Line of Duty is one of the country’s best loved TV shows. It’s tense, intricate storylines have kept viewers gripped since it started in 2012, with many of them inspired by some of Britain’s biggest crimes.
In the latest episode, fans spotted a connection between the episode and two famous cases of real racially motivated attacks and victims – Stephen Lawrence and Christopher Alder.
Using the character name Lawrence Christopher, a murder victim appeared in the show, whose story had similarities to both real-life cases, reports the Mirror . His character was attacked by a group of white youths at a train station before police were called.
Assuming the attack was linked to gang activity, officers took the dazed trainee architect into police custody, where he sadly died from an untreated skull fracture.
In keeping with Christopher Alder’s racist treatment in police custody, the character was also mocked by police officers, who jeered at him making monkey noises.
Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio has been known to take inspiration from real-life crimes before, in the show’s six series.
Stephen was killed in an unprovoked attack whilst waiting for a bus in 1993.
The 18-year-old aspiring architect was stabbed several times in Eltham, South East London before bleeding to death. Despite tip offs, no one was charged.
It took almost four years for an inquest to rule that the teenager had died in a racist attack at the hands of five white youths. In July 1997, the Macpherson Report found the probe into his death faced “institutional racism and a failure of leadership”.
In 2012, David Norris and Gary Dobson were found guilty of Stephen’s murder and jailed for life. Two others have been jailed for drug dealing while one has remained free.
During episode two of the current series, Steve and Chloe visit a former producer who is planning a podcast, inspired by a real-life one based on the murder of a private investigator.
Back in 1987 in Sydenham, South East London, Daniel Morgan was attacked with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub. When his body was discovered, the murder weapon was still embedded in his skull.
The Untold podcast, presented by author Peter Jukes and the victim’s older brother Alistair Morgan aims to shed new light on the case, and give new momentum in the quest for justice.
It suggests Daniel was close to exposing police corruption at the time, with the case remaining unsolved.
With no witnesses and numerous failed investigations at a cost of around £30 million, it seems an uphill challenge.
Christopher Alder died in police custody in 1998, when he was aged 37. The Falklands war hero was punched in a pub, cracking his head on the kerb.
Humberside Police took him to hospital before arresting him. Officers were captured in footage mocking him, and making monkey noises as he lay dying.
Though tried for manslaughter and misconduct, five officers were acquitted.
In 2004, four officers involved with the case were granted early retirement due to stress and were given payouts of more than £44,000 as well as police pensions, similar to the officers in Sunday’s episode.
Disgraced TV star Jimmy Savile was referenced in Line of Duty in series three, in a central storyline on child sex abuse.
But the case was revisited again this series as AC-12 reviewed the work of murdered journalist Gail Vella who had reported on the conviction of Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank – a character who had fictional links to Savile.
In the report, Vella said: “We now realise what Savile was getting out of those relationships with senior police officers, but what remains unknown, and un-investigated, is what those officers were getting out of their relationship with Savile.”
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Danny Hunter, one of Lawrence Christopher’s suspected killers, is discovered to be the son of Organised Crime Group leader Tommy Hunter in Line of Duty.
It has haunting echoes of one of Stephen Lawrence’s killers, David Norris, whose dad Clifford was said to be a key figure in London’s underworld.
Clifford Norris has always denied being involved with any corrupt coppers, and was convicted of smuggling cannabis worth £1.3million in 1995 and sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in prison.
Daphne Caruana Galizia
The central case in this series of the programme is around the fictional murder of journalist Gail Vella, and has been confirmed by writer Jed Mercurio to be based on a real life crime.
In 2017, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated after breaking stories about government corruption, allegations of money laundering and organised crime in the country.
Despite threats, she refused to back down, and was killed in 2017 after a bomb was detonated in her car near her house. Three men were accused of the murder, with one, Vincent Muscat pleading guilty to the crime. He was jailed for 15 years.
Sir Cliff Richard
Back in the second episode of the current series, reference was made to the BBC filming a police raid of an elderly pop star’s home.
Fans immediately linked it to the case of Sir Cliff Richard as old footage of one of Gail Vella’s reports was played, saying: “Instead of pursuing the guilty police officers, your constabulary investigated celebrities and VIPs all without charge.
Officers arguably colluded with the BBC in enabling a news helicopter to film the search of an elderly pop star’s home, again, without charge.”
Fans immediately clocked the links to the case of Sir Cliff Richard, after false sexual assault claims led to police raiding his Berkshire home in 2014.
At the time, the BBC aired helicopter footage of the raid. Sir Cliff sued for invasion of privacy, winning £210,000 damages and £2million costs.
Viewers of Line of Duty have drawn parallels between the murder of Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando in 1999 and the fictional murder of journalist Gail Vella.
Both Jill Dando and Gail Vella were killed with a single gunshot wound to the head, outside their homes, believed to have been inflicted by a lone gunman.
In the real-life case of Jill Dando, police followed a theory that the culprit was an obsessed fan, leading them to investigate Barry George, who lived near her West London home.
He was found guilty of the murder of Dando in 2001, but his conviction was overturned on appeal seven years later.
In the fictionalised television series, a suspect in the Vella case, Terry Boyle had her articles on the wall in his flat, just as George had cuttings about Jill.
Watch season 6 of Line of Duty every Sunday at 9pm on BBC One.