In series 1, he appears as a child recruited into the Organised Crime Group. He remains a member of the Organised Crime Group as a young adult in series 5, before joining Central Police and serving as a corrupt officer in Series 6.
Ryan was born on 29th November 1999 to Keely Pilkington and an unknown father in the Moss Heath area of The City. Due to his problematic home life, social worker Jane Hargreaves was assigned by the City Council to liaise with his family.
Due to his rough upbringing on the Borogrove Estate and absentee mother, he was easily recruited into the Organised Crime Group by Tommy Hunter. As a young teenager, his task within the group was to steal mobile phones and work as a courier, providing blackmailed individuals with untraceable burner phones in order to receive their orders from Hunter.
As no further action was taken against Pilkington by then DI Ian Buckells in Series 1, he did not obtain a criminal record as a result of his involvement with the Organised Crime Group. Because of this, he was able to pass various background checks, interviews and examinations in order to join Police College in 2019. He subsequently underwent training at Chislehurst Police College. He joined Central Police on 27th July 2019.
Ryan delivers a burner phone to Wesley Duke whilst he is dealing on the estate. On the phone Tommy Hunter accuses him of dealing with the now deceased Arab drug dealers (who were competitors), and says that unless he provides Ryan with his entire score, he will meet a similar fate. Duke hands over his score to Ryan, who cycles away flipping him off.
Ryan and several other children from the Borogrove Estate later decide to terrorise Alf Butterfield again, throwing rubbish at his house and pushing it through his letterbox. Upon being confronted, Butterfield loses his temper and assaults Ryan, hitting him multiple times with his walking stick. Whilst PC Karen Larkin restrains Butterfield, PC Simon Bannerjee apprehends Ryan, and after making sure he is not injured demands he turn out his pockets. Ryan then runs away, and fearing the officers may discover Duke’s drugs and money he still has on him, throws the bag over a fence. Bannerjee is then instructed not to pursue him by Larkin, as police guidelines state that due to the dangerous nature of the estate, officers should always be in pairs.
Not wanting to confess to Tommy that he disposed of the score, Ryan instead tells him Duke refused to give it up. Ryan then directs two men dressed in balaclavas to Duke's location in the middle of the night, where they chase after him. His body is later found hanging from a lamppost on the estate, shot in the head with multiple fingers missing.
In the Trap
Whilst two teenagers are having sex in their car, Ryan breaks the window and steals a mobile phone from the passenger seat before running off. PC Simon Bannerjee later turns up at his house, as he has not come into Kingsgate Station to make a statement regarding being assaulted by Alf Butterfield. It is shown that Ryan's mother, Keely Pilkington, does not seem to know or care about his whereabouts, nor want to accompany him to the interview as the responsible adult. Bannerjee also reveals Ryan has not been in school for the whole week.
Ryan is later shown to be in the Range Rover that was being pursued by DCI Anthony Gates and DC Nigel Morton. He and the rest of the occupants kidnap Gates after hitting him with the vehicle, and take him to the abandoned warehouse where Jackie Laverty's body is being stored in a freezer. After mocking Gates, Ryan passes the phone he stole earlier to Gates, who is subsequently blackmailed by Hunter.
Ryan along with Carly and Dean visit the residence of Terry Boyle, a man with Down's syndrome whose unsuspecting nature they take advantage of. Ryan then notices the size of Terry's freezer, which he informs Hunter of. Two other associates of Hunter then move Jackie Laverty's frozen body into Terry's apartment.
After DS Steve Arnott is kidnapped by Hunter's associates, Ryan holds a phone to Arnott's head so Hunter can talk to him. Arnott then purposefully mumbles in order to get the young boy close to him so he can hear better, and when he does he headbutts Ryan in the face. This enrages him, resulting in him attempting to remove Arnott's fingers with a pair of bolt cutters. However, due to his young age and lack of strength, he is unable to do any severe damage.
When DCI Anthony Gates returns to the scene after having a change of heart, he captures Ryan and handcuffs him to a pipe outside the building, not before hitting him hard in the leg with a tire iron. He is then arrested by PC Karen Larkin, but refuses to say anything without a solicitor present.
After being arrested, Ryan is taken to Kingsgate Station, where he is interviewed by DC Kate Fleming in the presence of his solicitor, Louise Burton and social worker, Jane Hargreaves. After being pressured by Fleming regarding what could happen to him if he is sent to a juvenile correction facility, he admits that he steals phones for Hunter and his associates to use. However, he strenuously denies involvement in Arnott's kidnapping and torture.
