan theory goes that DC Bishop is actually Tony's daughter using her mother's name, with many suggesting that DC Bishop would be roughly the same sort of age as Tony's daughter Chloe would be now.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

PCC Rohan Sindwhani is 'H'

Series six has been a huge drama already. Episode three in particular has got lots of viewers convinced that PCC Rohan Sindwhani is the notorious 'H' AC-12 has been searching for all these years.

Sindwhani was originally brought into Central Police as the new Police and Crime Commissioner sometime between series four and five. His job is to oversee the smooth-running of the police force, which includes dealing with scandals and stamping out corruption, but as we know... that hasn't been going so well. His apparent dislike of AC-12 and treatment of Ted Hastings that have got people thinking he's not to be trusted, along with the fact that he made a few suspicious comments during episode three.

In the latest episode Hastings goes to speak with Sindwhani and DCC Andrea Wise in her office, because the higher ups aren't happy with AC-12's arrest and release of DCI Jo Davidson and the subsequent arrest of Farida Jatri. Sindwhani even tells Hastings, "I’ve had to call in favours from half a dozen editors to keep this out of the press."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Along with this Sindwhani also raised eyebrows when he reiterated his lie from series five, that institutional corruption between the OCG and the police force doesn't exist. He says to Hastings, "Operation Peartree concluded there is no institutional corruption in this force", before adding perhaps the most suspicious line of the whole scene, "You’re making this quite difficult for me."

Also in the episode we were shown a clip of him storming out of an interview with murdered journalist Gail Vella after she asked him why high ranking police officers who were found to be child abusers were not brought to justice. And if that weren't suspicious enough, others were quick to point out that his right hand person was the very corrupt OCG involved Gill Biggeloe. Yikes.

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John Corbett's wife is connected to 'H'

There are so many 'H' theories it's hard to know where to start, but this recent one has definitely got fans talking. During episode three Steve Arnott goes to see Steph Corbett the widow of undercover officer John Corbett who was murdered by OCG member Ryan Pilkington (more on him later).

While Steve chats to Steph in the kitchen of her house some very observant viewers spotted a bit of incriminating tiling going on in the background; specifically there appeared to be a single 'H' pattern in one of the tiles behind Steve's right shoulder.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Naturally, fans have started theorising as to what this could mean and most people are pretty convinced that it means one of two things; either Steve is 'H', or the hint serves as a warning to Steve about Steph, suggesting that she could be 'H' or at least that she is connected to the OCG in some way.

It does seem like a pretty odd coincidence and as we've finally learned after six seasons, there simply are no coincidences in Line of Duty.

DCI Jo Davidson and John Corbett are connected

DCI Joanne Davidson (played by Kelly Macdonald) has taken centre stage in the sixth series, thanks to her suspicious conduct in Gail Vella's murder case. One scene in particular that caught fans attention came when Joanne threw a wine glass at her sideboard, which had a family photo on top of it. Eagle-eyed viewers have spotted similarities between the older woman in the photo and John Corbett's - the undercover officer involved in the OCG in series five - birth mother, Anne-Marie McGillis.

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DS Buckells is connected to Dot and the OCG

As we all know in Line of Duty everything means something, it's an over-thinkers paradise.So when fans spotted a set of golf clubs in Detective Superintendent Ian Buckell's office during episode one of season 6, they instantly went into overdrive theorising about possible connections to Matthew 'Dot' Cottan, aka 'The Caddy' who made his way into Tommy Hunter's criminal underworld by serving as his golf caddy as a teenager.

It might seem like the theories have gone too far, until you consider that we've actually met DS Buckells before, first in series one when he was assigned to work on the Jackie Laverty case by none other than Superintendent Derek Hilton, who was later revealed as (all together now) a bent copper and high-ranking member of the OCG.

Buckells then returning in season four, to replace DCI Roz Huntley after she was removed from Operation Trapdoor. He quickly recognised Fleming (who was undercover at this time) and made no secret of his disdain for AC-12 and anti-corruption, saying he was "no grass".

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It's Line of Duty, so we're used to the fact that everything means something. Can golf clubs be a coincidence? It seems unlikely especially when you consider his previous stance which was very anti-anti-corruption. Seems pretty corrupt, right?

