Sunday’s return of Line of Duty attracted the biggest audience in the BBC One police drama’s history, according to overnight figures.
The opening episode of series six was watched by 9.6 million viewers.
That surpassed the show’s previous record of 9.1 million for the finale of series five in 2019.
Critics largely praised the first episode, with The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan describing it as “just as good, if not better, than ever”.
Giving it four stars out of five, she wrote: “The sixth series opens as strongly as ever.
“If it can hold to its successful formula without tipping into parody, if it can find its way back from the H debacle, and if it can weave its customarily masterful narrative spell without tying itself or us in knots – well, then we’ll all be sucking diesel.”