AWARD-winning gangland phenomenon 'Love/Hate' will return to Irish television screens on October 6.
The RTE drama, which has been sold to several overseas territories including New Zealand and the UK, has typically aired in November and December.
The Irish Independent has learnt however, that the national broadcaster is planning to kick off the fourth season of Stuart Carolan's hit series in just three weeks' time.
A source told this newspaper that both the cast and crew of 'Love/Hate' were warned to keep the official air date of the latest instalment's opening episode "under wraps", to ensure an element of surprise for the audience.
"They really wanted it to come back with a bang, so decided to bring the date forward compared to previous years," a source said.
'Love/Hate' viewers saw a key character gunned down in the season climax of the third series.
The forthcoming season will slightly steer away from the gangland criminals to shed more light on the various detectives trying to bring kingpin Nidge (played by Tom Vaughan Lawlor) to justice.
Furthermore, it will introduce a string of new faces to the cast list, including Brian F O Byrne and Trinity College Dublin graduate, Aaron Heffernan (pictured inset).
RTE did not respond when contacted by this newspaper last night for a comment.