Ashes to Ashes: Season 3, Episode 4

This episode begins with a boy sitting on a curb (or “kerb” as they say in Britain). He plays with a Matchbox version of a red Quattro, cornering it hard on his leg. Suddenly, Gene’s Quattro comes roaring around the corner. Inside, Alex cautions Gene about driving drunk. Gene admits to having a drink as it’s dinnertime, and Alex tells him to slow down. She says that they’re investigating a tip about drugs, and if she’s going to lose her life, she’d hope it be for something more worthwhile.

The gang spot the van they’re looking for, and chase it down a street. The van stops just in front of a small car, hitting a worker repairing the road in the process. The occupants of the van take off, but before the gang can give chase, a woman gets out of the small car holding a shotgun. While the rest of the gang hide behind anything they can find, Gene confidently walks up to the woman and takes the shotgun from her:


The gang sits, stunned, as Gene lets the woman run away. Ray and Chris check out the van to find that it loaded down with heroin. When Alex asks Gene why he let the female suspect get away, he says that she’ll have to trust him. Alex says that “trust me” won’t work this time. Gene sarcastically replies that he’s part of a huge conspiracy, and that Alex deserves a piece of candy for taking them down. Alex says that he won’t be able to just push her aside this time. Gene asks what the point of all this is anyway, since no one bothers to tell him about undercover operations on his own turf. Alex then realizes what Gene is saying: the woman was an undercover cop, and they’d just walked into an undercover operation.

At the office, Gene repeatedly slams the phone down. He loudly complains that police red tape is keeping him from finding out any information about the sting operation. Alex says that they have to maintain the credibility of her cover. Hunt says that this is his kingdom, and that another officer shouldn’t even sneeze here without his permission… yet some “undercover dolly” can come in and do as she pleases. Just then, Jim walks in and says that the “undercover dolly” in question is named Louise Gardiner. He further says that she was posted as “Sarah Huddersfield” six months ago at the nearby Hanfield station under DCI Wilson. She’s been investigating the Stafford crime family. Jim then says that he (Jim) is pretty impressive, and asks if anyone needs to know anything else. Gene asks when he’s going to leave them alone so they can do some real police work. Jim says that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that audits aren’t finished overnight. He then asks Chris to put a bunch of photos up on a cork board for him. Ray sarcastically asks Chris to get him a cup of tea while he’s at it.

Alex then asks who the Staffords are. Jim says that they’re a crime family, but is interrupted by Gene, who gives some family history. Terry Stafford – the father – was a “bit of a name” back in his day, and that he’s on a first name basis with some of the worst London has to offer. Gene cautions that there are “not many shits nastier than him”. Jim says that Terry almost went down for murder but got out of it, and that there’s a long list of unsolved crimes associated with him. Chris hands Alex a picture of Daniel, Terry’s son. Shaz says that he served three years for attempted murder in a business deal gone wrong. Gene says that Daniel slashed a man across both cheeks and shoved him out of a window 15 stories up, adding that the victim “bounced higher than Dolly Parton’s funbags”. Shaz says that Daniel was released from prison in January, and that he’s apparently gone straight, working at a mannequin supply firm. Gene thanks her, and tells everyone to take note of her, that they’ll all be taking orders from her soon.

Alex then asks about Louise, and if she was part of a plan to steal the heroin from the Staffords. She asks about the van, which Ray says was registered to a small-time dealer called Warren Johnstone, who is also – horror of horrors! – a Manchester United fan. He also says that they’ve sent a uniformed officer to pick him up. Alex then asks the big question: are the Staffords involved in the drug trade. Gene says that they know who has the answers… which leads Jim to tell Gene to think of it as an opportunity, a chance to see how well he works with other stations. Jim, in a voice normally used to talk to third graders, reminds everyone that modern police forces need to act as a unified team as well as individual units. As Jim walks about the door, Gene can resist saying that that’s “twatspeak” for saying that they have permission to talk to DCI Wilson. Jim gives Gene an ice stare; Gene returns it with a quick, unenthusiastic smile.

At Hanfield, Gene asks Wilson why he thinks he can run operations on his turf. Wilson says that the Staffords have a lot of “influence” in his district as well. Wilson further says that Terry Stafford has made his life a misery for 15 years, first as a uniformed cop, then as a detective, and now as a DCI. He laments that the Staffords were involved in extortion, robbery and kidnapping, and Alex finishes his thought by saying that they’ve branched out into drugs. She asks Wilson if his undercover officer mentioned any of that; Wilson says that it’s been a while since he’s spoken to her. Alex asks why he sent her in in the first place, and he says because he heard from prison informants that Daniel was boastful about “raising hell” once he got out and “bringing the family back up where it belongs”. Gene accuses him of sending a woman in to do his dirty work; Wilson takes great offense to this, and gets up… only very slowly, because he has trouble breathing and uses a cane. He explains his feebleness by saying that he was working a bank robbery when he was hit by a car. He didn’t see the driver, but he’s certain it was Terry Stafford. Gene then says that he’ll “take over from here”, but Wilson says that he can’t allow that. Gene says to Wilson that he’s not asking him, he’s telling him. Wilson says that he’d try to talk him out of it, but he’d probably just be wasting his breath. He tells Gene to keep an eye on Terry: “Daniel’s a shit, but he’s just the monkey. Terry’s the one grinding the organ”. As Gene and Alex leave, Wilson also asks Gene to tell Terry hello for him… if he catches him. Oh, and he also says that Alex has nice tits. When Alex asks Gene if Wilson really said that, he tells her that Wilson’s a cripple and to “have a heart”.

