Adrian Dunbar Teases 'Blood' Season 2 & What's Next on 'Line of Duty'

Diane Snyder
Preview

On the most recent season of the heart-stopping British police drama Line of Duty, Adrian Dunbar’s beloved character, crusading anti-corruption unit head Ted Hastings, stood accused of serious malfeasance. Things were just as bad for Jim Hogan, the widowed doctor Dunbar played on 2018 Irish psychological thriller Blood: One of his daughters believed he murdered her mother and was determined to prove it. Both men were indeed keeping secrets, but for situations that were much more complicated than they initially appeared.

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Expect more surreptitious behavior from both of Dunbar’s characters in the future. He’s currently shooting a new season of Line of Duty, for which he received a BAFTA nomination, while Blood returns to streaming service Acorn TV for a second season and more family intrigue March 9. This time it’s Jim’s other daughter, Fiona (Gràinne Keenan), who ends up at the center of a mystery when she crashes her car and police make a disturbing discovery in the trunk.

Jim tries to come to her rescue, but he may end up making things worse. “He feels that his daughter really needs him,” says Dunbar. “And he’s trying to keep the family together, but there’s a lot of stuff that’s happening that he’s not aware of within the family dynamic.”

Blood Season 2 Acorn TV

Acorn TV

The six episodes flash back to the events that led to Fiona, who suffers from the same debilitating neurological condition that her mother did, driving her car off the road, and follow the subsequent investigation. Once again, the Hogan family is left trying to figure out what secrets one of their own is keeping, and Jim, who has lost his medical license, makes some questionable choices, especially where Fiona’s husband, Paul (Ian Lloyd Anderson), is concerned.

Dunbar, though, doesn’t see Jim as a bad guy. “He’s a decent person, struggling to be good,” says the actor. “Ordinary people can get involved in the most extraordinary stuff when things start to go wrong. It’s like the Breaking Bad scenario, where [Walter White] starts off as a really nice guy and then things happen to him that turn him into someone else. Through the series, Jim is changing as a person because of circumstance. That’s one of the reasons I like doing the job: There’s potential for showing a change within a personality.”

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Cast and crew returned to many of the same locales for the current season of Blood, which was shot in the Irish countryside about 40 minutes outside of Dublin and written by the show’s creator, Sophie Petzal. Even after a two-year layoff, Dunbar didn’t have a problem getting back into character.

“When you’re back in the same localities, when you get back into the costumes, when you see the same actors around you and you get the writing coming to you from Sophie again, it was kind of easier in a way,” Dunbar says.

Blood Season 2

Acorn TV

And to the 61-year-old actor, the pastoral Irish landscape is a crucial element to the storytelling. “It’s a part of the country that people very rarely film in,” he says. “[You usually see] the mountains and the sea and the valleys. But this is more flat and there are canals and little country towns.”

Dunbar is spending the next few months in his native Northern Ireland, specifically Belfast, where Line of Duty, one of British television’s most popular shows, is shooting its highly anticipated sixth season. This installment also stars series regulars Martin Compston and Vicky McClure, and Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, whose new character, Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson, will be a target for the AC-12 cops.

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The upcoming season time-jumps a year and a half after 2019’s Season 5, which hopefully means Hastings isn’t still living in the same depressing hotel room with a toilet that doesn’t flush. Dunbar does reveal that McClure’s character, Detective Inspector Kate Fleming, “has left AC-12 at the start” of Season 6. “[Creator and writer Jed Mercurio has] moved everything on and things have happened within AC-12,” Dunbar says, not elaborating on whether it could turn out to be another of Kate’s numerous undercover assignments.

After Line of Duty wraps in June, Dunbar says his next venture may be a theatrical one in Dublin. “My friend [Tony-winning actor] Jim Norton once said to me, ‘You need to give yourself a scare at least once a year,’ so it’s time to get scared,” he says with a laugh.

Blood, Season 2 Premiere, Monday, March 9, Acorn TV

Line of Duty, Seasons 1-5, Streaming Now, Acorn TV