Who is Terry Boyle in 'Line of Duty'?

Terry Boyle and Ryan Pilkington in Line of Duty
Terry Boyle is played by actor Tommy Jessop. (Image credit: BBC)

Terry Boyle has been being manipulated and controlled by Line of Duty’s organised crime group (OCG) since Jed Mercurio’s twisty crime drama first started way back in 2012.

Like Ryan Pilkington, Terry returned to the show as a major character in Season 6. Need a refresher on what the OCG have made Terry do? Read on! 

Who plays Terry Boyle?

Terry Boyle has been portrayed by two actors. In Line of Duty Season 1, he was played by Elliott Rosen. Since Terry’s return in Season 5, Tommy Jessop has played the role. 

Actor Tommy Jessop has also appeared in BBC One drama Coming Down the Mountain, as well as Doctors, Casualty, Monroe and Holby City

Who is Terry Boyle?

Terry Boyle is a vulnerable adult with Down’s Syndrome who has been exploited by the OCG for their criminal activities for years.

In Season 1, we saw a young Ryan Pilkington arrive at Terry’s council flat in Dorton Villas with two other young people. Terry allows them into his home, offering them fizzy drinks and crisps, but the trio begins tormenting him. Ryan takes the opportunity to scout out Terry’s flat for the OCG.

Two men working for the OCG arrive at his flat, dragging two black suitcases behind them. When Terry opens the door, they push past him to hide Jackie Laverty’s body and the knife containing Tony Gates’ fingerprints inside Terry’s freezer.

Terry reports the incident as a break-in. PC Karen Larkin and PC Simon Banerjee respond to his call. Terry begins to explain what happened, but gets confused over the event and recounts Ryan’s visit instead. Larkin fakes a “secret signal” so that the two can leave the flat as she doesn’t believe anything serious occurred.

What has the OCG made Terry Boyle do?

In season 5, it becomes clear that the OCG have continued to exploit Terry Boyle all these years, making him act as an informant. 

In episode 4, Ryan takes Lisa McQueen and Miroslav to his flat opposite Kingsgate Printing Services. There, they attempt to get info from Terry over the police raid on the print shop, whilst Ryan and Miroslav joke about Jackie Laverty’s body still being stored in Terry’s freezer all these years. 

Terry explains that he forgets things, but takes photos to compensate. Lisa takes his phone, and finds photos that clearly identify Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) and Steve Arnott (Martin Compston). This revelation confirms Lisa’s growing suspicions that there is a rat working with the police within their criminal gang.

Terry Boyle Line of Duty season 5

Terry Boyle in Line of Duty Season 5. (Image credit: BBC)

Is Terry Boyle a criminal?

In Line of Duty season 6, the OCG is attempting to use Terry Boyle as a scapegoat for Gail Vella’s murder. Acting on evidence given by informant Alistair Oldroyd, police raid a flat at Beechwood House in episode one. They're searching for a man who goes by the name "Ross Turner", but they just find Terry Boyle inside instead, alongside a lot of photos and clippings of Gail Vella.

He is arrested by armed police and brought in for questioning over Gail Vella's murder. During his interview, Terry's solicitor confirms that Terry does not live at Beechwood House, but at his Kinsgate residence. 

Police go to that flat and find it suspiciously clean save for more photos of Gail Vella that contain traces of Terry's semen, traces of drugs, a piece of Terry's clothing containing gunshot residue and a missing fridge-freezer (removed by the OCG due to it containing traces of Jackie Laverty's body). DCI Jo Davidson (Kelly MacDonald) suggests he could be a crazed fan who stalked her and then murdered Gail out of frustration because he couldn't be with her.

Although later evidence found at Beechwood House begins to point towards Carl Banks, a known OCG associate, Terry is thrown under the bus a second time in episode 3. A new witness, Deborah Devereux, comes forward Hillside Lane Station. She places Terry Boyle at the scene of an argument with Alistair Oldroyd (who has since been murdered). 

Terry Boyle and Ryan Pilkington

Terry Boyle being escorted from Hillside Lane Station by PC Lisa Patel and Ryan Pilkington. (Image credit: BBC/World Productions)

After a new round of questioning, Terry is escorted from the Hill by Ryan Pilkington, who diverts the police transport vehicle down past a reservoir where he attempts to murder him alongside drowning PC Lisa Patel. This, plus the revelation that Deborah had lied about Terry's whereabouts, prompts AC-12 to put Terry's place of residence under permanent surveillance. Hopefully, he'll be safe from the OCG soon!

Line of Duty continues Sundays at 9pm on BBC One. You can catch up on missed episodes and all five previous seasons on BBC iPlayer.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.