Back at the station, Ray wonders why they can’t get a “proper bird” like Louise to brighten up the station. Shaz complains, and Ray calls her a “bloke with tits”. Shaz complains some more, and Ray says that he just doesn’t fancy her. Shaz rolls her eyes and walks away. She comes back a few moments later and tells Chris that she head that Louise had a gun. Chris tries to act like it was nothing, but Shaz disagrees. Chris, (perhaps rightly) thinking that Shaz was flirting with him, puts his hand on hers, but she says she only cares about him as a friend.

We then see Gene and Alex in an alley. Gene says that if you want to know what’s happening on the streets, you have to “get your boots a bit dirty”. Gene walks up to a homeless man he apparently knows. He asks him what’s going on in the streets, then explains to Alex that “Shorty” is addicted to heroin. Shorty indicates there’s no heroin on this streets by quipping that that’s the reason he’s sitting in an alley, shivering and puking. Alex asks him if there’s a shortage of the drug, and he replies that he won’t say anything without getting paid. Gene says that he will talk or he will shove his head in a toilet like last time… and he asks Alex to imagine what Shorty’s toilet looks like. Gene reminds him that Alex asked him a question, and Shorty says that most dealers either shut up shop or left town, starting around two months ago. Gene tells him to call him if he finds out anything. As the two walk away, Shorty calls out that “you belong here… you look like you’re visiting but you’re not”. It’s unclear whether he means that alleged crooked cop Gene should be homeless, or whether 2008 Alex Drake belongs in 1983. Alex, of course, takes it personally. She walks back to Shorty and asks him what he said, but he doesn’t say anything.

Gene loudly calls for her, but Alex stops and looks at some telling graffiti:

(Additional bits are seen that say “Molly waz here” and “Gene [hearts] Sam”.)

At the station, Alex says that drug shortages don’t just happen, and that if drug dealers are giving up, there must be a good reason for it. Gene says that it would help if they could actually speak to the undercover cop. He also notices that someone’s left a surveillance photo of Terry, Daniel and the undercover cop on his desk. Alex says that they seem comfortable with Louise, and Gene says that when a girl like Louise comes up to you, you do whatever you can to get in her underwear. Just then, Viv walks in and says that Johnstone has been picked up… dead.

We then see the gang at the morgue. The doctor says that Johnstone died of an overdose. Gene denies it, saying that Johnstone was a dealer, and that he wouldn’t try his own supply or anyone else’s. Chris says that he might have been tempted. The doctor notes the lack of track marks of the body. Ray calls it beginner’s luck. The doctor also notes that there’s a lot of bruising where the needle went in, suggesting that the needle might have been forced into Johnstone. Ray says that it’s clever, and that if he wanted to get rid of a bunch of heroin dealers, he’d just round them up, shoot ’em up, and let them overdose. That way they just become meaningless statistics. Alex says that they wouldn’t have even noticed Johnstone’s death if Gene hasn’t wanted to talk to him, so she wonders how often it’s happened before…. because this is murder. Gene sarcastically thanks her.

The gang then go on a stakeout. Alex has a list of local deaths, and notices that all the known drug dealers are listed as having died from a heroin overdose. Alex says that it still doesn’t justify trying to contact the undercover officer, but Gene says there’s no harm in visiting her. Gene asks what the front company is, and Chris says its a mannequin company. Ray takes it as an insult that criminals can’t be bothered to create a “real” front company. Gene wistfully remembers the days of “shipping” companies and warehouses full of boxes. Alex says that they’ve seen the place, now it’s time to move on. Gene stops her, as he sees Louise walking in to the building. Ray says he’ll go talk to her, but Alex insists that no one is going anywhere.

We next see Gene and Alex standing inside the building. Alex, pretending to be from Customs and Excise, introduces herself to Louise. Louise says that she didn’t know she had any appointments scheduled for that day. Gene steps up and says that they want to know if there’s anything their department should be aware of. Louise, getting the hint, says that she can’t talk there, and Gene notes that it’s been a while since she “phoned home”. She quietly gives Gene and Alex a time and address to meet, then loudly says that all their merchandise should meet regulations.

Just when you think she’s gotten away with it, Terry Stafford walks up, instantly recognizing Gene. Terry says that he thought the police had forgotten about him. Gene says that they’re there making routine inquiries. Terry says nothing Gene Hunt does is “routine”. Terry talks about how he was retired and had lost his wife and had a crazy son and wondered if it was all worth it… and then Gene arrives, reminding him that he still counts. Alex says that his words are moving, even if untrue. Terry takes off his hat and says that he never lies to beautiful women. Alex asks what he’s doing there if he’s retired. Terry claims the business is Daniel’s, and that he just stops by on his daily walk. He says that Gene should understand what it’s like with beautiful women, as her saw him giving Louise the old “Hunt charm”. Gene tells him to enjoy his “walks”, as soon the only exercise he’ll be getting is in the prison yard… “unless you drop the soap in the shower”. Alex and Gene turn to leave, but Gene turns around to tell Terry that DCI Wilson said hello… and that Wilson also says that Terry ran his over with a car. Terry says that you can’t believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.

