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Jed Mercurio has revealed the signs were there that dodgy copper Ian Buckells was H in Line Of Duty all the time.
The show's climax drew an audience of nearly 13 million on Sunday and we discovered exactly who the mastermind criminal was.
But the first clue was dropped in the very early days of the BBC cop drama, the show's writer has confessed.
He told the Obsessed with… Line of Duty podcast that it was "always really important to me" that the person behind the 'Fourth Man' was a part of the show from the very start.
Jed explained how he offered a sign the officer, played by Nigel Boyle, was bent way back in 2012.
Buckells allowed the caddy Dot Cottan to speak with Tommy Hunter alone in the back of a van – but even when re-watching for clues, very few stumbled across it.
He said: "It was always really important to me that it was someone who had been in season one, someone who had been there the whole time.
"We did introduce some characters late, so Thurwell came in late, we went back to Fairbank, who’d appeared in season three, we had the Chief Constable, who had obviously been there since season one.
"But then I don’t think he would have been a satisfying candidate because he had been absent for so long, it would feel like we’d just brought him back in to pin it on him.
"It was really about the heritage of the series, going all the way back to season one, where Dot Cottan says, "Oh, can I just have a quick word with Tommy Hunter in the back of the van?"
"Buckells goes, "Yeah, alright". OK, like, really, is that what you should be doing? Of course, not."
The series finale drew some criticism for an expectant fan base who wanted the last episode to go off with a bang.
But the actor who played Buckells compared the reveal to one of cinema's most iconic moments.
Nigel said he went "all Keyser Soze" – a reference to 1995 classic, The Usual Suspects, in which Kevin Spacey is revealed to have been the sinister gangster all along.
"I remember saying excitedly to my wife, 'Buckells goes all Keyser Soze!'" he told Radio Times.
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"In fact, I very nearly tweeted a Usual Suspects meme in the build-up to the finale.
"I really wanted to post that clip where Kevin Spacey suddenly straightens up and stops limping.
"Luckily, I thought better of it. Spoilers!"
- Line of Duty
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