Once he has been questioned, Ryan is returned to his home on the Borogrove Estate by PC Karen Larkin and PC Simon Bannerjee. He is not mentioned to have had any criminal charges pressed against him by Central Police in relation to his involvement with the kidnapping and torture of DS Steve Arnott.
Now in his early 20's, Pilkington is reintroduced as part of the Organised Crime Syndicate who attack and hijack the ED-905 police convoy, gunning down three Authorised Firearms Officers and injuring a fourth, Sergeant Jane Cafferty. He attempts to shoot the fleeing civilian transport driver with an Uzi submachine gun, but is told to not bother by John Corbett due to the likelihood of missing.
Later at one of the groups bases of operations at Flicker nightclub, Pilkington informs Lisa McQueen the group is loading up the stolen heroin from the convoy hijacking. He later accompanies McQueen, John Corbett, Miroslav and Lee Banks to meet with rival gang leader Paul Slater, where they try to sell him and his biker crew their drugs back. After the initially tense meeting goes well, Pilkington is seen back at Flicker, disappointed that Corbett appears to be being paid more attention by the various women there. He later accompanies Lisa McQueen for a second meeting with Paul Slater.
When PC Maneet Bindra appears to offer to work for the Organised Crime Syndicate to ensure that her cousin Vihaan Malhotra is not killed in prison, Pilkington and Lee Banks kidnap her in broad daylight and bring her to Kingsgate Printing Services to meet with John Corbett. When Corbett discovers Bindra has planted a tracking and recording device in her burner phone, and is potentially still loyal to AC-12, he has Ryan and Lee take her away. The two later bring her to the same quayside where Oliver Stephens-Lloyd and ACC Derek Hilton were found dead, and Pilkington holds her still whilst Lee slits her throat, killing her.
When John Corbett reveals himself as a traitor to the Organised Crime Syndicate and attempts to escape with Lisa McQueen and rescue trafficked women, Ryan slits his throat when he is distracted. He is congratulated by Miroslav and McQueen.
After Miroslav and other members of the Organised Crime Syndicate dispose of the bodies of John Corbett and Jackie Laverty in McDade & Company Breakers Yard, Ryan informs Lisa McQueen that he has passed several exams and has an interview scheduled, and thus will need to lay low. He is congratulated again, but the nature of the interview is not mentioned.
After her arrest, Lisa McQueen lies to DI Kate Fleming and DS Steve Arnott, claiming that it was instead Miroslav who murdered John Corbett. Ryan is then shown attending an interview at Police College, where he tells the board he was inspired by PC Simon Bannerjee to make something of himself and become a police officer, despite his rough upbringing on the Borogrove Estate. An epilogue shows Pilkington attending a passing out ceremony, and notes he has been accepted for training as a Student Police Officer.
Now a fully warranted Constable on his probationary period, Pilkington is reintroduced as the replacement for PS Farida Jatri when she requests a transfer from the Murder Investigation Team for personal reasons. He is introduced to DI Kate Fleming by DCI Joanne Davidson when they attend the murder scene of Carl Banks.
Back at Hillside Lane Station, Fleming asks Ryan if they have worked together before, which Ryan denies. It is implied that Fleming does not remember interviewing him as child back in Series 1 at Kingsgate Station after he was arrested in connection with the assault on then DS Steve Arnott on orders of Tommy Hunter. Later, Ryan is seen speaking with PC Fields when Arnott and a team from Anti Corruption Unit 12 enter Hillside Lane Station to conduct an investigation of Operation Lighthouse. Upon noticing Arnott, Ryan is quick to ensure his back is facing the sergeant so he is not recognised.
After evidence comes to light that PS Farida Jatri might have framed DCI Joanne Davidson, she is de-arrested and released from custody at Decker Avenue Station. It is Pilkington who collects her in a marked police car, and the two appear to be familiar with one another. He asks if she is aware that Jatri has been arrested instead. Davidson responds with "well that's what happens to a rat".
Along with another PC, Pilkington escorts Terry Boyle back to Hillside Lane Station for a second interview. When the two are alone in the lobby, he reassures Terry that he is still his "best mate" and that everything will be fine as long as he "keeps his mouth shut". After the interview, where it appears that witness Deborah Devereux has identified Boyle as the man seen arguing with Alastair Oldroyd, he is instructed to be escorted back to his approved premises. Pilkington and PC Lisa Patel take him to a marked vehicle and begin the journey, however Pilkington tells Patel that due to security concerns, the standard route has been altered. He redirects her to a back road near the Edge Park Reservoir, and asks her to roll down his rear passenger window for some fresh air. As Patel is distracted, Pilkington attacks her from behind and gains control of the car, forcing it to crash into the water. Able to escape from his open window, Ryan rises to the surface, but is dismayed to discover that Patel has also managed to escape. He confronts and grapples with her, taking advantage of her weakened state to hold her head underwater and drown her. Terry Boyle then also emerges, but Pilkington is forced to rescue him due to the unexpected arrival of DI Kate Fleming. After the Murder Investigation Team and police divers arrive, he is seen being checked in the back of a Meridian Ambulance Service ambulance.