Alex and Gene are then seen in a parking deck waiting for Louise to show up. Gene says that she won’t last long if Terry gets suspicious. Alex calls Terry “quite a character” says that he really knows how to get under Gene’s skin. Gene describes the murder charge that Terry got out of. He apparently got into an argument with a cabbie over a taxi fare. Twelve hours later the cabbie was dead. Alex asks if it went to court. Gene says that it did, but was immediately thrown out for “inadmissible evidence”. Gene picks up the radio and asks Ray if anything is going on at the mannequin store. Ray says that it’s shut down for the day and dead quiet with no sign of Louise. Gene, insisting that she won’t show, walks towards his car.

Back at the station, Gene tells Alex that they’re going back there first thing in the morning. Alex calls this a bad idea and asks Gene to think about it. Gene says that thinking is overrated, and that he needs answer from Louise soon. Jim blocks the door into the main office, and asks Gene what gave him the right to contact Louise directly. Alex starts to answer, but Gene says that she doesn’t have to answer “pencil-neck’s” questions. Jim insists that he does, and says that it was wrong to give Hunt any leeway in the investigation. Alex asks Jim what’s happened, and Jim says that Louise will only talk to Gene and Alex. They walk through the door and see a bruised and bleeding Louise waiting for them:


In an interview room, Alex asks Louise if her beating was their fault. Louise says that they would have figured it out sooner or later. Alex says that she’s avoiding the question. Gene asks if it was Terry who beat her up. Louise says that it wasn’t Terry, but Daniel. Maybe he heard about Gene and Alex coming to see her, or maybe he’d suspected it for a while. Alex asks her what she told Daniel, and Louise insists that she didn’t blow her cover. She also says that Daniel actually apologized after the beating, but she just couldn’t stay there any more. She asks how badly she looks, and Alex says that she will look fine in a couple of days.

Alex then asks Louise point blank what the Staffords are planning. She says that they’re getting in to the heroin trade “big time” by ripping off other dealers and shutting down the market. Gene then says that they’re killing the competition, and mentions Johnstone. Louise says that she doesn’t know anything about that. Alex tries to comfort Louise by saying that she knows what it’s like going from one world to another, but Gene interrupts the moment by asking about Terry. Louise says that Terry is “yesterday’s man” and that Daniel is the driving force behind the move to the heroin trade. Gene isn’t so sure. Louise further says that Terry actually seems scared of Daniel, and as far as she knows, Terry actually seems pretty sweet.

Alex says that DCI Wilson thinks Terry’s still active, but Louise says that Wilson doesn’t know what he’s talking about. She then says that Daniel is looking to create his own supply network, but when Alex asks, she says that she doesn’t know where. She says that he’s planning a trial run tomorrow morning to White City and that he’ll almost certainly have a sample bags on him. Gene says that this is good, and that Daniel will be going down “faster than a £5 prozzie”.

A little while later, Louise sits with Chris, who says that it attacking a woman isn’t right, and that Daniel is “scum”. Louise says that going undercover isn’t what she thought it would be. Chris says that he admires her for “having balls”. He then details Shaz’s recent close call with a nutcase. Louise says she didn’t think she’d be all alone, and that she thought she’d have more help. Chris says that when Shaz was out there, he wished that he could be at her side. Louise says that he wishes Chris, not Wilson, were running her operation. The two then enjoy a long smile with each other, and Chris says that he’ll get her a cup of tea.

Louise walks over to Alex’s desk and asks her what will happen now. Alex says that they’ll need to keep her there for protection. She then says that she knows it’s not easy being someone you’re not, and that she’s sure that Louise wants something familiar. Louise says that she just can’t take the pressure any more. Jim walks over asks her point blank if she’s planning to run. When Louise says yes, Jim says that he doesn’t blame her, but that, as a favor to him, she just keep going for a little while longer. Otherwise, this will all have been in vain. Gene, from his office, watches Alex and Jim fawn over Louise. He tosses back a drink.

We then see Ray and Chris in Gene’s office. He says he wants them to go to Daniel Stafford’s house in the morning and keep an eye on him. Ray nodes his head, but Chris looks like something’s wrong. Gene asks him what the deal is, and Chris says that “the guv” asked him to come in that morning and look at some case files. Gene asks him who asked him to do that. Chris replies that it was Keats. Gene says

“You see, because just for a second there, I thought you referred to him as “the guv”. But that’s impossible, isn’t it?”

Oops. Gene reminds them both that he, not Keats, is running the operation. On the way out of Gene’s office, Ray calls Chris a twat, and Chris and Louise share another long smile.

Alex walks over to Shaz’s desk and mentions that conversation [seen in the last episode] about seeing stars. Alex asks her what exactly she meant. Shaz asks why, and Alex says that she’s just interested. Shaz asks if Gene put her up to this, and then it’s Alex’s turn to ask why. Shaz says that she thought the Guv might have asked Alex to ask her some “psychological stuff” to see if she’s fir for a promotion. Alex says that he didn’t, and that she’s just interested. Shaz says that she doesn’t really remember, and that it’s not a big deal. Shaz asks Alex to keep the whole “stars thing” quiet, because it’s hard enough to be a woman at CID without the men thinking she’s crazy.

