Ashes to Ashes: Season 3, Episode 5

Episode 5 begins with Alex having a dream. The dream is of a TV commercial for Sam Tyler’s “sexy jacket”. The ad copy, read by Hunt, says “He’s stylish. He’s modern. He knows what he wants… and he gets it.”:

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She’s nudged awake by Gene. The two are on a stakeout, trying to bust some porn smugglers. He starts up the Quattro and takes off.

Meanwhile, Ray and Chris practice their dance moves while awaiting for Shaz to spot their target. She calls on the radio, and the two take off towards a now-parked truck, where two men look through a giant box of porn videos. Gene and Alex pull up in the Quattro, guns drawn, and the men take off down the street, only to be stopped by Ray and Chris. A third man jumps out of the truck and runs the opposite way. Alex pulls out her gun but does not fire. Gene says that they’ll run the man over instead. Before they can get too far, a black car comes rushing around a corner with the third man grasping to the hood for dear life. The car stops near the Quattro, and the third man flies off. Two men then get out of the black car: DCI Litton and DI Bevan for the Manchester Police CID.

Back at the station, Gene turns the three porn smugglers over to Viv. He then takes off towards his office. Alex, in tow, asks if Litton can’t be that bad. He says that when you work with someone for eight years you get to know them, and that Litton is a “lying, little bastard weasel-boy”. In the office, Bevan the crowd tells a dirty joke about how Bananarama got their name, and all the men – especially Ray – love it. In fact, Bevan and Ray look like twins, since both have mustaches, smack their chewing gum, and sit in “manly” poses.

Gene says that he hates to break up the love-in, and Jim starts to say that he was letting Derek… but Gene cuts him off: “Derek? Sorry, am I to presume you’re referring to DCI ‘Twat-head’ Litton here?” Litton opens his jacket to reveal the Queen’s Police Medal. Jim also introduces Bevan to the gang. Gene complains that these idiots has gatecrashed his operation; Litton says tat he was happy to catch Gene’s suspect… but Gene says

“You couldn’t snatch your left knacker if it was tattooed with the words ‘Litton’s left knacker’.”

Alex notes the “homoerotic tension” and jokingly calls it exciting. Litton says that it’s actually Drakkar Noir that Drake finds exciting. Jim interrupts by saying that he has promised Litton “his” department’s full cooperation on his case. Gene asks “what case?” and Litton throws a file on Chris’s desk.

The case involves a stand-up comic known as Frank Hardwick. He used to work the club circuit in Manchester, but Litton says that his career went “tits sky” a few years back. Hardwick has since turned into an alcoholic and last week allegedly stole £2,000 from a charity golf event for police widows. It’s thought that Hardwick then fled to London. Chris repeats the story, and Ray and Bevan both says “bastard” at the exact same time. Jim then says that Newman wants his guys to help the Manchester police in any way they can. An enthusiastic Ray says that he’s in. When everyone else looks at him, Ray just says that he wants ten minutes alone in the cell with Hardwick. Jim says that he’ll pretend he didn’t hear that. Much to Gene’s chagrin, Jim also says that Litton and Bevan are now officially sharing the office and any resources they need. Jim also mentions the new “arrest and detention procedures” that have come into effect that day. He says that there are more forms to fill in, but wants everything done by the book. Jim walks towards the door, but Litton stops him and opens the door for him, a gesture that makes Jim turn to Gene and call Litton a “gentleman”.

As soon as Jim leaves, Litton turns to the gang and says that he can now talk about what’s really happening. He says that if they put Hardwick in front of a “soft-arse” judge, he might just get off with a warning. They want to frame Hardwick for something more serious, so that he can learn his lesson about stealing for police widows. Alex says that they can’t do that, and Ray asks why not, as it sends out a clean message not to mess with the police. Alex says that they can’t because it’s against the law. Litton says that he’s their collar and to stay out of their way. Gene approaches Litton and tells him to do whatever he has to do and leave as soon as possible. Litton says that he thought it’d be more fun as a race, with the winners to get a barrel of beer. Gene calls him team to action, but Ray stays behind to give Litton and Bevan some information about Hardwick.

Out in the hallway, Alex says that she thought Gene was a throwback, and that compared to Litton and Bevan he’s practically homo erectus (“Homo what? You’re obsessed, woman!”). She then calls them “knuckle draggers” and asks if Gene believes their story. He says that he doesn’t, and the two of them, along with Shaz, watch through the window as Litton and Bevan bond with Ray. Shaz agrees that they’re up to something, and Gene wonders what that might be. He orders Shaz and Bolly to find out what they can about Frank Hardwick. Alex asks if he’s going to let them frame Hardwick, and Gene says that he won’t, and that stopping Litton has been one of his life’s vocations. Chris, who has been tasked with handing out Jim’s new procedures to all departments, is stopped by Gene and told to work with Alex and Shaz. When Chris objects, Gene takes the procedures from his hand and tosses them on the floor. Alex picks them up and tells Gene not to give Keats any ammunition. As Gene walks away, she hands them to Shaz.

In the kitchenette, Bevan comments on the peppermint tea, asking if poofters work there. Ray says that the ladies like it. Bevan again says that poofs like it. Ray agrees, and Bevan says that it’s good to say that London hasn’t changed Ray. Shaz, who has been preparing the tea and rolling her eyes the whole time, asks the “troglodytes” who many sugars they’d like. Bevan asks what a troglodyte is, and Shaz, in a overly girly manner, says “big, strong and from the north”. Bevan asks for three sugars, and Ray – trying to be cool like Bevan – asks for three as well. He then asks Bevan if he remembers one case where he pulled a shotgun on a suspect, and the suspect literally crapped in his pants. The two giggle like schoolgirls.

