Could Ryan Pilkington Turn Out To Be The Most Important Character In Line Of Duty?

Here’s where you’ve seen Ryan Pilkington before on Line Of Duty and why it matters.

Ryan Pilkington Line Of Duty

by Rebecca Holman |

Spoilers for season six, episode two of Line Of Duty below...

Ryan Pilkington played a crucial role in the latest episode of Line Of Duty - he appears several scenes as a new PC who appears to be working on DCI Davidson's Murder Investigation Team. DI Kate Fleming even asks where she's met him before, as she recognises Pilkington but can't place him. In the final scene of the episode, he appears to be in collusion with DCI Joanne Davidson, apparently confirming that both of them are in the payroll of Organised Crime Groups.

But Pilkington is much more than just another faceless bent copper (TM Ted Hastings) - he’s been popping up on Line Of Duty since the very beginning, and his presence in this season as an actual police officer shows just how deeply the Organised Crime Group (that’s OCG, hope you’re keeping up with your acronyms)’s infiltration of the East Midlands police force goes. Here’s where you’ve seen him before, and why it matters…

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Ryan Pilkington in Season one of Line Of Duty

In season one, Pilkington played a troubled young teenager working for Tommy Hunter and his organised crime syndicate. Despite his age, Pilkington is seen playing a pivotal role in the group’s crimes, planting evidence, suggesting that Jackie Laverty’s body is moved to Terry Boyle’s flat when he notices the size of his freezer (an event that has already been referenced once in this season of Line Of Duty) and sending a drug dealer to his death in order to save his own skin.

The police visit his house after one misdemeanour, and his mum is shown to be disinterested in his whereabouts. It’s also revealed that his hasn’t been to school in a. week.

Where has Steve Arnott met Ryan Pilkington before?

You’ll notice that the only person Pilkington seems particularly nervous about spotting him was the newly promoted Steve Arnott when he arrives at Hillside Lane Police Station to investigate DCI Davidson Operation Lighthouse.

You can see why he'd be nervous - the pair first met in season one when Arnott is kidnapped by the OCG. Pilkington holds the phone to Arnott’s head (he’s been tied up) so he can talk to Tommy Hunter. Enraged after Arnott tricks him into getting too close and head butts him, the boy tries to cut Arnott’s fingers off with a pair of bolt cutters. Grim.

After this incident, Pilkington is arrested, but after admitting stealing burner phones for Hunter, he’s released - presumably without charges.

READ MORE: All The Easter Eggs You May Have Missed From Episodes One And Two Of The New Season Of Line Of Duty

Ryan Pilkington in Season five of Line Of Duty

Ryan Pilkington is back in season five as part of the Organised Crime Gang that police officer John Corbett has infiltrated. He’s part of the group that hijack a police convoy, and he’s later heavily involved in the kidnap and murder of PC Maneet Bindra. Pilkington is also the one to kill John Corbett when he is revealed to be an undercover police officer.

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How did Ryan Pilkington become a police officer in Line Of Duty?

Because no reference was ever made to any charges being made against Pilkington, we have to assume he managed to escape the events of season one without a criminal record, which gave him the opportunity to enjoy the police force.

In season five, Pilkington references having a interview and says he needs to keep his head down. In the final episode he is shown attending an interview at the police college, where he says he was inspired by PC Simon Banerjee, the police officer who visited his home and tried to help him in season one. The season finale shows him at his passing out ceremony, having been accepted as a student police officer.

Does DI Kate Fleming recognise Ryan Pilkington?

Ryan Pilkington Line Of Duty

After Kate asked Ryan how she new him, he appeared to successfully brush her off. However, eagle-eyed fans spotted that later in the episode, Kate appeared to be looking Pilkington up on the police database. Proof that Kate's been deep undercover the whole time, or just that she can spot a bent copper at 20 paces?

Why is Ryan Pilkington a pivotal character in Line Of Duty?

Pilkington provides one of the only remaining through lines from the Organised Crime Group of season one, run by the now deceased Tommy Hunter, and the latest season. His trajectory from troubled kid on the street to inside man appears to match that of the originall Caddy - DI Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan, and if anyone knows who the fourth and final ‘H’ (senior police officer under the payroll of OCGs) is in the East Midlands Constabulary is, it’s Pilkington.

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