That night, we see Alex at home alone. She has a notepad out, and is trying to put everything together:


“Everything has a pattern and a pattern to everything. Find the connections. Find a way out of this.” Suddenly, the TV turns on by itself. Although we see nothing but static, we can hear the sound of birds. Suddenly, Alex looks to her left and sees the Dead Cop coming rapidly towards her.

She wakes up on the sofa with a jolt. We see her, alone the station, opening a file cabinet marked “DPU”. It is empty inside.

When then see Ray and Chris parked outside Daniel’s house. Ray complains that it’s 5:30 in the morning, and that no one should ever be up this early. He also tells Chris that he should go easy on the Hai Karate, and that he’s wasting time with Louise. Ray says that he’s seen the way she looks at him, and that he “has her in the bag”. Chris says that he hasn’t even spoken to Louise, but Ray mentions their “animal attraction”. Chris, ever the friend, says that he thought he had a connection with her. Ray says the he won’t stand in Chris’ way, but that he wouldn’t go after an undercover woman any way. When Chris asks why, Ray says that all the pretending to be someone else messes up their heads. Chris says that he thinks she was nice.

At the station, Alex is in the kitchenette making a cup of tea when Jim walks up. Alex says that he’s up early, which Jim blames on an empty social life and his workaholic tendencies. He asks about Alex, who says that they’re planning to pick up Danny Stafford thanks to a tip from Louise. Jim notes that it’s well out of their jurisdiction, but notes that Gene is driven. He then says that he sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night, worrying that he’s misjudged Gene. He then puts down a great piles of files, and Alex asks if he got them from a file cabinet in the hallway. Jim says that Chris brought them up from the basement. Alex asks if he got some files from the hallway. Jim says that he hasn’t, then asks her why. Alex said that she is looking for something that has disappeared.

Back at Daniel’s, the man himself comes walking down a pathway and gets into his car. Ray calls Gene and tells him that Daniel is on the move. He starts the cars and begins following Daniel.

Alex is still with Jim in the kitchenette. He says that she appears to be a bit strung out. Alex says that she hasn’t been sleeping very well. Alex takes a risk and tells him that she feels like she’s being haunted. Jim asks if she means metaphorically, but Alex cuts him off and says literally. Jim says that he doesn’t believe in that sort of thing, and Alex says that she wouldn’t “back in the real world”. Jim asks if she’s being haunted by an “old lady, a creepy child, King Edward II”, and Alex says that it’s a policeman. Alex then says it might be a projection of her fears and suspicions, but Jim says that it’s to early in the morning to be talking about this.

You then hear the sound of a door opening, and Gene walks into the office. He tells Alex and Jim that he’s been in touch with Ray and Daniel is on the move. He apologizes to Jim for interrupting their coffee time, but says that “it’s the early bird that bags the bastard”.

We then see Daniel’s car in a narrow street. He comes to a stop as Ray, Chris and Gene are blocking his path. He gets out of the car and Gene walks up to him and slams him against the car. Daniel is, at first, relieved that it’s the police. When asked, he says that he’s on his way to his girlfriend’s house for a little morning sex. Gene asks Daniel if he has gullible written on his forehead, and he leans over to show Daniel… only to headbutt him when he actually looks. Ray looks in the glove compartment, finds two large bags of heroin inside. He tosses them to Gene, who shows them to Daniel, who denies knowing anything about it.

Daniel then manages to get free from Gene, and takes of running down the street. He jumps over a wall, and Gene follows, while Chris throws a large jug of engine oil over the wall. The sounds of a scuffle and glass or ceramic breaking is heard, and the gang watch the wall for a few tense moments… until Gene pops his head over the wall asking for help in getting Daniel over. Alex asks if there’s a garden on the other side of the wall. Gene says that there is, then asks why.


Back at the station, the gang watch the news about Gene’s “vandalism” of the Blue Peter Garden until Gene makes them turn it off. Gene asks if there’s anything else he needs to know about Daniel before he interrogates him. Louise says to be careful, that he’s “slippery”. “Like father, like son”, Gene says. Alex promises her that they won’t blow her cover. She then says that they can hopefully find his heroin supply before they hit the street. Louise then asks if she can go home after that, but Alex says that the police station is still the safest place for her. Louise then starts to break down, lashing out at Alex. The poor woman just wants to go home. Louise apologizes for acting out, then asks if she can call her mother. Gene tells her to use his office. Alex reminds her not to tell her mother anything about where she is.

In the hallways, Gene and Alex walk towards the interview room where Daniel is awaiting them. Alex suggests that after this is over they bring Louise on the team. Gene flat-out refuses, saying that he’s not here to babysit. Alex says that DCI Wilson hasn’t done a good job with her, and that perhaps Gene can…

“Do I look like a slice of toast? No? Then stop buttering me up like some demented housewife.”

Inside, Alex tells Daniel about five drug dealers dying in two months. She mentions the van load of heroin he tried to steal. She mentions the network of dealers he tried to set up. Daniel asks what they’re going to charge him with. Alex says that “at the moment” he’s just helping them answer some questions. Daniel says that they’ve got him on possession, but not much else, otherwise they’d be running a clean-up operation, not talking to him. Gene says that it’ll just be easier if he tells him, and Daniel says that they’re being played. When asked by whom, Daniel says that it’s his father.

