EXCLUSIVE: Robert Lindsay Exits BBC Two’s ‘Line Of Duty’, Mark Bonnar To Assume Role

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UPDATE, 17:18 PM: Sources now tell me that following Lindsay’s departure Scottish actor Mark Bonnar has assumed the role of Deputy Chief Constable Mike Dryden, who, following an ambush which leaves three police officers dead, takes personal charge of the case and assigns anti-corruption unit AC-12 to get to the bottom of the matter. Bonnar’s previous credits include Shetland, Silent Witness and The Paradise. The BBC has yet to confirm this piece of casting news, but I’m now hearing it from two different sources.

EXCLUSIVE, 17:03 PM: It’s been hailed as one of BBC Two’s best dramas, but this time, it seems, most of that drama is occurring behind the camera rather than in front. I’ve confirmed that My Family and Spy star Robert Lindsay will no longer appear in the second season of BBC Two’s Line of Duty. I understand that Lindsay recently left the production and sources tell me that World Productions is now looking for an actor to replace Lindsay on the series.

I first received word over the weekend that Lindsay would no longer appear on the series and I’ve spent the better part of the past 24 hours trying to pin down the facts. Almost everyone that I have spoken to has described the departure of Lindsay as coming after some “strife” on set. I’m told that there were some clashes and, production sources tell me, it was at this point they decided a change had to be made. And while one source told me that Lindsay had been dismissed from the production others tell me that it was, in fact, a mutual decision. I reached out to representatives of the BBC, Robert Lindsay and World Productions for comment. Only the BBC chose to respond, with a spokesperson issuing the following statement: “Owing to mutual creative differences Robert Lindsay will no longer be appearing in Line of Duty series two.”

Created by Jed Mercurio, Line of Duty follows anti-corruption unit AC-12 as they carry out a multi-stranded investigation into the conduct of police officers. The show’s second season opens with the ambush of a police convoy in which three police officers are killed and a protected witness is seriously injured. The sole surviving police officer is Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes). Deputy Chief Constable Mike Dryden takes personal charge, assigning AC-12 to the case. Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), Detective Constable Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) are joined by newly-appointed Detective Constable Georgia Trotman (Jessica Raine) to investigate a complex case rich in unexpected twists and turns. Initially AC-12’s most valuable witness, the suspicion soon arises that DI Denton could be their prime suspect. The drama series is produced by World Productions, with Peter Norris serving as the series producer. Douglas MacKinnon and Daniel Nettheim are directing.

The departure comes just as production is entering full swing on location in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and little more than a month after the BBC announced the casting of Lindsay as Deputy Chief Constable Mike Dryden, a key character in the show’s six episode second season. There is no word yet on who is being considered to take over the role, but I’ll update when I hear more…