Keeley Hawes has said she was unsure what to make of her latest character in the second series of Line of Duty which starts this February on BBC2.
The highly anticipated second series sees Hawes play Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton. Denton appears to be a mild-mannered, backroom detective; repeatedly overlooked for promotion, she’s definitely not one of the boys – and her social and professional isolation make her a figure of mistrust. Series creator and writer Jed Mercurio said “playing against type, Keeley Hawes is an absolute revelation as Lindsay.”
In a new interview for the BBC Hawes admits she was riveted by the scripts and was unsure of the motives of her character.
Lindsay Denton is a new character for this series of Line of Duty; can you tell us a bit about her?
At first when I went and met Jed and Douglas the director, they weren’t too sure whether Lindsay would be on the dark side or not, which was so fascinating for me. I was sent the script and I just sat there and read them one after another in one sitting. I still had no idea and I begged them to tell me – regardless of whether I got the part I just needed to know! They told me that they hadn’t decided so it was quite incredible to go in and play the scenes completely not knowing whether I was guilty or otherwise. I’ve never had to do anything like this before so it was really an attraction and was a whole package. I accidently came across the first series when I was just flicking through the channels and ended up watching a couple of episodes of that last year and thinking it was brilliant. It’s an ongoing series so there is always going to be a new member of the gang. Everyone in the cast is so brilliant.
Can you tell us a bit about Lindsay as a person?
Lindsay isn’t the most cheerful person I have ever met! To begin with, she isn’t in a relationship, she lives alone and has a very small family. Her job is her life and she is completely dedicated to it and always has been. She becomes horribly involved with this disaster we see in the first episode. It’s tough to say anything without giving it away!
We are introduced to her in the first episode when there is a big ambush. Can you tell us how the audience will be introduced to her in the series opener?
Lindsay opens the scene by picking up a call to provide immediate assistance to a protected witness and this is the first time we meet her. She goes into this situation that results in an ambush and she gets involved in something she maybe doesn’t want to be involved in!
In terms of you taking on the role, can you tell us about any big stunts you had to do?
In one scene, they mocked up the back of a police van which Lindsay travels in and they put me on something called a gimble, which spins around like a funfair ride. The police van gets toppled over and I am in it, but I am strapped in. So the gimble spins around and I fall – supposedly – out of my seat. Well, not supposedly, I did fall out of my seat as it was spinning me around like being in a tumble dryer. But I did do that one – not the stunt double – so it was quite exciting having something to do. There is also lots of fast driving and that was the extent of it.
Did you enjoy playing the role?
I absolutely love it! I didn’t love going into the make-up truck every day and having them look at me saying “yep, that’s great!” without even brushing my hair, actually only putting a bit more dark under my eyes! But it’s quite liberating once you get used to not even bothering to wash your hair and people just adding a bit more grease. It’s really nice to have very few touch-ups between takes. There is one point where she has really been through the mill – by the end of that scenario, I think nobody has ever looked that bad on the television screen! It’s liberating for me as I have played lots of glamorous characters and this is the absolute opposite.
This is the most different role you have ever played?
Yes, I would say so. She has no vanity; it’s not what she is about. Lindsay is not that sort of woman.
Do you think the viewers will like her?
I hope so. She’s not a bad person. We don’t ever find out that much about her personally, we don’t ever see her having a great time in her life or at a high point. It’s difficult to know what there is to like but we are hopefully gunning for her to get out of the situation that she’s in and understand the reasons why she is in it.
How does Lindsay interact with Kate and Steve? How were they first introduced?
She was first introduced to them when Kate is planted in her office. She soon works out that Kate’s a plant – Lindsay is quite bright and has been a police officer for a long time and can read the signs. She knows Kate cannot be trusted. As for Steve, she starts to use him a bit for her own devices but none of them trust each other at all I don’t think, and she isn’t in a position to be trusting people.
Would you say she is a lonely figure?
She is a lonely figure, but I think that’s fine by her. I don’t think she is someone who needs to be surrounded by lots of people or have lots of friends. I don’t think she is on Facebook! She has a good relationship with her mum and this is breaking her heart as she is ill. She has had to downsize her house to afford to look after her mother. She’s not a bad woman but I think she is one of those who wouldn’t get an invite to the Christmas party either! She isn’t the life and soul.
How did you find filming in Belfast – have you filmed there before?
I haven’t shot there before and I loved filming in Belfast. The Northern Irish were really welcoming, and one of the nicest crews I have even worked with and I am still friends with a few of them. They have all just come from shooting The Fall and I believe they were also filming Dracula – it was a really exciting time to be there.
Line of Duty Starts Wednesday 12th February at 9.00pm on BBC TWO.