Who is Tommy Hunter in 'Line of Duty'?

Tommy Hunter from Line of Duty
Tommy Hunter and DS Jayne Akers from Line of Duty season 2. (Image credit: BBC)

Who is Tommy Hunter in Line of Duty? Well, Tommy is a known criminal associate of Line of Duty’s criminal gang, known only as the OCG.

Line of Duty Season 6 has been packed full of throwbacks to previous seasons of the hit crime thriller, and episode five was no different! 

Ryan Pilkington returned to the show as an undercover OCG operative earlier in the season, now his name is being thrown around once again.

If you can’t quite remember who Tommy Hunter is, we’ve created this handy character guide.  Here’s everything you need to know about Tommy Hunter!

Be aware - there are spoilers for the latest season of Line of Duty later in this article!

Who plays Tommy Hunter? 

Tommy is played by Scottish actor and writer Brian McCardie. McCardie has appeared both on stage and onscreen since the 90s. Apart from Line of Duty, you may know him from Snatch, Taggart, Filth, Shameless, Outlander and The Musketeers, to name but a few! 

Who is Tommy Hunter? 

Tommy Hunter is the true villain of Line of Duty Season 1. He's one of the leaders of the OCG, and we know he employed Matthew “Dot” Cottan to be his golf caddy at Edge Park Golf Club as a teenager so he could install him as an OCG mole inside the police service when he grew up. He’s also one of the many people named by Danny Waldron in Line of Duty Season 3 to have been involved in historic child sex abuse at Sands View Boys’ Home.

We don’t actually see Tommy Hunter for a while in season one, as he gets other criminals to do his dirty work. His name is first mentioned by Ryan Pilkington when he delivers one of the OCG’s trademark burner phones to a drug dealer called Wesley Duke.

Tommy also starts manipulating DCI Tony Gates after Jackie Laverty is murdered. He contacts Tony on the burner phone Ryan gives him. The biggest thing he does is get Tony to lure DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) to the warehouse where the OCG was keeping Jackie’s body so Steve can be murdered. 

Luckily, Gates decided to rescue Steve and worked as a rogue officer to help AC-12 track down Tommy Hunter. At the end of the season, Tony picks Tommy up from the golf club and leads Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Steve right to Tommy in a high-speed pursuit whilst Tommy confesses to having ordered someone to kill Wesley Duke. 

In the closing moments of season one, Dot has a private conversation with Tommy advises Tommy on the best course of action after his arrest. This is also the first time where we learn Dot’s true identity as “The Caddy”. The epilogue revealed that Tommy was offered immunity in exchange for leaking info about the OCG to the police.

Tommy Hunter from Line of Duty series one episode five.

Tommy has a quiet word with Dot in the back of a police van. (Image credit: BBC)

What happened to Tommy Hunter? 

In Line of Duty Season 2 , Tommy was in protective custody following his arrest. He was the protected witness who was being moved by DI Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes) and DS Jayne Akers in the police convoy that was ambushed at the start of the season. After being taken to hospital for burns treatment, Tommy was murdered in his hospital room by DS Jeremy Cole, a corrupt police officer employed by Dot to ensure his cover isn't blown.

Tommy is still important to the series, though! In a video obtained by AC-12, Tommy rants about his immunity not being sorted. In the clip he also brags about a whole network of corrupt officers, and names “The Caddy”, his informant, giving AC-12 their latest lead into police corruption.

The video of Tommy Hunter from Line of Duty Season 2.

Jayne's clip of Tommy Hunter becomes vital evidence in closing the case against Lindsay Denton. (Image credit: BBC)

By the end of the season, we know that Tommy was still involved in criminal activities despite being in protective custody. As revealed in the flashback at the end of the season, Lindsay Denton had spotted Tommy Hunter and DS Manish Prasad abusing 15-year-old Carly Kirk and tried to arrest him, but was stopped by Jayne Akers. 

Jayne, encourage by Dot, bribes and conspires with Lindsay to hand Tommy over to the OCG so they can “fix” him before he gives anything up. Dot arranges the handover, but has DS Manish Prasad and DC Jeremy Cole kill the other officers, leaving Lindsay alive to take the fall for the incident.

Why is Tommy Hunter still important?

Spoilers ahead!

At the end of season six, episode four, Line of Duty dropped a bombshell; Jo Davidson’s DNA had been checked against police databases, and AC-12 learned that she was related to a significant person whose DNA was already recorded in the police database. 

In episode five, we learned that Jo is a partial match for Tommy Hunter, and that there’s an “unusually high percentage match of runs of homozygosity.” 

What is “homozygosity?” 

As if figuring out what a CHIS was wasn’t hard enough, episode five gave us this new brainteaser just a few minutes into the episode!

If someone is homozygous, they have two identical alleles of a particular gene or genes. An “allele” is basically a variation of a particular gene. To try and put it simply, if your parents have different coloured hair, you inherit one allele for each colour. This makes you “heterozygous” for a particular characteristic. Whichever allele is “dominant” overrides the other allele to become your hair colour.

If both parents had brown hair, you’d inherit two alleles for brown hair, and would also have brown hair yourself. This makes you "homozygous", as both alleles are the same type.

It’s not uncommon to be homozygous for some characteristics. However, “runs of homozygosity” means that Jo and Tommy Hunter are very closely related, possibly due to inbreeding. If you’re an eagle-eyed viewer, you’ll have spotted a post-it note in the background which confirms this to be true!

A post-it note reveals Tommy Hunter is Jo Davidson's father and uncle.

The post-it note that reveals Tommy Hunter is Jo's father and her uncle. (Image credit: BBC)

The post-it note reads: “Jo Davidson's DNA has been identified at Farida Jatri's house. A match has been made to Tommy Hunter stating she is both his niece and daughter."

Line of Duty season 6 continues on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One. You can catch up with every episode so far on BBC iPlayer.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin was a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produced a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. Now he works for our sister site Tom's Guide in the same role.

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.