Line Of Duty's 15 Most Jaw-Dropping Moments Ever, Ranked

From Cottan's "urgent exit" to DI Denton's death, what has topped our countdown?

If there’s one thing you can never accuse Line Of Duty of being, it’s boring.

Since debuting back in 2012, the BBC cop drama has continuously kept us on the edge of our seats with more twists and turns than the most colossal of theme park rides.

There’s been numerous links to the past, game changing revelations, explosive stunts and shock deaths galore.

With the sixth series now fully underway, we’re counting down Line Of Duty’s most jaw-dropping moments ever – from Cottan’s “urgent exit” to DI Denton’s death. But what has topped our countdown?

15. The lake crash – Series 6


While some critics have complained that series six has so far not quite lived up to the explosive action of previous seasons, there’s no denying that the Pilkington’s attempt on Terry Boyle’s life had our hearts in our mouths.

After Boyle was brought in for another questioning at MIT about journalist Gail Vella’s murder, he was given a police escort home.

However, OCG member Pilkington, who had joined the force as the gang’s inside man, diverted the car and attacked driver PC Lisa Patel, causing the vehicle to crash into a lake.

Pilkington then drowned Patel and attempted to kill Boyle, but not before DI Kate Fleming arrived on the scene, having followed the car after being suspicious about her colleague Pilkington.

14. Desford holds up AC-12 – Series 4


After DCI Roz Huntley exposed ACC Derek Hilton and solicitor Jimmy Lakewell’s involvement with the OCG during her final questioning with AC-12 during the series four finale, DC Jamie Desford attempted to take Lakewell away to the cells.

However, DS Arnott Arnott soon realised that Desford was actually working with Hilton and Desford turned a gun on him as the AC-12 building went into lockdown.

13. Biggeloe is unmasked – Series 5


After AC-3’s DCS Carmichael stacked up the mounting evidence against Hastings during tense interrogation scenes, a shock twist saw Arnott and Fleming turn the tables on Biggeloe after uncovering a recording of a meeting between Biggeloe and UCO John Corbett.

In it, she was heard emotionally manipulating him by revealing Hastings had a connection to his late mother.

As further evidence against her was presented, Biggeloe tried to stage an ‘urgent exit’, but after no back up arrived to save her, it seemed the OCG decided she wasn’t an asset worth keeping. Bent AC-3 officer PS Tina Tranter then tried to stab her to death in the toilet. Not a great day for Gill really.

12. Cottan is revealed as The Caddy – Series 1


Following DCI Tony Gates’ arrest of Tommy Hunter in the series one finale, DS Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan asked for a few moments with the OCG boss, which revealed he was the inside man, known as ‘The Caddy’.

He and Tommy went back a long way, as Cottan had carried Hunter’s golf bags as a kid, hence his codename. And while viewers were let in on the secret, it took two whole series before AC-12 put the pieces of the puzzle together in series three’s dazzling finale. More on that later...

11. Laverty is killed – Series 1


When Jackie Laverty was killed way back in series one, you probably thought that would be the end of her – but she is still being referenced all these years later and has an instrumental link to the developments in series six.

Jackie was the lover of AC-12’s first adversary, DCI Tony Gates, and had been helping the OCG launder money through her business and killed her accountant when he’d found out.

In Line Of Duty’s first-ever shock death in the second episode, Laverty was murdered at her home by masked intruders working for Hunter, who slit her throat while she and Gates were enjoying a night in together.

The gang then framed an unconscious Gates by putting his fingerprints on the murder weapon, and used this fabricated evidence to blackmail him into helping aid the OCG’s activities.

Gates was later taken to a warehouse where he was shown Laverty’s body in a chest freezer, before she was moved to Terry Boyle’s flat, where some of her remains had been stored up until recently.

10. Arnott gets pushed down the stairs – Series 4


We honestly thought DS Arnott was a goner when he went tumbling down a flight of stairs at the hands of ‘balaclava man’ in series four.

It happened after DCI Huntley’s husband Nick was questioned about his involvement in Ified’s murder, and with his car picked up on CCTV at Ifield’s flat on the night of the murder, Arnott headed to Nick’s offices.

Upon his arrival, he was hit in the face with a baseball bat and pushed down a flight of stairs by the masked assailant.

It was later revealed that corrupt solicitor Jimmy Lakewell and the bent ACC, Derek Hilton were behind the attack on Arnott.

Arnott is still suffering from the injuries he sustained, and has become addicted to painkillers.

9. Corbett is killed – Series 5


AC-12 adversary and undercover officer John Corbett was unexpectedly killed off two-thirds of the way through the fifth series after the OCG realised he was a rat, with Ryan Pilkington (who went on to join the police as the OCG’s inside man) slitting his throat.

At the time, it left fans with more questions than ever, as the order to kill had seemingly come from Superidentant Hastings, who was believed to be mysterious crime boss ‘H’.

The mystery surrounding ‘H’ and Hastings’ connection to Corbett were later revealed in the series five finale.

8. Bindra is killed – Series 5


Oh Maneet. This one still hurts.

PC Maneet Bindra had quietly become a fan favourite after making her debut in series three, and after an increased role in series four, the series five opener saw her take centre stage.