The laughter is interrupted by Chris, who tells Ray that he’s booked the gym for dance rehearsal. Ray immediately looks uncomfortable. Chris explains to Bevan about the police gala and how he and Ray have a dance routine. Bevan causally dismisses Chris, and tells Ray that he needs to know about their informants. Alex, meanwhile, introduces herself to Bevan, who is shocked that she is a DI. She sarcastically says “No, amazingly they let us solve crimes. Whatever next? The vote?”. She asks if he knew Hunt well (he says that he doesn’t) and if he knew Sam Tyler (he also says that he didn’t). Alex says he doesn’t seem to know much, and Bevan says that he knows when someone’s being nosy… or clever. To Shaz, he says that he knows that a Troglodyte is a cave dweller. He says that Shaz might have slept her way this far, but it won’t work with him.

Litton walks in, and Alex tells him that Bevan is an “offensive moron”. Litton says that he’s heard that when women work together their menstrual cycles begin to synchronize. The two Manchester cops then leave to “kick some ass”.

The gang watch a videotape of Hardwick doing his routine. He tells a dirty joke about a woman who wants to be “clean” for her trip to the gynecologist the next morning. Shaz and Alex watch the tape stonefaced, and Chris smiles, but then says that “he’s funny… if you like jokes that hate women”. Gene then asks what Hardwick’s guilty of, aside from “crimes against comedy”. Shaz says that he got mixed in with some really shady characters after his career took a nose dive, like bank fraudsters and counterfeiters. It seems as if he might owe them a fair amount of money. Alex asks why Litton has such a hard-on to catch him, and Gene says that he doesn’t know yet, but he’s going to find out. Chris says that he has a fondness for prostitutes.

We then see Gene in the evidence room, going through the box of pornography the gang has seized earlier. Everyone follows him, and no one is quite sure what he’s up to. He hands Chris an empty bag and tells him to fill it up with porn and follow him. On the way out to the car, Alex says that this is the very thing that Keats wants to nail him on. Gene says he won’t tell Keats if she doesn’t. She says that it’s more than that, it’s about what’s right. She says she wants to nail the Manchester cops as badly as he does, only in a way that won’t make them as bad as Litton and Bevan. Gene, getting into his car, says that he’ll see her later then. Alex turns and walks away. After Chris is stopped by Jim in the hallway carrying a bag of porn, he hightails it out to the Quattro. Gene and Chris then take off.

Ray, Litton and Bevan and Gene and Chris are then seen as competing teams, each asking various streetwalkers if they’ve seen Hardwick. Gene and Chris have more luck, and are soon at a brothel or strip club interviewing Gloria. He asks her if she’s seen Hardwick, but she says that her clients reply on her discretion. Chris gently says that he’s in a bit of trouble, and that they’re only trying to help. Gloria recognizes the “good cop, bad cop” routine, and jokingly asks which one is the bad one. Gloria picks up the picture and says that Hardwick isn’t what he once was; Gene says that she isn’t either, so start talking. He then says that she can have Chris for the afternoon if she talks. She says that he’s hanging out at an alternative comedy club called “The Laughter Place”. Gene tells her to drink up, that he has a job for her. Gloria says that she’s told him everything she knows. Gene reminds her that he’s the bad cop and starts to walk way. He calls out for Christopher, but Shaz has called him on the radio. She has apparently been listening in, “in case Chris needs backup”.

Outside the club, Gene, Gloria and Chris wait for Hardwick, who soon appears. Gene tells her to “work her magic” by offering him a freebie. Gloria approached Hardwick and asks for an autograph. He asks for her autograph book, and she says that she doesn’t have one… so could he sign her chest. She whispers something in his ear, and the two enter the club. Gene says that they’ll wait a few minutes, then arrest Hardwick for possession and distribution of pornography.

Just then, Litton, Ray and Bevan show up in their car, and Litton tells Gene that he’s interfering with their investigation. Gene says that if this is about police widows, then he’s a monkey’s uncle. Litton says that he’s not going home without Hardwick. While the two argue, Alex and Shaz walk in the club. She calls out for Frank Hardwick, and a comedian asks who wants to know. She says “DI Drake, CID” and he says “You’re not the average fascist bully boy. You must be police intelligence. Or is that a contradiction in terms?” Alex grabs him by the wrist and throws him against the wall. She says that “In 20 years time, you’re going to be fat, bald and writing soft rock musicals”. She then asks him again where Hardwick is, and he says downstairs.

The ladies go downstairs, to find Hardwick handcuffed and tied to a beam in the ceiling, while Gloria sits and watches him. When they enter the room, he asks if they’re the main course, as Gloria is “rubbish”. Alex says that they’re police officers, which Hardwick initially thinks is a joke. Even when Alex says that she’s arresting him for the theft in Manchester, he jokes that he hasn’t said the “safety word” yet. When then hear Gene calling out to Alex, saying that she’s interfering with his arrest. We then Alex leading Hardwick – in a t-shirt, boxers, robe and handcuffs – out of the club, while the other comedians stand and laugh. The “fascist bully boy” comedian for earlier approaches Gene, and calls him a “proper rozzer, fascist and sexist”. Gene grabs his shoulders and kicks him in the nuts:

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But as the comedian falls backwards, Ray gets the man’s blood on him. He realizes that the man has been shot, and he calls out to everyone just as another shot is fired. Chris leads all the comedians back into the club and Ray attends to the comedian while everyone else hides behind Gene and Litton’s cars. While waiting for another shot, Gene and Litton get into an argument with their guns drawn. Litton says that he is taking Hardwick, but Gene counters that he’s started a gunfight in his district, so he gets nothing.