He says that his father must have planted the heroin and tipped them off. Gene says that Daniel’s generation always blames their parents, and Alex asks why Terry would want to set him up. Daniel says that they’ve never seen eye-to-eye, but his Dad always had the power. He says that when he came out of prison he saw his dad for what he really was…a  fossil. Gene says that he has a high opinion of himself, but Daniel asks him what he’d think if someone “younger smarter and better looking” came in. Gene says that they’d melt in his shadow. Daniel then says something that offends Hunt, who slams his face into the table. Alex apologizes, Gene tells her not to.

Daniel then mentions the name Edward Hampton, and asks if Gene remembers him. Gene says that he does, and tells Alex that that’s the taxi driver Terry killed. Daniel says that he witnessed the murder, and that he’ll sign whatever they want to put Terry behind bars. He further says that he tried prison, and he doesn’t want to go back. He says that Gene will be a hero – the man who finally brought in Terry Stafford.

We then see Gene leading Daniel out of the interview room and handing him over to Viv, so that he can go back to his cell. Daniel reminds Gene that his “deal” will only be around for a short time. Just as he’s about to turn around to go back to his cell, Chris and Louise walk through a door at the opposite end of the hall. Daniel, instantly angry, screams that nobody sells him out.

Chris apologizes for the screw-up, but Alex says that it’s too late now. She says that Daniel has connections, and that they need to get Louise out of there as soon as possible. Gene suggests Luigi’s.

At the restaurant, Chris and Louise engage in some nervous small talk. Chris asks her if she wants another drink, and she says yes, so he gets up to get her another. After he walks away, Rays notes that he’s “well in over there”, which causes Shaz to tell him to shut up. Ray reminds her that he’s her superior, but she says only in rank, and only at the moment. At the bar, Chris tells Louise that neither he nor the Guv will let anything happen to her. They then talk for a few minutes about what life’s like for an undercover cop.

Alex and Gene talk about the deal with Daniel. Alex says that they’re going to have to give Daniel something first, as a sign of trust. But as soon as he’s out, he’ll just go back to his old life. Gene tells her to shut up so he can enjoy his drink in peace, but Alex wants him to promise that there will be no deal with Daniel.

Chris and Louise keep talking at the bar. Chris clumsily asks her out, and while she doesn’t reject him, she doesn’t say yes, either. She says that the person sitting at the bar isn’t who she really is, and that she’s not sure she can ever go back to “normal”. She asks him if he thinks they’ll take Daniel up on his offer, and Chris says he doesn’t know: Gene wants one think, and Alex wants another. He says that they normally “just shout and chuck stuff at each other” until one of them gives up. She says that Daniel can’t walk free, not after what he did to her. Chris asks if something else happened. Louise stats crying, and says that there was no one there to protect her. Although we don’t hear what actually happened, we are given the impression that Daniel raped her.

Chris barges in to the station and demands the keys to the cells. He walks down the hallways like a man on a mission:


He opens Daniel’s cell and proceeds to beat the hell out of him. Gene comes in after a few minutes and pulls Chris off. “He raped her!”, Chris yells. Alex asks Viv to call an ambulance. Gene agrees.

We then see Alex, Chris and Gene sitting in a darkened office. Alex says that they have a word for beating a suspect within an inch of his life…. but before she can say “assault”, Gene says “justice”. Alex calls his actions police brutality of the “lowest, nastiest kind”. She says she expected more from Chris. He says that Daniel had no right to do that to her, but Alex counters that he had no right to take the law into his own hands. Alex says that they now have one problem solved – Daniel won’t testify against Terry now, and that any lawyer will be able to put a battered Daniel on the stand and make the judge think his testimony was coerced. Gene says he hadn’t thought of that, and misses the days when you could bring a suspect in traction before a judge and they wouldn’t think twice about it. Alex says that it gets worse: if Daniel finds a sympathetic judge and goes free, his mission will be to kill (or seriously hurt) Louise.

Louise takes refuge at Alex’s place, and Louise says that she’s called her mother and everything is OK for now. Alex apologizes to Louise, and when she asks what for, Alex says because the police – and especially DCI Wilson – let her down. Louise says it’s all pointless, and that even if they take the Staffords down, someone else will take their place. Alex extends an offer for Louise to join the gang at Fenchurch. Why Louise asks why, Alex says that maybe she’s been put there to help cops like her. Alex says that they’re going to go through her reports and find something to bring the Staffords down.

Alex goes to the kitchen to makes some tea, but just as she reaches for some cups, a hand comes up behind her and does the old “chloroform on a rag” trick.

Back at the station, Jim looks through the pictures with Gene. He demands that Hunt look at the pictures, although Gene says he doesn’t need to, as he was there. Jim asks if he really wants to admit that he was there. He then says the real tragedy is that Chris would have made a good cop. Gene says that Danny had it coming. Jim says that this doesn’t look good for Chris at all. Jim says that Chris’ time as a cop are over, but that he might be able to pull a few strings and get him transferred to his team. Gene says no. An unbelieving Jim asks if he really said that. Jim asks if Gene will really everything over his pride, and what will he do once his team abandons him. A childish Gene knocks a cup of tea over on Jim’s desk and walks away. Jim calls him a “spoilt kid in his dirty sandpit”, but Gene says that he’s not the one who will have to change his pants when this is all over.

