It is to my eternal shame that I only started watching the recent BBC2 drama Line of Duty because the cast included my favourite actress, Jessica Raine.
Jessica is a regular as Jenny Lee in Call the Midwife, but she also played Emma Grayling in the 2013 Doctor Who adventure Hide—to my mind, the best story of Matt Smith's tenure—and she was brilliant as Verity Lambert in the fantastic Doctor Who docudrama, An Adventure in Space and Time.
There was therefore a slight tinge of disappointment at the end of the opening episode of this second series of Line of Duty, as Jessica's character DC Georgia Trotman (above left) plunged to her death, after being unceremoniously dumped out of a hospital window.
By then though, I was totally immersed in the unfolding story of DI Lindsay Denton, the drama's central character, who was seemingly being framed for involvement in an ambush, in which a number of fellow officers and a protected witness were killed.
Over the weeks that followed, the occasionally confusing plot began to slowly unravel—or so I thought. The creation of tension was superbly realised, and Jed Mercurio's story and script were, for the most part, extremely well crafted, but what undoubtedly held the drama together was the performance of Keeley Hawes as Denton.
Keeley is a well-known face on television screens, with a whole host of successful roles to her credit, but I must admit I had never really watched many of the programmes in which she has appeared. That is an omission I might now have to correct, because her portrayal of Lindsay Denton was one of the most compelling pieces of acting I have ever seen.
Whenever you thought you'd started to understand Denton, the plot would develop and you'd find yourself questioning the assumptions you'd made, and all the way through, Keeley's acting skills, her body language and incredibly expressive eyes created a character that was totally believable, and capable of eliciting a wide range of emotions from the viewer.
Lindsay Denton: Hero, anti-hero, scapegoat, criminal... you'll have to watch and find out, because I'm not going to include any spoilers. But I will say that, as is often the case with such complex dramas, the ending is occasionally something of an anti-climax, although in this case, nothing can detract from the sublime skills displayed by Keeley Hawes.
Awards are surely coming her way, but the best news of all is that Keeley is due to appear as a villainous banker Ms Delphox in the next series of Doctor Who—and I for one can't wait!