Back at the station, Gene says that they now have a case of attempted murder on their hands. He asks what the gang has. Alex says there’s no prints and no weapon, although the bullet has gone off to forensics. Shaz says that there are no witnesses, and that their best bet is the comedian, but doctors say that he’s touch and go at the moment. Gene says that they need to get him in for a chat. Litton enters the room and says that he begs to differ. Gene says that the shooting was on “his manor” which makes it his case. Litton says that he’s put in for Hardwick to be transferred, and that the fax should be coming in in about an hour. Gene says that the case is Litton’s “big ticket to somewhere”, and Litton replies that he’d be scared if this was the old Gene Hunt. Litton asserts that Hardwick is his. He then turns and leaves. Alex says that “we” need to break Hardwick soon, but Gene says there will be no “we”. Alex will not be allowed anywhere near the suspect.

A little while later, Bevan approaches Ray at his desk. He asks if Ray is writing a report about the incident, and that suggests “Fat bastard got shot at” will suffice. He hands Ray a flask, but Ray takes it and puts it down on his desk instead of taking a swig. Bevan asks his he’s OK, and Ray says that he is… he’s just bothered by the fact that just before the shots were fired, Bevan was right next to him, but after the shots rang out… Bevan asks him what he means, but Ray brushes it off. “Fat bastard got shot at” it is.

Meanwhile, Gene enters the interview room to talk to Hardwick. Viv presses “record” on a cassette tape recorder, and mentions that Gene entered the room at 15:40 (3:40pm). Gene asks what the recorder’s doing that, and Viv says it’s via Keats’ orders. Everything will be done by the book now. Viv leaves, and Gene begins his interview very conventionally. He asks Hardwick what he knows, and Hardwick replies with a joke about how you can “brainwash” a cop using a bidet. Gene then notes that time, saying that “DCI Hunt takes a sip of tea”. He picks up a mug of tea that Hardwick had been drinking and pours it all over the cassette recorder. He then throws the recorder off the desk and asks “where were we?”

Back in the office, Jim stares at Alex as she skims through a book called The Pathology of Interrogation. She says that she wants to get inside Hardwick’s head. Jim reads from the book: “The forensics of a suspect’s past is the key to unlocking his crimes.” Jim then offers Alex some free advice. He says that if Hunt and Drake aren’t working well together, then Fenchurch East isn’t working well. He says that he doesn’t know what the problem is, but their relationship must work off of trust. When Alex asks him what he means, he says that he won’t stand buy and let Gene take the station down.

We then see Ray at his desk. He is obviously troubled by something. He asks Chris what he would do if he knew someone wasn’t telling the whole truth. Chris cracks a joke about Ray going to transvestite bars, but then sees that he is serious. He asks him to explain, but just then Bevan walks up. Chris asks him about tonight’s dance rehearsal. With Bevan only feet away, Ray says that he’s not sure he wants to do the dancing thing. Chris points out that they only have until Friday, but Ray says that he’s just not cut out for performing. Bevan says that’s bullocks, as Ray used to sing “Danny Boy” every night at their old pub in Manchester. He then hassles Ray into singing a couple of lines with him in the office. Bevan says that he should sing that, “to remind him of where you’re from” instead of “spazzing about” dancing. Ray, wanting to remain on both Bevan’s and Chris’ good sides, is noncommittal.

Out in the hallway, Alex stops Bevan. She says that she spoke to Chris, and he said that they all worked for the same division in Manchester. She says that he had to know Sam Tyler. Bevan says that he doesn’t remember him, but adds that it wasn’t about what Gene did, but what he got others to do for him.

Back in the office, Alex looks through the window into the interview room, and sees that Ge’s got Hardwick up against the wall. Hearing Jim coming, she heads to the room to get Gene to calm down. She says that whatever he’s doing isn’t working, and that she’s been working on a psychological profile of Hardwick and she thinks she’s come up with something. Gene is hesitant, but when Alex points out that “his way” hasn’t worked yet, and that they only have a half-hour before Hardwick is turned over to Litton, he agrees to let her talk to him.

In the interview room, she asks Hardwick why he stopped performing professionally. He says that his lifestyle “didn’t agree” with show business. Alex says that back in 1973 he was booked to play at the Blackpool Grand for a whole season, but never showed up. She also notes that in December of 1973 he was prescribed beta blockers, and asks if it was for insomnia or stage fright. She asks if he’s frightened now, because someone just tried to kill him and he refuses to talk. A a brief silence, Frank says that “no one can touch them, and they can do anything they want”. Alex asks who, but he refuses to say. She says that he’s in a police station and he’s perfectly safe. Frank laughs at this, causing Alex to ask if it’s Litton. Frank says he won’t talk there. Alex says that she’s not like the other cops, and that she only wants the truth.

We then see Alex in Gene’s office. She says that she wants to let Hardwick go, and Gene thinks she’s off her rocker. She says that Hardwick won’t talk because he’s afraid of Litton and other cops. Gene asks if they’re supposed to just let him walk out of the station, and Alex says that Hardwick thinks he won’t last five minutes. Instead, she says that they ought to treat him like a protected witness. They can let him go now and meet up with him later that night. Gene says that he’ll be halfway to Spain by then, Alex assures him that he won’t run.  Gene still says no. Ray walks in just at that moment, and he tells Gene and Alex about what happened earlier during the shooting and how Bevan was “leaning on him” while he was writing his report.

Some time passes, and we see Litton and Bevan walk in the office with Hardwick’s transfer order. Gene says that he’d love to help, but that Drake released him for lack of evidence. The Manchester Twins give her an evil look:

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They ask if she just couldn’t have “made something up” to keep him behind bars. In her best “I’m talking to a five year-old” voice, she says that she couldn’t, because that would be breaking the law. Litton and Bevan say they won’t leave without Hardwick, and angrily storm off.

Later that night, we see Gene and Alex in the Quattro, waiting for Hardwick to show up. Gene says that it looks as though she’s been stood up, but Frank suddenly appears in the distance. Alex gets out of the car and walks towards him, just as a van turns the corner and starts speeding towards both of them. Gene gets out of the car and fires a few rounds at the van, only to jump away at the last minute.