The next morning, Gene walks in the door and asks for Drake. Only problem is, no one has seen her. Shaz thinks that it might be a protest against Chris’ “thuggish behavior”. A hurt Chris asks Shaz what he should have done if it was her. Shaz tells him not to compare them, but Ray points out that they’re both female cops. Chris calls out to Gene and asks if he’s gotten everything straightened out. Gene says that he has. He also says that if Alex thinks she can blow off work over what happened the day before, she’s wrong.

We see Alex, in a coffin in the ground. The shadow of the weather vane appears on the coffin lid. The coffin has a window for Alex to look out:


Just then, Gene bangs on her apartment door, calling out for Alex. She slowly opens her eyes. A shovelful of dirt falls on top of the coffin, and Alex – suddenly wide awake – start banging on the inside of the coffin. Gene kicks the door open and enters her apartment. He tries to resuscitate her, to no avail. In her dream, more and more dirt falls on the coffin and she screams… just as Gene starts to begin mouth to mouth on her. Gene asks where Louise is, and Alex says that “they” must have taken her. Gene asks if she saw anyone, but Alex says it all happened too quickly. Gene says that Terry Stafford is behind all this, and that Louise is in grave danger. He tells her to get it together and get up… now.

Ray and Chris are then seen outside the mannequin shop, which the Staffords have sold. We then see all of them back at the station, with absolutely no idea where Louise could be held. Jim walks in and says that it gets worse – Daniel never made it to the hospital. Jim, as smug as ever, says that Gene had better pray to God that this all works out.

Just then Shaz stands up and hands Gene one of Louise’s reports from March. It refers to a February report, but Shaz says she can’t find that report. She also says this isn’t the first discrepancy she’s found in Louise’s reports. Gene compliments her on her good work, and Shaz reminds him of her promotion. Alex asks if the files have been tampered with, and Gene says that they have, and only one person could have done that.

Gene and Alex then burst into Wilson’s office. Gene asks how much Terry was paying him. Wilson says he has no idea what Gene’s talking about. Gene finds a golf club and asks Wilson if he plays. Gene gives him five seconds to start talking, and, just to show him that he’s serious, Gene destroys a piece of Wilson’s tea service. Gene warns him for the last time. Alex asks him what Keats will say if they’re wrong, but Gene doesn’t even seem to hear her. He gives Wilson one last chance…

… and Wilson admits that Daniel Stafford paid him to look the other way. He says that Daniel came to him, and that he knew that Louise was undercover. Alex asks why he didn’t get her out of there, and Wilson says that it was too late. Daniel promised to keep Louise safe as long as Wilson “lost” the most incriminating reports. Alex says that Louise was risking her life for nothing, but Wilson says that it all made sense: Daniel would protect Louise, keep Terry in line, and get rid of the other dealers. Wilson says that he thought it was better to have a single drug dealer he could keep tabs on than dozens he could not. Gene says that Daniel has taken Louise, and asks where they might be. Wilson says that they bought an abandoned department store, and that’s where they keep the drugs. Alex says he’d better hope Louise is there too. Gene steps forward and adjust the golf club, as if he’s going to hit Wilson. Wilson takes a breath… but Gene ends up using the club to break a large piece of shortbread into smaller pieces. He pops one in his mouth and leaves.

Gene and Alex pull up to the department store. On the radio, he tells Chris and Ray to go around back… and “oh joy! Jim is here!”.

Inside, Chris and Ray see a room full of mannequins. It’s hard to tell what could be plastic and what could be human in the mess, so Ray tells Chris to whack anything that moves.

Meanwhile, Gene, Alex and Jim see Louise kissing Terry on the side of the building. Gene calls out that he’s “seen some slappers in my time, but you take it to a new low”. Louise pulls out a gun and aims for Gene.

Inside the store, Ray and Chris continue their search… when a mannequin covered in a clear plastic sheet lunges for Chris. It’s Daniel!

Back outside, Alex has it all figured out: Louise double-crossed Daniel with Terry’s help. Daniel thought he could take over the family business, but Terry and Louise wouldn’t let that happen. Alex tells her to put the gun down. Jim tells her to listen to Alex.

Inside, Chris fights with Daniel.

Alex says that Louise cut her own face. She asks her what happened. A broken home? A bad family? Louise tells her to stop. Alex says that Terry isn’t the answer. Louise says that if she takes another step, she’ll shoot her. Gene then shoots the gun out of her hand. He then says “you know, you really have got to stop all this psychological bollocks, Bolly”. Alex compliments him on the good shot. Gene says that he was aiming for her leg.

Ray has taken over the fight for Chris inside, and almost gets a hold of Daniel, who slips out of his jacket and takes off outside. He jumps in the van and slams the gas, running over Louise in the process. Gene takes a few shots, and hits Daniel in the upper chest. He crashes the van into a pile of garbage.

Terry and the gang all crowd around Louise. Terry begs for her to be OK. Jim bends down and hold her. He tells her not to move, to just be still. Louise is breathing rapidly in short gasps. Jim holds her, and gently parts her hair with his hand. He tells her to just lie still and that he’s here for her. She dies in his arms.

