Eagle-eyed TV viewers were stunned recently after spotting a particular Line of Duty character in BBC's new gritty drama, Time - sparking a fan theory that the two shows are entwined.
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After noticing actor Brian McCardie - who plays Jackson Jones in Time and Tommy Hunter in Line of Duty - in the cast, plenty then took to social media, convinced that Tommy is not dead, as previously thought, but now doing time as a prisoner in the new show!
One person summed it up on Twitter: "The ghost of Tommy Hunter... they don't want to be messing with him #Time", as another joked: "John Corbett and Tommy Hunter are both in #time. Is this a #lineofduty origin story?"
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And now, the actor himself has even joined in the fun, revealing his reaction to the idea that Tommy has been reincarnated in the drama. Chatting to Radio Times, Brian began: "It's crazy, I did that job for two weeks nine years ago. I've since watched it grow into a cultural phenomenon."
He added: "Line Of Duty has obsessive fans and they've been speculating that Tommy Hunter's not really dead – he's alive and imprisoned in an entirely different show! Those tweets made me laugh. I suppose it's a compliment that Jed Mercurio still remembered me nearly a decade later."
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The Line of Duty star plays Jackson in new drama, Time
Die-hard Line of Duty fans will know that Tommy Hunter was killed off in series two but has been an ominous character from beyond the grave ever since. In Time, Brian once again plays a baddie in the form of Jackson, a gang leader in charge of orchestrating attacks and smuggling contraband into the cell block.
He frequently comes into contact with leading star Sean Bean's character Mark Cobden, who has been sentenced to four years inside after causing death by dangerous driving.
Time focuses on Mark's time inside and how he tries to atone for his previous behaviour and conviction. Also starring is fellow Line of Duty alum Stephen Graham as Eric McNally, the firm but fair prison officer in charge of keeping the inmates in line.
Time concludes on Sunday at 9pm on BBC one; all episodes available now on BBC iPlayer.
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