We then see the three of them at Luigi’s, where Alex apologizes for waking him up at such an hour. Luigi apologizes for his appearance, and Frank says that it reminds him of the Italian doctor who thought an “innuendo” was a suppository. Luigi begins laughing hysterically, thinking it’s a hilarious joke. As soon as he walks away, Gene asks Frank what the deal is between him and Litton. Hardwick says that drug dealers and pimps had been getting beaten up in Litton’s district up in Manchester. Rumor had it that it was crooked cops extorting protection money from the lawbreakers. He then says that the week before he’d been in a pub and he saw a man beating up a black guy, and a police radio went off in his pocket. The cop saw Frank, and so he knew he had to flee. Alex asks who the cop was, and Hardwick says that it was Geoff Bevan.

The next morning, we see Litton walk into an empty office. Gene has the gang in the evidence room, where Chris says that he can’t believe that his former cops could be up to something like that. Shaz says she knew it from the moment they arrived. Chris then asks what they do next… expose Litton? Gene says not yet, that he wants to take them all down, not just Litton. Alex tries to point out that they can’t let they take Hardwick back to Manchester, but Gene cuts her off, saying that Frank would never make it back. He says that Hardwick is safe at Luigi’s for now. Litton comes in the room, and he says that Hardwick has apparently vanished into thin air. Litton reminds the group that Hardwick stole from police widows, and Gene says that we all want the bastards caught.

Bevan goes to Gene’s office. He closes the blinds, leading Gene to ask if this is a private striptease. Bevan says that Gene must have “crapped himself” when he walked back into his life. Gene says no, and that it’s always good to see an old face. Geoff says that Gene wasn’t so cocky three years ago, the day Sam Tyler disappeared. Gene says that there’s a line, and Geoff shouldn’t cross it. Bevan asks where that line was with Tyler, then says that if his gang is up to something, he’d better think before turning on him. Geoff pulls up the shade and leaves; Alex is at the door. She asks Gene if everything’s OK. He says that it is.

Shaz fields a phone call from the hospital. The young comedian has died. At the hospital, the gang look at the body. Gene says this might be an opportunity, and asks what might happen if the man wasn’t dead.

Back at the station, Litton asks where Gene is, as he has a warrant to raid the brothels to find Hardwick. No one answers his question. Instead, Shaz dials Alex’s extension, and Alex answers and pretends that it’s the hospital, and that the comedian has not only recovered, but can identify the suspect. Alex hangs up the phone and gives Chris and Ray fake tasks to do. Gene walks in and asks Drake what all the excitement is about. She tells him – in the presence of Litton, of course – that the shooting victim is not only awake, but also has full memory of the event and can ID the shooter. Litton asks what they’re waiting for, and Alex says that the doctor has ordered the man to rest until tomorrow morning. Gene, with a bit of bravado, says that he can feel the suspect’s balls in his hand already. Litton hopes that he can close the case. Gene reminds him to keep it under wraps.

Alex walks through the hallway when she is stopped by Viv, who hands her a personnel file he’d just received via fax from Manchester and some other file. Alex looks at the files and frowns.

Gene, alone in the office, uses a crowbar to pry open Alex’s desk drawer. He pulls Sam’s leather jacket out, rifles through the rest of the drawer, and walks away.

Alex finds Bevan in the hallway. She says that he’d said that he never worked a crime scene with Gene Hunt. She holds up the picture of Sam’s crashed car and asks if it looks familiar. He calls her a “busy bee” while she continues: he was transferred to CID the month that Sam disappeared, and he’s the one who photographed the car. He asks her why Gene gets her so excited and tells her that Gene will never tell her what happened that day. He says the “closer you get to Gene, the less you know”. He then tells her that a “pretty woman like herself” should be careful in a police station at night. Alex asks if he’s threatening her, and Geoff says that he’ll give her the story on Sam and Gene if she gives up Hardwick.

Outside, Gene tosses Sam’s file and jacket into a “burn barrel”. Alex walks up just as he tosses the coat into the fire. She asks what he’s doing, and why he’s burning evidence. Gene tells her to forget everything, that it’s only a dead man’s jacket. Alex again asks Gene to explain it to her (again saying “please”). She ask if Sam was “trying to get back somewhere” like she is. She asks what’s going on in Gene’s mind that he can’t tell her. Gene tells her that whatever she think it is that she’s looking for, she can forget it… it doesn’t exist.

“Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.”

Gene says that they have a job to do, and walks away. Alex sees Jim, who is leaving for the day. The two have a nice long stare.

We then see Ray and Chris getting out of a car. Chris asks Ray if he’s ready to pull the wool over Litton and Bevan’s eyes. He says that he is, and asks why Chris would think he wouldn’t be. Chris says that he was just asking. Ray reminds Chris and Shaz of the plan, the walks around the corner to check on the rogue cops. He sees Bevan alone in a café, and so he goes back to the car to tell Chris and Shaz that he will wait there until Litton shows up. He turns around to walk back to the café… only to see a field of stars:

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He calls out to Chris, but when he turns to talk to him, then turns back around again, he sees the city street instead. Ray says that he just saw stars, “like he was at the edge of the world”. He asks if Chris saw them, but Chris only asks about how anyone could see stars in London’s pollution. Ray says the stars were everywhere, “like we were bloody astronauts”. Chris tells him to call Mission Control then head for the hospital, and reminds him that they need to know that the Manc cops are headed to the hospital for the plan to work.