We then see a somber gang at Luigi’s. He brings over a bunch of fruity drinks with umbrellas. Gene asks if he can “get a drink that looks like it hasn’t minced its way over from Mayfair”. At a separate table, Shaz says that a girl can’t help who she falls in love with. Chris says that she didn’t deserve what she got. Shaz says that he gave her every chance (to fall in love with him). Alex says that she can’t believe she trusted Louise. She says that Louise was right though – you just can’t put someone undercover and expect them to handle it all by themselves. Gene says “tough titty”, that that’s just the job. Alex says that she expected Gene to be a “beacon of sensitivity” about it, but he says that he’s trying to cheer her up. He says that the bottom line is that they trust each other. Alex says it isn’t that easy – what if someone was hiding a deep, dark secret.

Jim walks in and says that he knows everyone tried their best today, and that words aren’t enough when a fellow officer. He also says that he’s been asked to file a report about Chris’ assault of Daniel Stafford, and that as far as he’s concerned it was all accidental. Jim says that they lost a good cop today and that he doesn’t want to make it two. Jim says that if it somehow comes back to him, he’ll take the flak. Chris starts to say “thanks, Guv” but changes it to “thanks, Jim” at the last minute. Alex says that Gene should be thanking Jim, too. She says that he’s rescued Chris’ career. Gene calls across the bar:

“Thank you, Jim, for what you did. Thank you. And thank you for gracing us with your presence, for coming down from your ivory tower to poke and prod us mere mortals, and for giving me the chance to work with such a fine figure of a man. Sometimes, I’m surprised I can even look at you,such is the brightness of the sun that shines from your arse. Thank you, Jim. Thank you.”

Most of the gang lower their heads so they can smile or giggle without Jim seeing, but Gene and Jim stare at each other… coldly and full of mutual hatred.

Alex looks over at the doorway, and sees the bloody dead cop standing there.


– When Alex says that she can’t trust Gene at the beginning of the episode, he sarcastically says that he’s part of a conspiracy involving himself, Linda Lovelace, and Shergar. Linda Lovelace was a porn star famous for her… uh, “oral skills” in the 1972 film Deep Throat. The film was controversial for two reasons. For starters, it was one of the first porn films to feature a plot and decent production values. The film accordingly drew large crowds (many of whom had never seen a porn film before), and the film kicked off a wave of “porn chic” that helped “normalize” the business to a degree.  The film was also controversial because Lovelace later claimed that her sadistic husband forced her to perform in the film using drugs, hypnotism and guns to intimidate her. Interestingly, in her first two biographies, Lovelace said making the film was “liberating”. Allegations of the threats and violence didn’t emerge until after she met anti-pornography activist Andrea Dworkin. Shergar was a prize-winning racehorse who, in 1981, won the Epsom Derby by ten lengths, the largest margin of victory in the 226 years the race has been run.

– In the UK, Smarties are a candy-coated chocolate quite similar to M&Ms. Smarties are sold in the UK, Ireland, Germany, South Africa and Canada. This is interesting, because Canada is where the “American Smarties” are made, which are sweet tablets, not unlike a “sweet Altoid”. British Smarties date back to at least 1882, when the Roundtree company started making a product called “Chocolate Beans”. Their name was changed to “Smarties Chocolate Beans” in 1937, and in 1977 the company was forced to drop the “Chocolate Beans” part of the name… because British people would apparently get confused as to whether they were candy or beans. “American Smarties” were originally created and sold in England as Fizzers by the Swizzels Matlow company. In 1949, one of the brothers of the owner of Swizzels Matlow came to the United States and opened Ce De Candy and sold Fizzers under the Smarties name. Even though most Smarties are made in Newmarket, Ontario, in Canada they’re sold as “Rockets” to avoid confusion with (British) Smarties.

-If you think the difference between Smarties is confusing, consider this: In 1923, an American named Frank C. Mars started a candy company. His first big success was the Milky Way bar, America’s first “filled” chocolate bar (as opposed to plain chocolate bars, which had been around for quite some time). Early Milky Way bars came in two flavors, chocolate and vanilla. The vanilla version was later renamed the Forever Yours bar and sold until 1979. Ten years later, Mars brought it back as the Milky Way Dark bar, which was renamed again in 2000 to the Milky Way Midnight bar. In 1932, Forest Mars – son of Frank – became estranged from his father over how he was running the company, so he moved to Slough, England and opened his own candy company, Mars Ltd. There he created a candy bar nearly identical to the Milky Way bar called the Mars bar. The American arm of Mars eventually sold its own Mars bar, which was based on Mars Ltd’s Topic bar. And, as if things were confusing enough already, the version of the Mars bar sold in Europe is actually like neither the US Milky Way or the British Mars bar, but instead uses the recipe for the American 3 Musketeers bar. Oh, and guess what? In the early days, Frank Mars bought his chocolate from… Hershey!

– Westminster Bank was a real bank, formed in London in 1834. In 1970, it merged with National Provincial Bank and District Bank to form National Westminster Bank, which is known today under their newest name, NatWest. Since Westminster Bank had been operating as National Westminster for nine years at the time of Wilson’s investigation and injury, I can’t tell if it’s a writer’s goof, or if Wilson just uses the old name, which is itself pretty common. I still call my local phone company BellSouth, even though AT&T bought them out several years ago. Also, I found a list of memorable British bank robberies, and there’s nothing listed involving either 1979 or Westminster Bank.

