Putting Danny Waldron (Daniel Mays) up front as the central character, the story them proceeded to pull the rug from under us and bring back Keeley Hawes’ Lindsay Denton, as well as pursuing a topical issue, that of child sexual exploitation and cover-ups. All this, alongside the long-running storyline of bent copper ‘Dot’ Cottan.
Here are 10 of our favourite shocking moments from a season which made us jump, stare slack-jawed and sometimes simply shake our heads in disbelief…
The Text Message (Episode 6)
“Urgent exit required.”
When the tide turns in his questioning, Dot’s text triggers an explosive extraction from the offices of AC-12 and a pounding chase on the streets which ultimately leads to his death.
The Return of an Unfriendly Face (Episode 2)
With no prior warning, former Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton returns to plague Steve Arnott as she pursues her acquittal through the courts.
The Golf Tee (Episode 6)
Dot delivers his killing blow during the interrogation of Steve Arnott over Lindsay Denton’s death, when he produces the golf tee and appears to unmask “The Caddy”
The Photo (Episode 5)
Things get horribly real as the interrogation of the former Chief Spt. Fairbanks uses the image of an infamous real life abuser to make its point in no uncertain terms. It’s a visual reference that we all grimly understand.
The List (Episode 1)
Eagle-eyed followers of the series, or those who went back and paused it, were able to spot the familiar name of Tommy Hunter, Season 2’s protected witness, on Waldron’s crumpled, blood-spotted hit list.
The Upper Room (Episode 1)
With Danny Waldron shot, on the floor and looking like a goner, the story takes a sharp turn. Hang on though; we thought he was the star of Season 3?
The Envelope (Episode 2)
During the search of Danny’s flat, Dot comes across and envelope bearing Steve Arnott’s name and containing the list. He pockets it quietly.
The Atonement (Episode 5)
“Because I’m a Police Officer.”
After everything we’ve seen her do, with questionable motives, Lindsay Denton’s final act was to refuse a bribe from ‘The Caddy’ and take a bullet while passing on the contents of the list. She gains an honourable death in the line of duty.
The Under Cover Antics (Episode 2)
How far did he go?
In court, Denton claims Arnott had sexual relations with her while he was undercover. We know he’s got form for inappropriate hook-ups (and start straining to remember what we did and did not see in Series 2!)
The Chilli (Episode 3)
Netflix and chilli?
After a hard day undercover, Fleming comes back to Dot’s place to bond over a bowl of chilli – but who is reeling who in?
The Internet Café? (Episode 5)
In the anonymous world of Line of Duty, these are still a thing, apparently. Who knew? (‘In the Net’ also helpfully still has the UK’s last remaining fax machine too!)
What was your favourite moment in Season 3? Let us know below…