At the hospital, Gene and Alex walk in, and the doctor says that all the patients have been moved to another ward. He then asks if Hunt can guarantee the safety of his staff. Hunt says that as long as they stay off the floor, everything will be fine. Chris and Shaz walk in, and Gene tells Chris that he will “play” the police guard, and that he will sneak off to “use the bathroom”. Since there’s only one entrance to the ward, the Manc cops will have to see that he’s not there. Gene and Alex will handle the rest.

Outside the café, Ray radios in that Litton has still not showed… but Litton does show up a few seconds later. He wonders what Ray’s doing standing outside when there’s drinking to be doing inside. Ray asks if he wants a pint, and Litton says that he does. He then asks Ray for a light. Litton then starts talking about where everything will end, and how cops used to be warriors and now they want social workers in uniform. He talks for a few more moments, then declines the offer for a pint. He puts Rays lighter back in his pocket, and uses the opportunity to steal his radio.

Back at the hospital, Gene repeatedly calls Ray, only to get no answer. Ray’s finally figured out that Litton has stolen his radio. Before Ray can contact any of the rest of the team, Chris asks Gene about Hardwick over the radio, and Gene says that he’s safe at Luigi’s… over the radio.

A few minutes later an out of breath Ray comes running into the hospital, telling the gang that Litton’s stolen his radio. Gene is initially worried that Litton will know that the whole thing’s a set-up… until Alex points out that they talked about Luigi’s over the radio. The gang take off for the restaurant at top speed.

Inside, they find that Litton has Hardwick up against the wall. Litton calls Hardwick a lying bastard, but Gene says that there’s only one bastard in the room. Alex then goes through the case of David Townsend, the young black kid that Hardwick saw beaten to death. She says that the killer wore steel toe-caps and killed the boy with the fifth kick to the head… and Gene says that the killer kept on kicking. He then says that Townsend wouldn’t pay up, so Litton got a friend to “encourage him” to pay. Litton denies it, but Gene says that it’s an interesting was to keep crime figures down. Litton slumps in a chair and says that Bevan has crossed the line. Alex says that Litton didn’t know about Bevan. Gene says there’s no way he didn’t know about it. Litton says that he knew about a few beatings, but had no idea that it was all for money. Alex asks if Bevan knew about the trap at the hospital; Litton says that he didn’t, and he then apologizes to Ray. Alex then asks Litton to help them

We then see Gene, Alex and Litton back at the station. Gene and Alex open the office doors for Litton, and he takes Bevan into Gene’s office – after taking Gene’s phone off the hook and dialing an extension, so that Gene and Alex can listen in. Litton says that Gene has gotten full immunity for Hardwick. Acting as if nothing is amiss, Litton says that Gene and the gang screwed them over, but that they’ll have a chance for “payback” tonight at a benefit the station is holding. Bevan calls Hardwick move both risky and cheeky, and Litton suggests that they go to show Hardwick what will happen if he ever shows up in Manchester again.

We’re then taken to the gala. Backstage, Alex and Gene make sure that Hardwick is ready. He says that he is, and that he needs to nail Bevan even more than Gene and Alex do. Litton puts a bulletproof vest on Hardwick, just to be safe. Meanwhile, a nervous Ray wonders why he has to go on stage. Sjhaz points out that he has to, otherwise Bevan might smell a rat. Chris tells her to back off, as Ray was hallucinating “that he was Captain Kirk” earlier. Ray denies this, but Shaz looks at him with interest and asks if he saw did stars. Ray says that he didn’t and that Chris is just talking. She offers to help him with his bow tie, then says that he can talk to her about it. He tells he to get lost.

Chris tells her that he’s scared to go on stage, but she just tells him to break a leg. So we’re then treated to the sight to Chris popping… in a Flashdance type shirt, short jean shorts, leg warmers and sweatbands. Gene says “Oh, sweet Jesus, I thought I’d seen everything”, and we’re inclined to agree.

After Chris’ dance, Hardwick takes the stage. When he first walks out, everything is in slow motion. The crowd seems intimidating. But then Hardwick’s stage persona takes over, and he introduces the next act, two cops dressed up as the Blues Brothers. While the “Brothers” sing and dance on stage, Litton talks to Hunt. He says that Hunt has changed, and that Tyler and Drake have rubbed off on him. He says that he never let anyone challenge him, and Gene asks Litton if he’s nervous.

On stage, Hardwick announces the next act: Ray Carling singing “Danny Boy”. Ray walks onto the stage and appears to be frozen with stage fright. He mumbles through the first few lines, then says that he’s forgotten the words. Shaz walks on stage and quietly starts singing the song, and Ray joins in. It’s a sweet moment.

Backstage, Gene tells “Olivia Newton Skelton” to go and keep an eye on the stage door. Alex walks up and says that she’s decided to trust Gene, which he says is good, so that they can attend to the task at hand. Alex says that there is one thing she wants: to know the truth about Sam Tyler’s death. She asks him to look her in the eyes and tell her that he had nothing to do with it. Gene can’t, and says that he doesn’t have time for this.

Meanwhile, Chris lights up a smoke outside at the stage door, while “Jake Elwood” walks back through the door. “Nice one, mate”, Chris says to him. He then hears a knock coming from a nearby trash bin. He opens it up, and finds a cop resembling Bevan tied up inside. Chris then understands that “Jake” is actually Bevan.

Alex continues to beg Gene to tell her the truth, but she’s interrupted by Chris, who says that Bevan is there. The gang head to the dressing rooms, where Bevan has entered under the guise of getting Hardwick’s autograph. Bevan pulls a gun on him instead, and just before he shoots him, Alex calls out, causing Bevan to grab Bevan and put a gun to his head:

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Bevan demands that the group drop their weapons, and Alex talks them all into putting their guns on the floor. Gene calls Geoff a murdering bastard, and in return Bevan asks when Gene grew wings and a halo. He then asks Gene if they should tell Alex why Gene ordered him to falsify evidence at a crime scene. Bevan asks what Gene was covering up about Tyler, and he demands that Gene tell her what he did to Sam. Bevan repeats Gene’s “murdering bastard” line, and says that only difference between the two of them is that Gene got away with it. Gene gets his gun and aims it at Bevan. Bevan says he wouldn’t dare. Gene says “try me”. Bevan pushes Hardwick towards Gene and the gang, then fires a shot directly into Hardwick’s chest. He then runs away. Gene takes off after him, while Litton and Alex stay behind to care for Hardwick and remind him that he’s wearing the bulletproof vest.