Later, at the AC-12 Building, Fleming meets with DI Steve Arnott and tells him that she recognises Pilkington, with her suspicions raised further as a result of the crash. The two look up his personnel record on the Central Police Portal, with Arnott immediately recognising his face. Opening up the 2012 case file of DCI Anthony Gates, the two come across a non-criminal administrative record on Pilkington in relation to his suspected association with Tommy Hunter and the Organised Crime Group. Fleming also recalls interviewing him at Kingsgate Station when she was a DC. It is stated that PC Simon Bannerjee helped Pilkington get back into education and fostered, escaping the house where he lived with his neglectful mother Keely Pilkington. Arnott remembers how he was assaulted by Pilkington and several other masked men, but acknowledges that no formal charges were brought against Pilkington in relation to his actions in the Gates case. Having not even had "so much as a caution" since 2012, his records evidently slipped under the radar and was missed by the vetting officer at Police College, thus enabling him to enlist and undergo training at Chislehurst Police College. The two decide to keep this information from Superintendent Ted Hastings.
Back at Hillside Lane Station, Fleming has an informal interview with Pilkington, being sure to not give away she is aware of who he is. He provides logical and plausible answers to all her questions in relation to the death of PC Lisa Patel, and she allows him to continue with his work. DSU Ian Buckells later decides to use Pilkington as part of a photo op, saying he is nominating him for a commendation for saving Terry Boyle's life in the crash. When DI Kate Fleming makes a passing comment to DCI Joanne Davidson about her bringing Pilkington onto the team, she tells her that it was actually Buckells' idea, as he knew Ryan as "a family friend or something".
DSU Ian Buckells is imprisoned inside HMP Blackthorn for perverting the course of justice after AC-12 interviews him regarding various failings within Operation Lighthouse. He is questioned in part over his commendation for Pilkington (given his past links to the Organised Crime Group as a child), but Buckells insists he only commended him for saving Terry Boyle's life and does not recall interviewing him as a juvenile offender at Kingsgate Station in 2012.
Superintendent Ted Hastings informs DI Arnott, DC Bishop and DI Fleming that Pilkington has been sighted spying on Joanne Davidson, who has been promoted to Acting Detective Superintendent in Buckell's place. Fleming recognises one of the locations Pilkington was seen as Frederico's Biergarten, a restaurant that she and Davidson frequent. The surveillance map shows that Pilkington has not been seen anywhere with direct links to the OCG, however it is noted this could be due to a combination of few surveillance officers and him knowing how to evade detection.
On the off chance Davidson is linked with the Organised Crime Group, Hastings declines to give her an Osman Warning regarding Pilkington stalking her. However, Fleming reveals Pilkington's actions to Davidson anyway, but does not implicate herself in the AC-12 investigation, instead claiming she spotted Pilkington herself. Back at Hillside Lane Station, Ryan is called to see Davidson where she informs him he is being removed from Operation Lighthouse and the Murder Investigation Team, citing the loss of a senior detective in Buckells and the need to replace Farida Jatri with an officer of Sergeant or Inspector rank. He is still promised he will receive his commendation for rescuing Terry Boyle. to prevent it being linked to Buckells' tarnished reputation. After staring at her in an icy cold manner, Pilkington reverts to his professional default and thanks her for his time with the unit. However, that evening he follows Davidson home and threatens her at gunpoint outside of the entrance to the Croxford Street Residence. Forcing her inside, the two have an unspecified "conversation" where he lists the reasons she will not be removing him from the team.
After being confronted by Ryan in her home, Davidson does reverse her decision and keeps him on the team. She justifies her actions to DI Kate Fleming that the operation has already lost enough officers (the original SIO DCI Billy McTulloch, Buckells, Jatri and PC Lisa Patel) , and if Pilkington did have any links with the Organised Crime Group it would have been spotted by vetting before he joined Police College. After the death of lawyer Jimmy Lakewell at the hands of Pilkington's fellow OCG member Lee Banks inside HMP Blackthorn, Pilkington ominously confronts Davidson and tells her that Lakewell's cause of death was "being a rat".
After potentially uncovering the location of the workshop used by the Organised Crime Group to convert and manufacture weapons, DI Kate Fleming briefs the Murder Investigation Team, including Pilkington. After the briefing, Fleming insists that all officers and detectives surrender their mobile phones and remain in the meeting room until the raid is given the green light, in order to prevent information leakage. This infuriates Pilkington, who exchanges tense glances with DSU Joanne Davidson.
