Line of Duty's Lennie James shares embarrassing moment he was cut from show after bragging about Tony Gates' comeback

LINE of Duty’s Lennie James has shared the embarrassing moment he was cut from the show after bragging about his character, DCI Gates, making a comeback. 

The actor recalled he got way too excited about writer Jed Mercurio’s “stupid” short-lived idea for one extra scene. 

Lennie’s character DCI Tony Gates was killed off at the end of the first series after getting in over his head. 

At the end of the final episode Tony is seen telling Steve Arnott, played by Martin Compston, to say that he was killed in the line of duty. 

Realising his career is over he then commits suicide by walking in front of a lorry. 

Other than a hand of God, it would have been a big and unbelievable twist to bring him back. 

Speaking to, Lennie said: “He is well and truly mashed – dead and gone. He was a fantastic character to bring to life, one of my favourite characters that I’ve played.

“And again, I knew what I was signing up for when I went in, I knew that Gates wasn’t going to survive beyond the first series.”

However, not long after filming the final scene, Lennie revealed that writer Jed Mercurio came and visited him on the set of his Sky medical drama Critical.

The actor told the website: “Jed came in and said, ‘I’ve written a scene where Gates appears, comes back’ and I was like, ‘fantastic, excellent’ and went around and told everybody. 

“Then he came back in the next day, and I was like, ‘so what’s the details, when can I see it?’ and he was like, ‘I’ve scrapped it, it’s a stupid idea’.”

Lennie added: “He was absolutely right, it was a stupid idea but if anyone could pull it off it would probably be him.”

One of the main reasons DCI Gates couldn’t have lasted longer than one series was because Lennie was still under contract with HBO at the time. 

He said: “When I started that I knew it was going to be a one and done. I didn’t know how he was going to go out because that final episode hadn’t been written yet but I did know he wasn’t going to last beyond the first series.”

“I don’t know what Jed was thinking  – and I slightly revealed a little bit too much of myself when I showed him how excited I was at the possibility of Gates coming back to Line of Duty.

“I was excited because it would have been fun to hang out with my mates again – Martin [Compston], Adrian [Dunbar], [Vicky McClure] –  they’ve become friends for life.”

Line of Duty is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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