We then see Bevan outside, where Ray is waiting for him. Ray tells him to stop and drop the gun. Bevan says that Ray wouldn’t shoot him. Chris pops up from behind the rubbish bin and aims his gun at Bevan’s head. Chris reminds Bevan that Ray said to drop his gun. Bevan does so, and Ray tells him to kick it away from him. Bevan begins to, but then reaches in his pocket. A shot rings out, and we see that Gene has shot Bevan from the stage door. Gene walks to to Bevan and asks if he wants to know the truth. He then bends over and whispers something to Bevan, who begins breathing heavily and calling out. Gene walks away.

Alex runs up to Bevan and asks why Gene had whispered to him. He won’t answer, so she goes to Gene and asks him what he said. Gene said that he told him the truth… that Manchester City are going to destroy Manchester United next season.

Back at the station, we see Chris and Viv popping to a boombox. Shaz and Ray, who are watching together from the side, says that hurt Ray and Chris’ friendship by dating Chris. She asks him if he was lonely, but the ever-stoic Ray says that he wasn’t… well, perhaps a little bit. She says that they could have done more to include him, as he is Chris’ best mate. She then tells him to go on and have fun with Chris. Ray walks up and begins dancing badly – but he’s having fun.

Litton walks in and says they he wants to say goodbye. Hunt says that he can’t leave yet. Gene hands him a glass of Scotch and says that there aren’t many “old school” cops left these days. The two toast to the “good old days”, and as soon as the drink is gone, Gene tells him to “bugger off back to Manchester”.

Just then, Jim walks in with an escort of uniformed officers. He says that Litton is suspended, effective immediately, and that he wants his firearm and warrant card (badge). Gene asks what’s going on, and Jim continues that Litton will be escorted back to Manchester where he will face “a disciplinary tribunal and possibly criminal charges”. Litton asks what the charges are against him, and Jim says “failing to prevent criminal acts perpetrated by your own officer”. Gene says that Litton has 25 years of service, and that while he’s a prat, he’s an innocent prat. Jim, as smug as ever, says the he hopes the tribunal agrees… but he personally wouldn’t be so confident. Litton tells the gang that he’ll be OK. Alex asks who requested the tribunal; Jim says that he did and that’s the procedure… or did they all forget that? Jim, looking like the schoolyard nerd lording over a bully he has inexplicably beaten up, tells the uniformed cops to take Litton away.

Gene approaches Jim an gives him the meanest, most disgusted stare Gene Hunt has ever come up with. He looks him up and down, the walks into his office and slams the door. Alex looks at Jim, who looks back at her. He walks towards the door to leave, but turns to look at Alex at the last moment. She walks up to him, and he asks if they still need to talk. She looks back at Gene, then walks out the door with Jim, while Gene stares at them.

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OTHER STUFF

– Legend has it that Bananarama actually got their name because one day the girls were sitting around and trying to come up with a name for their new band. They were eating bananas, and when the Roxy Music song “Pyjamarama” came on the radio, one of the girls thought, “Pyjamarama… bananas!!” and the name was born.

Berk is Cockney rhyming slang for Berkley Hunt (“hunt” rhymes with an offensive word for the female genitalia). It generally means a stupid person, especially one who is easily fooled. Over time, Berkley Hunt was shorted to just berk. Although berk is usually pronounced as “bark” in British English (as in “Berkshire” or “Berkley”), in this case it rhymes with “work”.

– “The Queen’s Medal” normally refers to “The Queen’s South Africa Medal” (given to veterans of the Second Boer War) or “The Royal Medals” of the Royal Society in London (given to academics like physicists, mathematicians and chemists). The Queen’s Police Medal is given to police officers for bravery and gallantry. Recipients are allowed to use the honorific “QPM” after the names. The award has an interesting history: it was created as the King’s Police Medal in 1909 after the Tottenham Outrage, and despite the name, firefighters were allowed to receive the award as well. It was renamed the King’s Police and Fire Services Medal in 1940, to officially recognize the contributions of firefighters. In 1954, it was renamed the “Queen’s Police Medal” because Elizabeth II had taken the throne. At that time, a separate award was also created for fire fighters, the Queen’s Fire Service Medal.

– In the sense Gene uses it in this episode, “knacker” means testicle.

– French fashion designer Guy Laroche developed Drakkar (1972) and later Darkkar Noir (1982). For a long stretch in the 80s, Drakkar Noir was the scent for men. Unfortunately, its popularity was its downfall: the cologne started appearing in drug and discount stores, and soon everyone was wearing the scent (usually too much of it too). In fact, by the late 80s or early 90s, “black guy at the nightclub who took a bath in Drakkar Noir” became a cliché, and soon its popularity dropped. Incidentally, the name means “black dragon ship”, from the Norse, allegedly chosen to emphasize the masculinity of the scent.

– Frank Hardwick seems to be mostly based on British comedian Bernard Manning. Manchester-born Manning was popular on the club circuit in Northern England in the 50s and 60s. His ribald comedy – based on sexual, racial, and religious stereotypes – was a bit “outrageous” for its day. Manning was able to get his own TV show in 1971, and another in 1974, but was shoved aside by the wave of political correctness in the 1980s. Because of its lack of “sensitivity”, his comedy is rarely shown on British TV these days, although many have described Manning as a “perfect gentleman” and said that his stage persona was just an act. Manning himself never made jokes about tampons (yes, tampons) or disabled people, and said that he was deeply offended at the word “wog” (but not “nigger” or “coon”). He also reportedly never swore in front of his mother.

