Line Of Duty's top 'H' suspects from Ted Hastings to Jo Davidson — as series six reaches its gripping finale

IT’S building up for the biggest showdown on British TV in decades – will Line Of Duty’s anti-corruption heroes finally nail the mysterious criminal mastermind “H”?

Fans of the long-running police drama breathed a sigh of relief last night as they saw DI Kate Fleming survive her armed stand-off with rogue PC Ryan Pilkington.

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But the detective, played by Vicky McClure, is far from out of the woods as the hunt for the bent high-level copper pulling the strings continued.

With just next Sunday’s final episode to come, the list of suspects is still long.

Could it be AC-12 boss Ted Hastings himself? He still has questions to answer about that fishy £50,000 gift.

But DCS Patricia Carmichael, played by Anna Maxwell Martin, seemed suspicious as she stopped Ted (Adrian Dunbar) asking too many probing questions about her own shady boss Philip Osborne, who has a history of lies and cover-ups.

New arrival Marcus Thurwell, played by surprise inclusion James Nesbitt, has his own secrets to explain, as does dodgy Det Supt Ian Buckells, played by Nigel Boyle.

And while crooked murder squad chief Jo Davidson (Kelly Macdonald) took the blame for DI Fleming shooting Pilkington last night, will she go rogue again?

As the sixth series reaches its gripping finale, we look at the suspects still in the firing line.

1. Supt Ted Hastings

HE’S been acting very strangely, and last night appeared to have a meltdown in a lift.

Perhaps he senses a net closing in around him.

The boss of AC-12 could just be hell-bent on saving his department and job, of course, but the fact he gave DI John Corbett’s widow £50,000 in cash is decidedly fishy, particularly as he did not tell anyone about the gift.

So is the fact he appears to have told gangster Lee Banks the information that saw undercover cop Corbett killed in the first place.

There could be a plausible explanation, but we are yet to hear one.

DI Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) is already deeply suspicious of his boss, and DI Fleming now seems to be feeling the same way.

But could the man who has devoted his life to catching bent coppers really be one?

2. DCS Patricia Carmichael

LOATHED by fans since she first appeared towards the end of series five, the high-ranking police boss was just as hated when she returned last week.

But there is also reason to suspect she might be the villain of the piece.

For starters, she is a disciple of dodgy Chief Constable Philip Osborne, and has every reason to do his bidding as he has just appointed her chief of the newly merged anti-corruption units.

During the interview with Acting DS Jo Davidson,   Carmichael seemed determined to stop Hastings asking any questions about her boss.

And it was her orders to remove surveillance on PC Ryan Pilkington that allowed DI Fleming to be lured to wasteland in the fifth episode, where she narrowly escaped with her life after a gun fight.

3. CC Philip Osborne

WE already know the Chief Constable (Owen Teale) is a bare-faced liar after he instigated a cover-up over the fatal shooting of an innocent man in series one.

It was that botched incident that saw DI Arnott — who refused to lie about the failed anti-terror raid — join AC-12 in the first place.

But now it has emerged that journalist Gail Vella — whose murder forms the central plot of this series — was investigating another suspiciously botched investigation involving Osborne.

That crime also involved the son of mob boss Tommy Hunter, an AC-12 suspect, that led to a cover-up of who the guilty people were.

A bid to cover his tracks would certainly explain why Osborne is now trying to get Hastings out the door and knobble the anti-corruption units.

4. DCI Marcus Thurwell

MURDERED journalist Gail was investigating two cases involving police corruption — and dodgy Marcus was involved in both of them.

The idea that DCI Thurwell is a major villain diminished when he did not actually appear in person — only his photo was shown — in last night’s episode.

During the AC-12 investigation into the Sands View paedophile ring in 2015 he was briefly pursued as a suspect.

But he could still make a grand  entrance in next week’s finale and be  revealed as the criminal mastermind.

The fact Davidson’s messages were tracked back to Spain, where Thurwell has been living in retirement, seems to incriminate him.

And that is before we even consider why two dead bodies were found in his villa during a police raid seen last night.

5. Acting Det Supt Jo Davidson

SHE is definitely a seriously corrupt copper, but the question now is whether she is genuinely bent or just being forced to do the criminals’ bidding because of her troubled family history.

Last night we saw her harrowing interview with AC-12, where they detailed how her uncle — twisted villain Tommy Hunter — is also her father, after he raped his own sister when she was 15.

We also learned that when Hunter started trying to groom Davidson to work as his plant in the force, it drove her mother to suicide.

The fact that she put her prints on DI Fleming’s gun after she shot Pilkington and told Carmichael that it was her who shot him suggests she has a good heart and is not a ruthless villain like her father.

But could it all be a ruse — and has she been the main baddie all along?

6. Det Supt Ian Buckells

HE seems like a bit of a buffoon, but the former head of the murder investigation team probing Gail’s death could just be playing the fool.

Det Supt Buckells was involved in the botched investigation into the racist killing of Lawrence Christopher, which also involved Osborne and Thurwell.

And we have already seen he is in league with the criminals, as he played his part in allowing jailed lawyer Jimmy Lakewell to be garrotted in prison as a suspected rat.

But Davidson did say she had made him look guilty of botching the raid on mobsters at the start of this series, suggesting he is less of a major player than her.

As with all six central suspects, we will not know the full extent of his guilt or innocence until that final closing scene.

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