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DI Sam Tyler
Played by: John Simm
Originally a DCI in 2006, Sam was hit by a car and woke in 1973 Manchester with a new makeover, a new motor, and a new rank: DI. Although under a lot of stress from the bizarre situation, he remains the same straight-laced, by-the-book officer he was in 2006.
- Always Gets His Man
- Apathy Killed the Cat: Averted. Sam is constantly wondering why he's here, wherever 'here' is.
- Big Brother Mentor: To Chris.
- Blue Oni: To Gene's Red
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Gene tolerates Sam's bizarre behaviour and ahead-of-its-time political correctness because he recognises Sam's skill in catching criminals. The others only put up with it because Sam outranks them.
- By-The-Book Cop: Subverted at times.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Disappeared Dad
- Fish Out of Temporal Water
- Giving Radio to the Romans: Sam tries to introduce 'modern' police methodology and encourage his colleagues to see past their bigoted attitudes, though with limited success. One problem is that while in theory Sam is better trained, the techniques he's learned are often useless in 1973. Why wait for a search warrant if you can just kick down the door? Why talk in the formal style for interviewing witnesses (useful when every word is recorded, and saying the wrong thing can get a case thrown out of court) when it only confuses people?
- I Choose to Stay: The series conclusion.
- I Know Mortal Kombat: You should see his Playstation scores.
- Iconic Item: His leather jacket.
- Insufferable Genius - at times
- Interrupted Suicide: In the Pilot episode.
- Naive Newcomer
- Through the Eyes of Madness
- Sanity Slippage
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sam and Gene
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Sam's over-reliance on future history results in Ray almost getting blown up.
For tropes from Ashes to Ashes, see the respective character page
DCI Gene Hunt
Played by: Philip Glenister
Also known as 'the Gene Genie', the boozing, womanizing, rough-housing, politically incorrect DCI. His role models are John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, probably why he describes himself as 'the Sheriff'. Gene is of the belief that you do whatever you must to put the baddies away, and is rather ruthless in his pursuit of that rule. However, he does have a softer side, one that very few have seen (mostly because he'd rather take cyanide then show it).
- Catch Phrase: You're surrounded by Armed Bastards!
- Trust the Gene Genie.
- Commander Contrarian
- Cool Car: His beloved Mark III Cortina.
- Cowboy Cop: Pretty much everyone who isn't Sam, but especially Gene Hunt. Sam occasionally flips over into this territory as well, despite his professed morals; then again, he's never sure if 1973 is real or not, so what does it matter if he occasionally skirts proper procedure?
- Da Chief: (Subverted?) Gene is in charge, but he's the one causing the trouble.
(while the car is going way way too fast) Sam: You're not above the law you know Gene, I should do you for speeding!
Gene: What're you talking about Tyler? I am the law!
- Drinking on Duty: Gene considers drinking his duty.
- Drives Like Crazy: Gene seems incapable of not ramming every dustbin he sees.
- Establishing Character Moment: We are introduced to Gene Hunt in this fashion, after a disoriented Sam has blundered into the police station demanding to know what year it is -
Gene: They reckon you've got concussion. Well I couldn't give a tart's furry cup if half your brains are falling out, don't - EVER - waltz into my kingdom acting king of the jungle.
Sam: Who the hell are you?
Gene: Gene Hunt, your DCI, and it's 1973, almost dinnertime - I'm 'aving 'oops.
- Fan of the Past - specifically, the Old West
- Gene Hunt Interrogation Technique - Trope Namer.
- Hair-Trigger Temper
- I Take Offense to That Last One: "I do NOT snore!"
- I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough!
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner - It's cute that you think you're "innocent"; he'll decide if you should be locked up, thanks very much.
- Knight Templar
- Licensed Sexist
- My Greatest Failure: Gene is still haunted by his brother's death from drug addiction.
- Noble Bigot with a Badge
- Politically Incorrect Hero: "Look at her. She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot."
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: "YOU'RE NICKED!!"
- Quick Nip: Gene is positively loaded with flasks. Hey, it comes in handy.
- Rabid Cop
- Red Oni: To Sam's Blue.
WPC (and later WDC) Annie Cartwright
Played by: Liz White
Sam's love interest and confidante. She's the only one that Sam has told his theories to, and wavers between loyalty to her superior, and her desire to heal/help him. As a modern woman in a department full of chauvinists, Annie can still hold her own.
- Action Girl: She doesn't start out as this, but she's getting there.
- Brainy Brunette: With an undergrad degree in psychology, too.
- Goofy Suit: Her Road Safety Squirrel costume, worn while teaching schoolchildren. Gene later employs it to infiltrate CID.
- I Minored in Tropology
- One of the Boys: What Annie aspires to when she's promoted to WDC (women's detective constable). At the very least, she holds her own at the pub and while undercover.
- Skinny Dipping: Admits to having done this on her graduation day.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Not the object of the trope, but usually the one asking Sam what crazy-assed idea he's got this week and why he's acting like a lunatic.
- You Get Me Coffee: Annie's role in the otherwise all-male CID.
DC Chris Skelton
Played by: Marshall Lancaster
A slightly nervous, slightly bumbling member of the team. Often the comic relief or the coward, he still has his moments, like his own Crowning Moment of Awesome near the end of the series. Has a case of hero worship for both Sam and Gene, but isn't sure which one to pick. He is often found in the company of Ray Carling, his best mate.
DS Ray Carling
Played by: Dean Andrews
A rough character who seems to live most of his life with little to no control over his impulses. If he wants to hit a suspect, he hits him, if he wants to snog a woman, he snogs her. Has nothing but contempt for minorities, women, and anyone who isn't a 'man's man'. He and Gene think a lot alike, but where Gene wants The Law to protect people from criminals, Ray believes that everyone should respect and obey The Law, period (It would be more accurate to say that Carling adores Gene and uses him as his role model, but unlike Gene he really has no real sense of where the limits are). He hates paperwork, and prefers to use his fists instead of his brains, and listen to orders rather then think for himself. But Ray is not without redeeming qualities, having a crooked streak of chivalry running through him. Best mates with Chris Skelton, although he is sometimes a bad influence.
Played by: Tony Marshall
The barman at the Railway Arms where most of CID goes to drink. He takes a keen interest in Sam's troubles, and there may be more to him than meets the eye.
- Angel Unaware: Revealed in Ashes to Ashes to be a St. peter archetype, who guides souls to "The Pub" (i.e. the afterlife).
- The Bartender
- Magical Negro
- Welcome to the Caribbean Mon: Subverted; his accent's as "fake as a tranny's fanny."
WPC Phyllis Dobbs
Played by: Noreen Kershaw
Phyllis mans the front desk at Manchester CID, and also oversees the welfare of the prisoners. Probably the only woman in the department whom Gene and his cronies can't intimidate. Bears a slight resemblance to Rosa Klebb, though this doesn't seem to hamper her dating life.