Tizer is a red soft drink with a sweet and fruity taste. Originally sold by Fred Pickup of Manchester as ‘Pickup’s Appetizer’ in 1924, the brand was sold to A.G. Barr of Glasgow – makers of the incredibly popular Irn-Bru (“Iron Brew”) drink – in 1972.

GOOF: Gene tauntingly says that Litton wears “Next for Men” loafers. This refers to a company now known as Next, the third most popular British clothing retailer. Started in Leeds as Joseph Hepworth & Son in 1864, the company bought women’s clothing retailer Kendall & Sons Ltd in 1982 and rebranded them as “Next”. “Next for Men”, which Gene refers to, didn’t exist until 1984, when designer George Davies took over the company. So Gene’s making fun of Litton for shopping at a store that doesn’t exist yet.

– £2,000 in 1983 would be worth £5,200 today, or around $8,000 American dollars.

– “Chinese burns” are more often called “Indian burns” in the US.

“Chinky” is a British slang term for Chinese takeout. Amusingly, several British government agencies have feuded over whether the term is racist or not. In 2001, the Radio Authority said the word – obviously based on the slang term “chink” – was racist. However, in 2002, the Broadcasting Standards Commission said that it was not, if referring only to a restaurant or meal. Both agencies were combined with other agencies to form Ofcom in late 2003, and this agency says that the term has racist origins, but that “degree to which the term is deemed offensive varies according to age or ethnic origin of the listener”.

– Plimsolls are (were) a type of canvas shoe, a kind of forerunner to tennis shoes (or trainers, as they’re known in the UK).

– Surely everyone knows that the Moonwalk and Popping are types of 80s dances, right?

– Amusingly, the first pink rabbit to advertise a battery was the Duracell Bunny, which was launched in 1973 in Europe and Australia. Duracell registered the bunny as a trademark in the US, but accidentally let the trademark expire. Rival brand Energizer then registered the trademark in the US and created the Energizer Bunny, a parody of the original Duracell Bunny. And just as people in the US use “Energizer Bunny” as slang (“He won’t shut up – he’s like the Energizer Bunny!”) so too do people in the UK and Australia use “Duracell Bunny”.

– As mentioned last season, grass is British slang term for criminal informant. The term dates back to the 1930s, and in the early 1970s journalists coined the term supergrass to describe people who ratted out tons of organized crime figures in the UK.

Tom is London slang for a prostitute. The term cam in to national usage thanks to The Bill, a realistic cop show based in London that ran from 1984 to… sometime later this year (ITV has canceled the series).

–  The comedian who approaches Alex with the “average fascist bully boy” line is Ben Elton, a leading left-wing comic of the early 1980s and the writer of such classic TV shows as The Young Ones and Blackadder. As you might guess, twenty years later, Elton would in fact be fat and bald, and indeed writing soft rock musicals, such as the Queen tribute We Will Rock You and Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom of the Opera. Good for him about having a sense of humor about it!

Girl Guides are the female equivalent of the Boy Scouts in much of the rest of the world. In fact, it seems that only countries that have been under the influence of the US – such as Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines – call them “Girl Scouts”.

The Pathology of Interrogation doesn’t appear to be a real book. A Google search for the title only returns other recaps of this episode.

– Take it to the bank: I can guarantee you that the phrase “[t]he forensics of a suspect’s past is the key to unlocking his crimes” will have an impact later on.

– The Railway Arms was the name of the pub Gene and the gang frequented in Life on Mars.

Loved the thermal paper in the fax machine! Thank God those days are over! Now if we could just get rid of faxes completely…

– The Blackpool Grand is a real theatre… in Blackpool, England. From 1900-1950, Blackpool was the main tourist destination in northern England, and to this day its said that Blackpool has more hotel rooms than all of Portugal. It’s also thought that Blackpool escaped major bombing during WWII because Adolf Hitler requested that it remain as a tourist center after the invasion of Great Britain. The cheap airfares of the past 20 years have really hurt Blackpool’s tourist industry: why would a family go to Blackpool when they could go to the sunny Spanish coast for around the same price?

– Although most Americans think of heart problems or hypertension when thinking of beta blockers, they can also be prescribed for social or performance anxiety. Many musicians, actors, dancers and public speakers use beta blockers to control stage fright. Some Olympic athletes have been caught using them, especially in sports requiring accurate aim like archery and shooting. However, contrary to what Alex says in this episode, beta blockers often interfere with the production of melatonin, and thus often cause insomnia, not help it.

Sapphire & Steel was a British science fiction show which ran on ITV from 1979 to 1982. It starred David McCallum as Steel and Joanna Lumley as Sapphire. I’ve never seen the show (I’d never even heard of it until now), but according to its Wiki article, very little is known about the two main characters, other than that they were sent here to protect the integrity of time. Although it’s never explicitly stated, given their superhuman skills, it’s heavily implied that Steel & Sapphire are not human. I wonder if this is a throwaway reference, or if it has any meaning.

– The Internet was abuzz with discussion over Ray’s line “…like we were bloody astronauts”. The series finale of the American version of Life On Mars had Sam Tyler wake up on a spaceship headed to Mars in the distant future (2025? 2045?). The astronauts had been placed in a state of suspended animation for the long trip, and to keep their minds occupied during that time, their brains were “programmed” to think that it was 2008. Only something went wrong with Sam’s programming, and his brain was stuck in both 1973 and 2008. Posters on Ashes message boards are hoping that Ray’s line isn’t a signal that Ashes will end in the same way. I don’t think that it will, and for two reasons. For one, it’s not a secret that the creators of Mars and Ashes just hated the ending to the American series. Secondly, it’s now been done before, and given the obsessive fandom of Ashes fans, I think there’d be riots in the streets if the series ended that way. I think it’s safe to say that Ray’s line was just a joke for people who have seen both versions of Mars.