Here is the Wikipedia entry for “Austin Allegro”. Man, what an ugly car!

– The Stranglers’ song “Golden Brown” is featured in this episode. Like a lot of rock songs with ambiguous lyrics, many over the years have claimed the song is about drugs. In this particular case, they’re right. In his 2001 book The Stranglers: Song By Song, vocalist and songwriter Hugh Cornwell says that “‘Golden Brown’ works on two levels. It’s about heroin and also about a girl”. The song is about how both heroin and women provided him with pleasure. Incidentally, the line in the song “[w]ith my mind she runs” has been the source of endless mondegreens. One of the most popular is that Cornwell is talking about “Manchirons”, which some insist are a race of Asian super-warriors.

Mr Muscle is a brand of cleaner in the UK, not unlike Mr Clean here in the US. Gerald Home, who played two minor characters in Return of the Jedi, was the original Mr Muscle in British ads.

Quincy, M.E. (usually just referred to as “Quincy“) was an American TV show that ran from 1976 to 1983. It starred Jack Klugman as a maverick medical examiner in Los Angeles County. He often clashed with his superiors, and it sometimes seemed like every single case that came through Quincy’s office was murder. You can imagine who irritated his superiors and the LAPD would get when every single time a body came across his slab – no matter how innocent it looked – Quincy would say that foul play was involved… although, of course, Quincy was always right. Quincy – who’s first name was never revealed – lived on a houseboat and was also popular with the ladies. The show was based on an earlier Canadian show called Wojeck, although many of the cases (and many Quincy’s skills and intuitions) came from real-life LA coroner Thomas Noguchi.

– “Shirt lifter” is a British slang term for homosexual. What I don’t understand is what exactly the word means. The two times I’ve heard it used in a movie or TV show, the reference was made to public places, so there might be a “cruising” element involved – a gay man might hang out in an alley with his penis already out of his pants, covered only by his shirt.. so another gay man could just come along and lift his shirt to access his penis. But if the word doesn’t apply to cruising, what does it mean? It seems like such an odd phrase. Who wears shirts so long that they cover the penis? Wouldn’t “trouser dropper” make more sense? I also read online that it refers to men who enjoy being anally penetrated; the man simply stands there naked and someone comes along and lifts the tail of his shirt to gain access to his rear end… which makes slightly more sense. Anyone out there know the exact meaning of this term?

– White City is an area in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in London.

– Hai Karate was a brand of budget aftershave sold in the US and UK from the 1960s to the 1980s. It competed with other brands such as Old Spice, English Leather, Aqua Velva, British Sterling and Brut. By the 1980s, it would have been a bad cliché for Chris to be wearing it.

– When Alex asks Gene if there’s a garden on the other side of the wall, we see a white sign with blue ship on it next to Gene’s head (see screencap above). The joke is that he’s just made a mess of the Blue Peter Garden. Blue Peter is one of the oldest, most beloved childrens’ shows in British history. First broadcast on October 16, 1958, the show still airs today – at least 4,530 episodes later. It is held in the same regard as Sesame Street in the US, only moreso. And there really is a Blue Peter Garden at the BBC’s studios. Unveiled on March 21, 1974, the garden, designed by famed British horticulturist Percy Thrower, was initially dedicated to growing different crops. Thrower redesigned the garden in 1979, reimagining it as a lush Italian garden. Before the change was complete, the garden was vandalized – to the dismay of Thrower, the show’s cast, and millions of children and even adult Britons. Sadly, the garden was vandalized again on November 23, 1983. This time, the show made an on-air appeal to viewers to try and help catch the vandals. This clip often appears on “best of TV” or “most memorable TV moments” type shows. The clip – which some criticized at the time as treating a simple vandalism as if it were a major celebrity death – is also seen in this episode of Ashes on the TV back at the station, just after the scene of the screencap shown above.

– “Cheap plonk” is British slang for inexpensive (usually red) wine.

– Although “chloroform on a rag” is an old cliché from films and TV, it doesn’t actually work. Although chloroform was used in the past as an anesthetic, and is still somewhat easy to find at hardware stores, just putting some on a rag and having someone inhale it won’t put them under. A person would have to be exposed to the gas for several minutes for the anesthetic to take effect, and once the chloroform rag is removed, the person would wake up in only a couple minutes. Chloroform can also trigger fatal abnormalities in the heartbeat, especially when adrenaline levels are high, as the case would be in many kidnappings seen in the media. Chloroform is also used as an industrial solvent, and can cause burns when applied directly to skin (when used as an anesthetic, it was mixed with air and breathed through a tube, to keep from burning the skin).

– Another TV and movie trope is the “shooting a gun out of a suspect’s hand”. This is nearly impossible to do – as Gene did in this episode – but this real-life video of a sniper doing just that to a disturbed man is pretty awesome.

Mayfair is an upscale neighborhood in London. In the 50s, 60s and early 70s, it also had a bit of a “gay, artsy” reputation.


A good episode, if a bit cliché. I can’t wait for the final battle between Gene and Jim. I think we’ll actually feel the earth move when it happens!


The Teardrop Explodes – “Reward”
The Stranglers – “Golden Brown”
The Stranglers – “No More Heroes”
Dean Martin – “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”
Frank Sinatra – “My Way”
Elvis Costello – “Watching the Detectives”

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