Line of Duty regular cast members.

In the upcoming fourth season Thandie Newton will be taking centre stage as Line of Duty’s chief antagonist.

The creator of the hit cop show Line of Duty – which returns to ITV Choice (DStv Channel 123) on Thursday, May 18 at 20:00 – has said that the killing of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes in the London Underground in 2005, inspired him to first write the hit show.

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Thandie Newton joins Line on Duty

Jed Mercurio has said it was the tragic shooting of the 27-year-old by police, who mistook him for a suicide bomber, that inspired him to create the fictional anti-corruption unit AC-12.

Mercurio told British media: “The police at the scene genuinely believed de Menezes was a suicide bomber. They got within a few feet of him fearing he could blow them to bits, but they did it anyway, to protect the public. But at the inquest the police didn’t trust the public to judge them fairly. The coroner even referred to the lies of two police witnesses. It took guts for those officers to board that train – courage that most of us don’t have – and they deserve our respect and admiration. But the lies dishonoured the service.”

Jed Mercurio

He says his intention with the show was never about police bashing.

“With Line of Duty viewers can root for the hero and they can root for the villain, because ultimately the difference between the two can boil down to a couple of bad decisions.”

In the upcoming fourth season Thandie Newton will be taking centre stage as Line of Duty’s chief antagonist, following in the footsteps of Lennie James, Daniel Mays and Keeley Hawes.

The Zimbabwean born actress plays DCI Roz Huntley, who will find herself under suspicion from anti-police corruption unit AC-12 when concerns are raised over the handling of an investigation.

Roz has been described as AC-12’s “most devious opponent yet” as the team try to get to the truth of the matter and cut through the lies and cover-ups by their fellow officers. Series regulars Martin Compston, Adrian Dunbar and Vicky McClure will be back fighting the good fight in the new fourth season of Line of Duty.

Before Line of Duty, Mercurio – who is a qualified doctor – created the medical dramas Cardiac Arrest and Bodies.

Line of Duty has been a hit around the world. A fifth and sixth season have already been commissioned.

Line of Duty IV airs on Thursday, 18 May at 20:00 on ITV Choice (DStv Channel 123).