– Gene’s line “of all the forces in all the world, they end up in mine” is a riff on the famous line from Casablanca: “of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine”.

– When Alex asks if Hardwick if OK to perform at the gala, Gene says “Get a move on, Tarby”. Tarby is the nickname of Jimmy Tarbuck, a popular British comedian from the 1960s who hosted several variety shows in the 1980s.

– I know this is nitpicky, but the man who made whiskey in Tennessee was named Jack Daniel. The whiskey he made is called “Jack Daniel’s [whiskey]”. As legend has it, Daniel went to work early one morning and had trouble opening a safe, which he then kicked, which damaged a toe. The damaged toe got infected and Daniel eventually died from blood poisoning. In January 2006 a series of Jack Daniel’s ads ran in the London Underground referencing the incident with the tagline: “Moral: Never go to work early”.

– Although they date back to the Middle Ages, the first modern bulletproof vest – one easily worn under street clothing – was launched by the Second Chance Body Armor company i 1976. The vest, the first all-Kevlar model, was so popular that in less than ten years between a third and a half of all American police officers were wearing them daily. Although the one seen on Ashes is quite bulky, it’s not inconceivable that the station would have a few lying around for an occasion such as this.

– “Talking cobblers” is Cockney rhyming slang which literally means “talking balls” (from “cobbler’s awls”). I fear I’ll never understand Cockney rhyming slang.

– Just because, here’s picture of Shaz looking cute at the gala:

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She’s not that pretty, but she’s so damn cute, and her voice just does it for me, ya know?

– In the United States, “Danny Boy” is usually associated with two things: police officers and funerals. Is this foreshadowing? Or does “Danny Boy” not have the same association with cops and funerals in the UK?

– Younger readers might not know about the early 80s obsession with dance and workout clothing, inspired by the music video for the 1981 Olivia Newton John song “Physical” and the 1983 film Flashdance. Although “Physical” is actually about sex, the music video (watch it here) was about working out, and thus, the song became standard at almost every gym in the free world in the early 80s.

– “Gooseberry” is British slang for an “unwanted third person”, much like “third wheel” is used in the US.

– The lyrics of the Yazoo song “Only You”, heard at the end of the episode, seem especially relevant:

Looking from a window above
It’s like a story of love, can you hear me?
Came back only yesterday
I’m moving farther away, want you near me

All I needed was the love you gave
All I needed for another day
And all I ever knew, only you

Sometimes when I think of her name
When it’s only a game and I need you
Listen to the words that you say
It’s getting harder to stay when I see you

This is going to take a long time
And I wonder what’s mine, can’t take no more
Wonder if you’ll understand
It’s just the touch of your hand behind a closed door.

MY THOUGHTS

I’m torn about this episode. On the one hand, had the cops been from Brighton or Blackpool, this could have been a throwaway episode with a fair to middling storyline. But the cops were from Manchester, so that made everything different. A sense of tension existed throughout the episode, as if explosive secrets could come out at any time. And I liked that, although we really didn’t learn all that much when all was said and done. Gene “covered up” something involving Sam. Although it’s implied that Gene killed Sam, when you actually read what was said, it could be anything. Maybe Sam killed someone, and Gene helped him cover it up. Or maybe Sam had turned into a bad cop, and Gene knew he was targeted by the mob or whoever, and Gene simply “let” him get murdered. Or maybe, just maybe, Sam convinced Gene that he was from the future and for some reason he wanted to go back, and killing him was the only way to do that, so Gene didn’t “kill” him as much as assisted in a suicide. Or maybe Sam’s not even dead at all – maybe Sam decided to go underground for any number of reasons, and Gene helped him set that up.

One way or another, I really hope the writers aren’t setting us up for the same ending as the US Life on Mars. I can’t tell you how pissed off I’d be if that were the case. However (see my comments in “Other Stuff”), I don’t think that this is the case.

Also, I like how the series is really displaying the difference between the “rough and tumble” cops of the old days versus the modern “sensitive and caring” police force of today. Many in Britain really do think that the current police force is drowning under a sea of (Labour mandated?) paperwork, useless “sensitivity training” seminars, and a lack of support from the government. Just as many in America think that criminals in our country have “too many rights”, so too do many Britons think that their police forces’ hands are tied. Indeed, one of the great attractions people have to the Gene Hunt character is that he sees the world mostly in black and white, and that he’s not afraid of getting his hands dirty or offending anyone. While most Britons probably don’t want real-life Gene Hunts running their local police station, there’s a real… longing for police to be allowed to be police officers again, not “social workers in uniform”.

But one complaint about this episode: no one – not Gene or Alex or Shaz or Ray or Chris or even Litton – recognized Bevan as a Blues Brother? Seriously?

MUSIC HEARD IN THIS EPISODE:

Isaac Hayes – “Theme from Shaft”
The Jam – “A Town Called Malice”
The Cure – “The Love Cats”
ZZ Top – “Sharp Dressed Man”
Talking Heads – “Burning Down The House”
Level 42 – “The Sun Goes Down”
Spandau Ballet – “To Cut a Long Story Short”
Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon”
Herbie Hancock – “Rockit”
The Blues Brothers – “I Can’t Turn You Loose”
Freeez – “I.O.U.”
Genesis – “Mama”
Yazoo – “Only You”

Note: The song “I Can’t Turn You Loose” was originally recorded by Otis Redding as the B-side to his 1965 single “Just One More Day”. The Blues Brothers’ version of the song is instrumental and of a much faster tempo.

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