'H' might not actually be part of a name

We've spent the better part of two years suspiciously eyeing anyone with an 'h' in their name, and who can blame us? AC-12 has been doing it too, ever since Dot's dying declaration (more on that later) seemingly exposed someone named H as being the key to the whole thing. But, in classic Mercurio fashion, things aren't always what they seem.

Speaking to Radio Times series creator Jed Mercurio explained that although we have always been led to believe that H is someone with a 'h' in their name, that's actually not necessarily the case, and H could still turn out to be someone with a completely unrelated name.

"We've had to get smarter – we know the power that particular letter now has within the fictional universe," Mercurio explains. "Stephen Graham’s character in season five was called John Corbett, but there's a way that Corbett could have been known as H if we wanted to go that way."

Mercurio explains that for Corbett 'H' could have been a nickname given to him by friends, "It’s built-in in case we need to go there."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Now, don't panic, but what this means is that every character we discounted from the hunt for H because of their name could actually still be H. Square one is such a fun place to be, isn't it?

Kate Fleming is 'H'

Reddit is absolutely teeming with 'Kate-is-H' theories along with just as many responses from people who can't bear the thought. The basis of the theory comes mostly from the idea that Kate is so squeaky clean it's too good to be true. Both Ted Hastings and Steve Arnott had some bad behaviour in their histories: from Steve's actions with Lindsay Denton in season's 2 and 3 to Hastings' questionable financial conduct, but Kate appears to have an unusually spotless record, leading some viewers to think she could be H, or at least involved with the OCG (Organised Crime Group).

One Reddit user claimed that show creators have been hinting at this with all the references to nights when she was late home, suggesting she was out doing criminal dealings. While another suggested that Hastings has already worked out that Kate is corrupt and is simply waiting for the perfect moment to out her.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Dot is still alive

Some believe that one of the twists of series 6 will be a past character being revealed to still be alive, and that if anyone is coming back from the dead, it'll be DI Matthew 'Dot' Cottan. Not only was he a hugely popular character with fans, but the identification of H seems to hinge almost entirely on his dying declaration from series three, plus we never actually had Dot's death confirmed and in Jed Mercurio's world we need that kind of proof.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Many fans weren't keen on the Morse code theory which AC-12 devised from the video of Dot's dying declaration. Instead lots of them believe that Mercurio is messing with viewers and Dot will return in series 6 to clarify that his declaration was misinterpreted as meaning "H" when actually he was trying to tell Kate there were four caddies.

Dot's dying declaration has been tampered with

As mentioned above, fans have long been discussing various theories about Dot's dying declaration. It's probably 60% of the internet (okay fine, 50%), but there's one character listed in the series 6 cast that has brought a particular theory to the fore.

An actor named Patrick Buchanan is listed as appearing in the first episode of the new season as AFO Briggs (meaning Authorised Firearms Officer), and according to one very observant fan on Reddit his presence could be proof that Dot's dying declaration has been edited, something fans have been suggesting for years.

"AFO Briggs was the officer that arrived while Kate was taking Dot’s Dying Declaration and it was filmed on his BodyCam. It’s been theorised that there are 2 versions of the declaration and it may have been tampered with."

Gill Biggeloe is 'H'

For a lot of us, finding out who H is has quickly become our life's work, and we are completely indebted to the people of Reddit for coming up with this very plausible theory that it's the one and only Gill Biggeloe.

The theory rests on the following six points:

  • H is likely to be a character we have already met and know well in order for it to have impact.

  • If you look at her actions from the basis that she is H, everything she did makes sense. Everything she did served the OCG in some way. Additionally, she has access to the department's most sensitive information but isn't a police officer, leaving her in AC-12's blind spot.

  • There has been an undercurrent of sexism running through the series, and it's something Gill herself brought up in series 5. It would be the perfect middle finger to all of it if a woman turned out to be the head of the OCG.

  • The OCG has used DNA in the past to blackmail police officers, so it's pretty convenient that Gill happens to have slept with Hastings.

  • During his dying declaration Dot was actually trying to communicate the letter 'G', which comes right before 'H' in the alphabet. Which we could assume to be 'G' for Gill.

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