With the raid authorised, Pilkington is instructed by Fleming to accompany her and Davidson in the lead vehicle. Upon arrival at the Lochside Industrial Estate, he is forced to remain in the vehicle with his superiors whilst Authorised Firearms Officer's carry out the initial breach. When the scene is declared safe and no trace of firearms manufacturing is found, he accompanies the rest of the Hillside Lane Station detectives into the unit, however slips away shortly after. Walking around the side of the industrial unit, Pilkington pulls out a hidden burner phone from his boot and makes a call. This is captured by a surveillance team led by DC Chloe Bishop, who have been tracking Pilkington's activities since his identity was uncovered by AC-12. The team led by Davidson decides to split up and raid two additional industrial units, and he is again ordered to ride in the same vehicle as Fleming and Davidson.
It is revealed the call Ryan placed was to Organised Crime Group operatives Lewis Polkard and Darren Morgan, informing them that the Murder Investigation Teamis carrying out raids in several industrial estates. The two men immediately head to the groups actual workshop located in the White Rock Industrial Park, not noticing that it is also being surveyed by DI Steve Arnott and DC Eldwick. A pair of Authorised Firearms Officer's are instructed to enter by Arnott, and the two men are shot when they attempt to pull weapons on the officers. The Murder Investigation Team then arrives and takes command of the scene, with Ryan and Davidson appearing subtly concerned about the death of the OCG members. After communicating with the unknown senior figure of the Organised Crime Group, Davidson is instructed to kill DI Kate Fleming to prevent her from further uncovering the conspiracy. Pilkington is sent to her apartment at Croxford Street Residence, and the two get in her car. Having previously asked Kate to meet her for a social drink at Frederico's Biergarten, Ryan orders Davidson to change the location to an abandoned car park.
Fleming arrives at the new location, and is met by a shaken Davidson, who begins apologising to her. Ryan then gets out the back of Davidsons car and aims a pistol at Kate, remarking that she should "have accepted the out" when Davidson requested she transfer away from Hillside Lane Station. Revealing she knows who he is, Fleming insults Ryan and questions his ability to kill, noting he "only had the bottle when someone was half drowned" (in reference to his killing of PC Lisa Patel) and is just a "little boy". He retorts by confessing he was responsible for the death of both John Corbett and Maneet Bindra, and is not concerned about forensic contamination as the weapon is workshopped and uses untraceable custom ammunition. Fleming tells him that he has been under surveillance by AC-12 and it is the end of the line for him and Davidson, which incenses him further. Davidson attempts to go back to her car, claiming she has "played her part" and "shouldn't have to watch". Insistent that she was aware of the surveillance, Ryan orders her away from the car and fires a warning shot above her head. This distracts him long enough for Fleming to draw her concealed firearm (which she obtained permission from the Strategic Firearms Commander to carry due to the threat posed by Pilkington, and is also authorised to carry as a trained Authorised Firearms Officer). The two engage in a tense Mexican standoff, with each demanding the other drop their weapon. Two shots are fired.
It transpires that DI Kate Fleming was able to shoot Pilkington before he could pull the trigger, double tapping him in the thoracic cavity and killing him. Acting DSU Joanne Davidson then takes his sidearm. His body is discovered shortly after by AC-12, who respond to the location with Authorised Firearms Officer's from the Strategic Firearms Command. DI Steve Arnott checks his pulse, and notes that he has been deceased for a good few minutes.
Later in her interview by Arnott, Superintendent Ted Hastings and DCS Patricia Carmichael, Davidson alleges that it was her who shot Pilkington, not Fleming. This assertion is mildly supported by the presence of her fingerprints on Fleming's sidearm (which she actually placed there after the shooting), but the detectives do not appear convinced. Carmichael is later able to persuade the Crown Prosecution Service to further charge Davidson with the shooting of Pilkington, but indicates she is aware it was actually Fleming, given the accuracy of the grouping and that Davidson is not an Authorised Firearms Officer.
A search is conducted of the Organised Crime Group workshop discovered at White Rock Industrial Park used to modify guns to ensure they cannot be traced. Under the concrete floor, a metal strongbox is found containing several weapons. Among them are two knives stained with the blood of Maneet Bindra and John Corbett respectively, with fingerprints on the handle matching Pilkington. These are correctly taken by AC-12 as evidence that Pilkington was responsible for their murders. The knives were likely retained by the OCG as leverage against Pilkington to enable them to blackmail him if he ever chose to betray them.