A REAL life undercover drug squad detective brought a new sense of realism to 'Love/Hate' last night when he appeared as the show's latest crime-fighting star.
Det Gda Madden is played by Kieran O'Reilly (35), who is a serving member of the Garda National Drug Unit (GNDU) in Dublin Castle.
His character's role is similar to his day job as a member of an undercover squad infiltrating drug gangs.
The fourth series of the hit show, which attracted almost one million viewers for the first episode last Sunday, focuses for the first time on the garda battle with organised crime.
Last night, Det Insp Mick Moynihan, played by Brian F O'Byrne, recruited Det Gda Madden to help dismantle Nidge's criminal network.
The makers of 'Love/Hate' kept the garda's involvement under wraps and sources say his real-life role was known to only a few cast members.
A TV insider said Det Gda O'Reilly, who never acted before, is set to be a major star in the show over the remaining four episodes.
"Kieran just turned up one day and auditioned for a part just for the hell of it but he never dreamed he would be accepted for a role," the source told the Irish Independent last night.
Det Gda O'Reilly has been a member of the gardai for 12 years, six of which have been with the GNDU. Colleagues said he was a very committed and popular detective.
He has been involved in several long-term undercover operations which resulted in smashing drug dealing networks in towns and cities around the country.
Sources have revealed that the detective had the blessing of his superiors for his first break into acting and used his official leave while filming the series earlier this year.
Under the Garda Code, acting is not a prohibited extra-curricular activity.