Who is Line of Duty's Lindsay Denton?

DI Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes)
(Image credit: BBC/Steffan Hill)

Everything you need to know about Lindsay Denton. Contains spoilers if you're not up to date with Line of Duty!

Lindsay Denton is one of the best characters ever featured in Line of Duty - we're sure she will get a mention in Line of Duty Season 6!

She was a key character in the show’s second and third seasons, where she became a real thorn in AC-12’s side. 

During her tenure on the show, Lindsay Denton went through hell and back in the line of duty. Across two seasons, Lindsay proved she was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to get criminals behind bars.

Who played Lindsay Denton?

Denton was played by legendary English actress Keeley Hawes. Keeley has appeared in a huge number of dramas including Bodyguard, Finding Alice, The Durrells, Doctor Foster and It’s A Sin.

What rank was Denton?

She was a Detective Inspector and worked in the Missing Persons Unit.

Who is Lindsay Denton?

Lindsay Denton was a key person in series two and three of Line of Duty. 

In season 2, she was AC-12’s prime suspect. She was the officer who organised the police convoy transporting protected witness Tommy Hunter which is ambushed at the beginning of season two. 

Denton was the sole survivor after the convoy was ambushed by members of the Organised Crime Group. AC-12’s subsequent investigation into Denton and senior officer DCC Mike Dryden formed the backbone of the investigation.

Initially, DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) is deployed as an undercover AC-12 operative to the Missing Persons Unit. Denton works out that Kate is undercover and confronts her outside a service centre involved in Carly Kirk’s disappearance. After Kate's cover is blown, Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) begins growing closer to Denton.

As the series wore on, Denton’s life only got worse. She was framed for the assassination, assaulted whilst imprisoned and loses her mother. Later, Corrupt officers DS Manish Prasad and DC Jeremy Cole track down and torture Denton after her prison transport is hijacked.

Denton fights back, succeeding in pinning Prasad against a wall with his car. Then, she forces him to confess his dying declaration which implicates Dryden in Carly Kirk’s disappearance. Steve finds her and allows her to visit the hospital where her mother was, before returning her to custody. 

Eventually, it is revealed that Denton had received a pay-off from deceased copper Lindsay Akers to assist in handing Hunter over to his criminal associates. Steve finds Lindsay's pay-off, and she is ultimately given a life sentence for conspiracy to commit murder Tommy Hunter.

Keeley Hawes as Lindsay Denton.

Keeley Hawes as Lindsay Denton.

What happened in season 3?

In Line of Duty’s third season, Lindsay finally succeeds in appealing her conviction. Steve is called as a witness, and Denton begins to accuse Steve of acting improperly whilst undercover. When she later demands a formal apology from Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) and the rest of AC-12, she accuses Steve of having a sexual encounter with her. She produces a recording of the two of them, which supports this claim and starts to discredit Steve. 

Denton continues to attack Arnott whilst Dot Cottan (Craig Parkinson) is also attempting to frame him as “The Caddy” at the same time. She loses her home, and has to take a job in a supermarket to make rent in her temporary residence.

Arnott later seeks Lindsay out for assistance on his case against Sands View Home for Boys. She assists Arnott in successfully locating the back-up list of PC Danny Waldron’s list of targets. Dot, worried that his criminal identity will be revealed, opts to stop Lindsay in her tracks. He changes the plates on Steve's car and picks her up outside an internet cafe. 

Dot attempts to bribe Lindsay into destroying the evidence. After Denton refuses to comply and sends the list to AC-12, Dot shoots Denton at point-blank range, killing her in a last-ditch effort to frame Steve and secure his own innocence.

Line of Duty is available on iPlayer. For more details, check out our TV Guide.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.