For five seasons of the BBC's arresting police thriller Line of Duty, Adrian Dunbar has kept people guessing. The Irish actor is a veteran television presence but his role as the moralistic, yet flawed, Superintendent Ted Hastings turned him into a household name.
"There's been so many things happening in public life that people have lost confidence in a lot of stuff. Ted Hastings appeals to them because even though his personal life is completely screwed up they know that when it comes to the tough decisions he will do his civic duty," Dunbar says of his character's popularity. "He won't put himself before doing his duty. And that's what people want to believe in. They want to believe that the people who run our institutions will do the right thing. That's what Ted represents."
As head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Hastings sniffed out rotten apples in the force, until in season four he got a bit whiffy himself, with his underlings suspecting him to be the corrupt officer known only as H.
"I wasn't playing Hastings ambiguous, other people were saying that things were happening and that I was guilty of something. And it looked for a while that I was," he explains. Then he laughs and says, "but I wasn't guilty of the thing they thought I was guilty of!"
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His part in the show's massive success, it is the BBC's most popular drama, has led to him being inundated with offers. The most intriguing of which was the family mystery-thriller, Blood.
"People get drawn into the dynamic," Dunbar explains. "You've got a daughter who's coming into a situation where she thinks her father has murdered her mother. He's a doctor and she has suspicions of him, she has a memory that she believes confirms that her father has a dark side. All the way through you're wondering."
What makes the show unique, and gives it a lot of its tension, is that the story is told entirely from the daughters perspective. This allows it to regularly gain your trust before delighting in shattering it.
"At times you think, 'Yes he did kill her,' and at other times you think, 'No, I don't think he did.'" Dunbar grins. "That's the kind of territory you're in. Just when you think you've got it sorted out something happens that throws you completely."
He's in two hit thrillers and is incredibly shady in both. So what is it, I ask, that makes him so suspicious?
"The parts themselves lend to that thing but being able to play that ambiguity, that line, is something I'm able to do. I enjoy doing it but you have to be absolutely sure of what you're doing to be able to do it. It's fun when you get it right and it's difficult when you're trying to get it right."
Who: Adrian Dunbar
What: Star of new thriller Blood and the top rated Line of Duty
When: Blood and Seasons 1-4 of Line of Duty are both streaming on Acorn now.