Belfast Telegraph

Record audience is captivated by Line of Duty finale

By Lucy Mapstone

Line Of Duty's thrilling fourth series ended on a high as the final episode scored the programme its largest audience yet.

The sixth and final instalment of the BBC police drama filmed in Northern Ireland was viewed by 7.5 million according to overnight ratings.

That was nearly one million more than the previous Sunday's episode at 6.6 million.

The figure for the finale, the highest overnight figure in the show's history, is expected to grow after viewers watching on catch-up are taken into account after seven days.

The fourth episode of the series, starring Thandie Newton, Martin Compston, Adrian Dunbar and Vicky McClure, has so far been the most successful after consolidated figures showed that 8.5 million fans tuned in overall after it scored an initial 5.7 million in the overnight ratings.

The previous three series of Line Of Duty, which aired on BBC Two, saw audiences peak at 5.6 million. Fans were left enthralled and shocked by the twist in the action-packed episode as the mysterious Balaclava Man was identified to be several people rather than just one culprit.

Viewers had been gripped for weeks over the identity of the murderer with almost every character a suspect over the course of the series.

But although Balaclava Man was shot dead by police, he was not named, and it became apparent he was working for a criminal network. Rather than one offender, there were "Balaclava Men, plural".

Following the broadcast, Line Of Duty writer Jed Mercurio has been praised by Maya Sondhi, who plays character PC Maneet Bindra.

She said that the cast are kept in the dark about the plot twists along with the audience, and that things are changing constantly throughout filming.

"He does write amazing twists and I think generally people love to be challenged. All the procedural stuff is interesting and detailed, you really have to pay attention," she added.

"I didn't see any of these episodes, I was watching it fresh, and obviously I knew the script and knew what I'd shot and a bit of what other people had shot, but you don't know how it is all cut together in the edit, so there were some surprises for me."

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