Who is Line of Duty's Ryan Pilkington?

Who is Line of Duty’s Ryan Pilkington? As the character returns for series six, Femail reveals what YOU need to know about the teenage thug-turned-police officer who first appeared in series one

  • Line of Duty character Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper) first seen in series 1
  • Took part in the torture of DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) in a violent scene
  • By series 5 he was a grown criminal and killed John Corbett (Stephen Graham)
  • Infiltrated the police and is working alongside DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure)

Line Of Duty viewers were sent into a frenzy when criminal-turned police officer PC Ryan Pilkington returned in last night’s episode. 

PC Pilkington, as he is now known, has come a long way from the violent teenage thug first introduced in series one.  

Then working for OCG (Organised Crime Group) member Tommy Hunter, Ryan memorably tried to cut off DS Steve Arnott’s fingers with a pair of bolt cutters.

He’s back! Line Of Duty viewers were sent into a frenzy when criminal-turned police officer PC Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper) returned in last night’s episode, pictured

Criminal past: First introduced in series one, by series five (pictured), Pilkington was a fully-fledged OCG member working alongside the likes of Lee Banks (Alastair Natkiel), right, and John Corbett (Stephen Graham), left, an undercover officer known as John Clayton

He was next seen in series five, by which point he had graduated to a fully-fledged OCG member and killed undercover officer John Corbett by slitting his throat.

Now a PC working alongside DI Kate Fleming in MIT (Major Incident Team), viewers anticipate Pilkington will play an important role in the series. 

So whether you are new to Line Of Duty or a regular who needs a refresh, here is everything you need to know about Ryan Pilkington… 

SERIES ONE: VIOLENT TEENAGE THUG

Teenage thug: Ryan has been a part of the show since the second episode of series one, when he was seen carrying out OCG business on the rundown and lawless Borogrove Estate

Unrepentant: Ryan was involved in the kidnap of DCI Anthony Gates (Lennie James) and later the torture of DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) but did not receive a criminal record

Will he be recognised by Terry Boyle? 

In both series one and series five, Ryan is seen interacting with Terry Boyle, a man with Down’s syndrome who is ruthlessly exploited by the OCG. 

He mocks and ridicules Boyle in series five, describing him as his ‘best friend’.

Boyle has also returned in series six, opening up the possibility that him and Ryan might come into contact with each other.

Could it be Boyle who blows Ryan’s cover? 

Connection: Ryan has a long history with Terry Boyle, who is also back for series six

Ryan has been a part of the show since the second episode of series one, when he was seen carrying out OCG business on the rundown and lawless Borogrove Estate. 

Then just 12 years old, it marked the TV debut for actor Gregory Piper, who continues to play the role today. 

Raised by a single mother who neglected him, Ryan was recruited into the OCG by Tommy Hunter (Brian McCardle). 

As a young teenager, his task within the group was to steal mobile phones and work as a courier, providing blackmailed individuals with untraceable burner phones in order to receive their orders from Hunter. 

He was also involved in the kidnap of DCI Anthony Gates (Lennie James) and later the torture of DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston). 

After being angered by Arnott, Ryan showed his ruthlessness by trying to remove the desperate police officer’s fingers with a pair of bolt cutters. 

After being arrested, the teenager was taken to a police station where he admitted to stealing phones for Hunter and his associates but denied involvement in Arnott’s kidnap and torture.  

Throughout the series PC Simon Bannerjee (Neet Mohan) tried to be a positive influence on Ryan’s life and left him with his card. 

Ryan did not receive a criminal record as a result of his actions, meaning he was able to go on and apply for the police academy at the end of series five, when he also leveraged his connection to PC Bannerjee.  

SERIES FIVE: FULLY-FLEDGED MEMBER OF THE OCG  

Graduated: By then in his early 20s, Pilkington reappeared in the first episode of series five as part of the OCG unit who attacked and hijacked a drugs convoy and gunned down police officers. Pictured centre with other members of the criminal gang in series five

Groundwork: In episode five Ryan told McQueen that he had ‘passed his exams’ (above) and had an interview. In episode six it was revealed that this was to become a police officer

Infiltrated: In the series finale Ryan was seen speaking to the interview board at the Police College about his reasons for becoming an officer and cited PC Bannerjee as his inspiration. It became clear he had been accepted into the Police College in the final moments (above)

By then in his early 20s, Pilkington reappeared in the first episode of series five as part of the OCG unit who attacked and hijacked a drugs convoy and gunned down police officers. 

He worked alongside Lisa McQueen (Rochenda Sandall), Miroslav Minkowicz (Tomi May), Lee Banks (Alastair Natkiel) and John Corbett (Stephen Graham), an undercover officer known as John Clayton.

Pilkington was involved in the kidnap and murder of PC Maneet Bindra (Maya Sondhi), holding her still while Banks slit her throat. 

In the background of various OCG meetings and operations, Pilkington’s big moment came in episode four when he killed Corbett after McQueen worked out he was a rat. 

The following episode, he told McQueen that he had ‘passed his exams’ and had an interview scheduled. In episode six it was revealed that this was to become a police officer. 

In the series finale Ryan was seen speaking to the interview board at the Police College about his reasons for becoming an officer and cited PC Bannerjee as his inspiration. 

SERIES SIX: OCG MEMBER WHO HAS INFILTRATED THE POLICE

The return: After the end of series five, regular Line Of Duty viewers were anticipating Pilkington’s return at some point this series. It came last night, when PC Pilkington was drafted in as PS Farida Jatri’s (Anneika Rose) replacement after she is transferred to another team

Eager to please: PC Pilkington presented himself as eager to please, offering to make his superior cups of tea and apparently working hard to help the investigation (above)

Onto him? DI Fleming clearly recognised his face but was unable to place him. She even asked him later in the episode if they had ever worked together, but he politely dodged the question. However it seems Kate was not convinced by Pilkington’s assurance that they had not crossed paths before – at one moment she was seen bringing up his service record on her computer

After the end of series five, regular Line Of Duty viewers were anticipating Pilkington’s return at some point this series. 

It came last night, when PC Pilkington was drafted in as PS Farida Jatri’s (Anneika Rose) replacement after she is transferred to another team. 

Now working alongside DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and DCI Joanne Davidson (Kelly Macdonald), PC Pilkington was first seen at the scene of Carl Banks’ murder. 

DI Fleming clearly recognised his face but was unable to place him. She even asked him later in the episode if they had ever worked together, but he politely dodged the question. 

PC Pilkington presented himself as eager to please, offering to make his superior cups of tea and apparently working hard to help the investigation.  

However he did have a moment of panic when the recently promoted DI Arnott arrived with his team of AC-12 investigators, obviously concerned the officer would recognise him as the teenager who had tortured him all those years ago. 

It also seems Kate was not convinced by Pilkington’s assurance that they had not crossed paths before – at one point she was seen bringing up his service record on her computer screen.  

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