Sadly, she was being blackmailed by the OCG into colluding with them, as they had been harming Maneet’s cousin – corrupt officer Vihaan Malhotra – in prison, after he admitted to passing on information to them while working in the force.

She remained loyal to AC-12, and tried to gather information on the OCG while working with them, but then Corbett (who had gone rogue while working undercover) found out and ordered her death.

She was murdered by Banks and Pilkington in the same spot where ACC Hilton’s body had previously been found at the end of series four.

7. The truth about the ambush is revealed – Series 2


The second series revolved around an armed attack on a police convoy transporting a protected witness – later revealed to be OCG boss Tommy Hunter – and whether DI Lindsay Denton had played a role in it.

Flashback scenes in the finale revealed that during her investigation into the disappearance of missing teenager Carly Kirk, Denton realised Hunter was pimping out the teen, and agreed to help hand him over to his vengeful criminal associates believing she would be helping Carly escape her abuser.

However, what Denton did not realise is that the handover was being planned by The Caddy, who was worried Hunter would reveal his identity in witness protection. Cottan had the handover ambushed and all officers bar Denton killed so she would take the blame.

The series finished with Denton being convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, and handed a life sentence. However, this was not the last we would see of her...

6. Waldron is shot – Series 3


By now, we know to expect the unexpected when it comes to characters being killed off in Line Of Duty thanks to the events of the series three opener, when the guest lead was bumped off early doors.

After armed response leader Sergeant Danny Waldron covered up how he had gunned down a suspect in cold blood, Fleming was placed undercover on his team to investigate. But when the team took part in a drugs raid, Fleming walked into the room to find Waldron had been shot, as the rest of his team stood around him.

He later died, and the rest of his team claimed he killed himself. In actuality, he was shot in the neck by DC Hari Bains, on the orders of Cottan, who was trying to stop Waldron from revealing that OCG boss Tommy Hunter was among the men who abused him as a child when he was in care.

5. Cottan kills Denton – Series 3


Despite being bent, we always somewhat rooted for series two adversary DI Lindsay Denton, especially after she came good in the end – which is ironically what got her killed.

Determined to make her way back into the force after an appeal into her prison sentence revealed AC-12’s failings in their investigation into her in series two, Denton agreed to assist Arnott with tracking down the suspects in the Sands View boys’ home paedophile ring.

Upon hacking into the late Danny Waldron’s emails, she found a digital copy of his abusers, but she was tracked down by Cottan while at an internet cafe.

After driving Denton to an industrial estate, Cottan showed his true colours and attempted to blackmail her at gunpoint into sending him the list – but when she didn’t agree, he shot her dead.

However, she’d already sent the list to AC-12, helping set up Cottan’s subsequent unmasking as The Caddy.

4. Gates takes his own life – Series 1


Having been bribed into colluding with the OCG following Laverty’s murder, he subsequently agreed to help AC-12 in bringing Tommy Hunter to justice.

After arresting him, Gates realised that his career as a police officer was over, and told Fleming and Arnott to tell his family he was killed “in the line of duty” before shockingly stepping out in front on an oncoming lorry, thus earning the show its title.

3. Trotman goes out the window – Series 2


After Fleming witnessed series two antagonist DI Lindsay Denton making a call to the hospital where the witness from the convoy ambush was being treated, Arnott and new AC-12 recruit Georgia Trotman raced to the scene but arrived to see an assailant disguised as a nurse kill him.

Arnott was knocked unconscious, and Trotman – the only person to see the nurse’s face – shockingly thrown out of a window to her death, having only made her debut appearance in the same episode.

Tommy Hunter was later revealed as the witness, with the ‘nurse’ also exposed as bent officer DC Jeremy Cole.

2. Huntley isn’t dead after all – Series 4


After forensic co-ordinator Tim Ifield alerted AC-12 to the fact that DCI Roz Huntley had deliberately ignored forensic evidence in order to press charges against a suspect, she paid a visit to his home where a physical altercation ensued.

Huntley was presumed dead after hitting her head on the kitchen surface, but just as Ifield was getting ready to cut up her body with a chainsaw (!), Huntley suddenly opened her eyes in one of the show’s most memorable cliffhanger endings ever.

1. Urgent exit required – Series 3


And here we are – the top spot on our countdown, and there couldn’t be any other option really, could there?

The series three finale was arguably the best episode of Line Of Duty ever, and much of that was to do with the interrogation of DI Matthew ‘Dot’ Cotton at AC-12’s HQ, where Fleming presented a series of evidence that confirmed he was The Caddy.

Seeing him exposed after viewers had known the truth for two whole series was thrilling enough, but then we saw Cottan covertly send a message on a burner phone to three contacts, stating: “Urgent exit required”.

Suddenly, an armed guard turned his gun on members of the team before shooting through a pane of glass in the interview room, allowing Cottan to escape.

A heart-racing chase scene ensued, before Cottan eventually stepped in front of a bullet for Fleming and made that dying declaration, which has remained of huge significance ever since...

Line Of Duty airs Sundays at 9pm on BBC One.


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