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The whole country continues to be gripped by Line of Duty as we all count down the hours until Sunday's show-stopping series six finale.

Once again we have quickly recognised the writers seem to draw us in with every mind-blowing episode that whistles by.

But how does creator Jed Mercurio and his production team manage to keep the show so intense – and keep us coming back for more?

It's not all about hunt for bent coppers and Ted Hastings' epic one-liners.

The truth is that the hit BBC show has been inspired by some of Britain’s biggest and most harrowing criminal cases.

Line of Duty execs even created a character using the names of a real life murder victim, whose story had striking similarities to both cases.

This series, fans have spotted a nod to two famous victims of real racially-motivated attacks – Stephen Lawrence and Christopher Alder.

Mirror Online report that this is certainly not the only reference to high-profile British criminal cases over the past few decades.

Line of Duty may be a total work of fiction, but it has taken a steer from some of the country's biggest ever crimes.

Jimmy Savile

Twisted TV star Jimmy Savile was referenced in Line of Duty in series three, in a central storyline on child sex abuse.

But the case was revisited again this series as AC-12 reviewed the work of murdered journalist Gail Vella who had reported on the conviction of Chief Superintendent Patrick Fairbank – a character who had fictional links to Savile.

In the report, Vella said: “We now realise what Savile was getting out of those relationships with senior police officers, but what remains unknown, and un-investigated, is what those officers were getting out of their relationship with Savile.”

Stephen Lawrence

Tragic Stephen was killed in an unprovoked attack whilst waiting for a bus in 1993.

The 18-year-old was stabbed several times in Eltham, South East London before bleeding to death. Despite tip offs, no one was charged.

It took almost four years for an inquest to rule that the teenager had died in a racist attack at the hands of five white youths.

In July 1997, the Macpherson Report found the probe into his death faced “institutional racism and a failure of leadership”.

In 2012, David Norris and Gary Dobson were found guilty of Stephen’s murder and jailed for life. Two others have been jailed for drug dealing while one has remained free.

Daniel Morgan

During episode two of the current series, Steve and Chloe visit a former producer who is planning a podcast, inspired by a real-life one based on the murder of a private investigator.

Back in 1987 in Sydenham, South East London, Daniel Morgan was attacked with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub. When his body was discovered, the murder weapon was still embedded in his skull.

The Untold podcast, presented by author Peter Jukes and the victim’s older brother Alistair Morgan aims to shed new light on the case, and give new momentum in the quest for justice.

It suggests Daniel was close to exposing police corruption at the time, with the case remaining unsolved.

With no witnesses and numerous failed investigations at a cost of around £30 million, it seems an uphill challenge.

Christopher Alder

Christopher Alder died in police custody in 1998, when he was aged 37. The Falklands war hero was punched in a pub, cracking his head on the kerb.

Humberside Police took him to hospital before arresting him. Officers were captured in footage mocking him, and making monkey noises as he lay dying.

Though tried for manslaughter and misconduct, five officers were acquitted.

In 2004, four officers involved with the case were granted early retirement due to stress and were given payouts of more than £44,000 as well as police pensions, similar to the officers mentioned in the sixth episode.

Daphne Caruana Galizia

The central case in this series of the programme is around the fictional murder of journalist Gail Vella, and has been confirmed by writer Jed Mercurio to be based on a real life crime.

In 2017, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated after breaking stories about government corruption, allegations of money laundering and organised crime in the country.

Despite threats, she refused to back down, and was killed in 2017 after a bomb was detonated in her car near her house. Three men were accused of the murder, with one, Vincent Muscat pleading guilty to the crime. He was jailed for 15 years.

Sir Cliff Richard

Back in the second episode of the current series, reference was made to the BBC filming a police raid of an elderly pop star’s home.

Fans immediately linked it to the case of Sir Cliff Richard as old footage of one of Gail Vella’s reports was played, saying: “Instead of pursuing the guilty police officers, your constabulary investigated celebrities and VIPs all without charge."

Officers arguably colluded with the BBC in enabling a news helicopter to film the search of an elderly pop star’s home, again, without charge.”

Fans immediately clocked the links to the case of Sir Cliff Richard, after false sexual assault claims led to police raiding his Berkshire home in 2014.

At the time, the BBC aired helicopter footage of the raid. Sir Cliff sued for invasion of privacy, winning £210,000 damages and £2million costs.

Jill Dando

Viewers of Line of Duty have drawn parallels between the murder of Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando in 1999 and the fictional murder of journalist Gail Vella.

Both Jill Dando and Gail Vella were killed with a single gunshot wound to the head, outside their homes, believed to have been inflicted by a lone gunman.

In the real-life case of Jill Dando, police followed a theory that the culprit was an obsessed fan, leading them to investigate Barry George, who lived near her West London home.

He was found guilty of the murder of Dando in 2001, but his conviction was overturned on appeal seven years later.

In the fictionalised television series, a suspect in the Vella case, Terry Boyle had her articles on the wall in his flat, just as George had cuttings about Jill.

Line of Duty concludes on Sunday at 9pm on BBC One

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