Daniel Mays is “troubled and terrifying” in Line of Duty series 3

The new star of BBC2's corrupt cop thriller is bound to feel the 'Line of Duty effect' just like Keeley Hawes, says Mark Jefferies

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He may not have the six-pack of Tom Hiddleston in The Night Manager, or be quite as easy on the eye as Poldark’s Aidan Turner.

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But on Thursday night Daniel Mays is set to boost his career with an incredible performance in the new BBC2 series of Line Of Duty.

The opening episode was screened at Bafta in London a few weeks ago, and I have rarely heard such universal praise for a TV show and its leading man. Mays is rarely off screen in the entire hour, and his character, Sergeant Danny Waldron, is a troubled and terrifying presence.

One interrogation scene in particular (a Line of Duty speciality of course) shows off his skills and reveals a lot about his character at the same time.

Speaking to Mays about the role, he was excited about the part and enjoyed the work, but can’t wait for what he calls “the final hurdle” when it goes out on BBC2 and he finds out what viewers think.

“The quality of the scripts was so great and it had such an impact when I first read it, your hope is for it to transfer onto the screen,” he told me. 

In 2014, the same series turned Keeley Hawes from a very good actress into a great one for many viewers and TV execs, capable of a variety of performances.

Hawes herself has since admitted that job offers, and the variety of roles she is being put forward for, have changed since she appeared as DI Lindsay Denton and earned a Bafta nomination.

I predict the same thing could happen for Mays, who is captivating as Danny Waldron. 

He is already held in high regard following performances in shows like ITV’s Mrs Biggs and Ashes To Ashes, but this feels like a big moment for him. 

There are not many times you like to try to predict what viewers will think about something. But if ‘Daniel Mays’ isn’t trending on Twitter and being lauded by TV critics after Thursday’s episode then it will be a real crime.

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Mark Jefferies is Showbiz Editor at the Daily Mirror. Line Of Duty Series 3 starts on Thursday 24 March on BBC2 at 9pm.