When fire arms officer Danny Waldron (Daniels Mays) deviates from protocol in the field whilst comprehending a suspect, his entire squad comes under fire. However, when nothing immediately incriminating surfaces, Danny and his team are allowed back to work, but with AC-12’s own DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) also going in undercover. On their first call out, Danny is fatally wounded, and the anti-corruption unit’s glare turns to Danny’s three squad members who were the only ones present at both the initial shooting and their boss’s murder. It later emerges that the shooting Danny was initially reprimanded for was of a member of a historic paedophile ring – and that he made a list of all the other known members to be taken out one by one. When Kate and her partner, DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), bring the information to commanding officer Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), he shows some reluctance in investigating some names that have been implicated. What’s more, it would also seem that the ranks of AC-12 have been infiltrated by a rogue officer who has a criminal connection to all of the above cases, and one member of the team, DI Matthew ‘Dot” Cottan (Craig Parkinson), reckons all the evidence points towards Steve.
As you can see by the synopsis I tried my best to keep as brief as possible, season three of Line Of Duty was an absolute thrill ride from start to finish. It just doesn’t look like writer Jed Mercurio is ever slowing down with the gritty, fast-paced police drama that has impressed viewers since 2012.
This time round, the show took a twist that brought it very close to home as it told the story of how the Met’s highest ranking police officers helped to cover up the actions of prolific child predators – something that, by now, we all know the BBC has been implicated in in recent years.
Once again, Line Of Duty delivered to us a series of grand performances, especially from Vicky McClure and Craig Parkinson. McClure returned for her third turn as DC Kate Fleming who was the hero of the story this year. Her character underwent some serious tests, first of all when she went undercover and then when she returned to the ranks of AC-12 as nobody could trust anybody there either. Thankfully though, Kate knew which side her bread was buttered in the end. McClure was wonderful and completely achieved her mission objective of getting audiences to connect fully with Kate.
I absolutely loved Craig Parkinson’s character, DI Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan – he was the epitome of that one character that everybody loves to hate. Things got so bad that by the time we reached the third episode, very point at which Dot was on screen, I was whispering ‘snake’ under my breath. He was like that one ingredient in a dish made up of lots of components that just pulled everything together and made it all make sense. He was brilliant! And Parkinson played the greasy, slippery, good-for-nothing so-and-so perfectly, making Dot alone reason enough to return each week.
Now, I’m not going to insult anyone by critiquing Jed Mercurio’s masterful storytelling, but I am going to sing the praises of some of the creative decisions he made. Nobody can even try to deny that when Keeley Hawes made a surprise return as DI Lindsay Denton they didn’t sit in front of their TV, open-mouthed, thinking, ‘WHAT IS THIS WIZARDRY?’ Nor can we not admire the balls Mercurio showed in featuring Jimmy Savile during one part of the storyline.
All in all, it’s needless to say that Line Of Duty is yet again one of the year’s hottest dramas. Of course the writing is top-notch, each performance is an absolute masterclass in acting and it has more twists that you’d care to imagine. It is a recipe only for success, and it will return again next year.