As a massive fan of crime fiction books and short stories it may be expected that I would watch loads of detective fiction on the electric fishtank. As it happens I very rarely watch crime dramas, murder mysteries or cop shows. Instead I prefer to read the stories and let my own imagination wander around playing detective.
Naturally though there are one or two exceptions to this rule. I watch Dexter (based on the Jeff Lindsay books) as I’m curiously attracted to his horse faced sister, Thorne (from the Mark Billingham books) because I’ve met the author and have loved the books from day one, and the wonderful series’ Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes featuring Phillip Glenisteras Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt.
Above all other fictional (or adapted for the screen) detectives Gene Hunt pushes all my entertainment buttons. The hard drinking, chauvinistic, and aggressive Hunt is a 1970’s copper whose new DI is Sam Tyler, a modern day DCI who wakes up in 1973 after being shot.
The interplay between the two men is fantastic as old meets new, renegade meets rule follower and political correctness is thrown out of the window to land on a discarded chopper.
Gene Hunt’s arrogance knows no bounds and as the series progresses he is seen taking bungs, drinking constantly and beating up suspects for information. At one point he offers a room full of witnesses money to grass up a murderer. Most episodes have Tylersolving the case rather than Hunt but Hunt is definitely the main attraction.
All round fantastic acting from Glenister, and Simm as Tyler coupled with some cracking writing make Gene Hunt my favourite TV detective by quite some way. After two series of Life on Mars saw Sam Tyler return to the present day, Gene Hunt was transferred to Londonfor three series of Ashes to Ashes which was set in the eighties, where he was assigned DI Alex Drake played by the gorgeous Keeley Hawes. While not as good as Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes gave us lots more of the self titled Gene Genie. (You gotta love all those Bowiereferences)
Now coupled with a woman Hunt’s sexist side was on full display as he christened the posh speaking Drake “Bolly Knickers”.
Any copper who kicks down a door and shouts “Don’t move. You’re surrounded by armed bastards” will always get my vote.
I’ve watched the show many times over and writing this article has me itching to start watching the entire series again.
Bio: Graham Smith is the author of Eleven The Hardest Way and Harry Charters Chronicles. He is married with a young son. A time served joiner, he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. For the last eleven years he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.