I started this little ongoing feature on my blog a while back to highlight great female characters in fiction. It occurred to me recently that not all great female characters are necessarily great people. Enter: Lindsay Denton.
Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton appears in the crime drama, Line of Duty, which centres around an anti-corruption department of the UK police force. Denton becomes the subject of their investigations during the show’s second season, when she is the sole survivor of an ambushed convoy escorting someone in witness protection. The investigators are unsure how culpable she may or may not have been in the attack, and the genius of the show is that: neither are we.
A phenomenal example of an anti-heroine, Denton’s erratic behaviour and moral ambiguity mean we’re constantly wrestling with our sympathies (or lack thereof) for her. She’s damn good at her job, but she also does some undeniably bad things in her own quest for justice. Even so, she carries them out with such intelligence, cunning, conviction and resourcefulness that you can’t help but be impressed.
Played brilliantly by Keeley Hawes, the character is consistently able to catch the audience off guard and shift where our loyalties lie. By the end of her story arc, some viewers will love her; others will loathe her. That, alone, is testament to the fantastic realisation of her depth and complexity of character.