Jim Keats

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Detective Chief Inspector James "Jim" Keats is a fictional character in BBC One's science fiction/police procedural drama, Ashes to Ashes. The character is portrayed by actor Daniel Mays.



DCI James "Jim" Keats claimed to have been sent from the Discipline and Complaints department of Scotland Yard to assess the Fenchurch East division of the London Metropolitan Police (led by DCI Gene Hunt) as part of Operation Countryman. In reality, Keats was a malevolent spirit, if not a demon or even Satan[1] himself; he threatened to bring down Gene Hunt and his world and bring Hunt's colleagues down to his department.

Ashes to Ashes[edit]


DI Drake formally met DCI Keats circa February or March 1983[2] shortly after waking up from her coma. He revealed to her and her colleagues that he would be assessing Fenchurch East police station as part of Operation Countryman because they were specifically chosen following the shooting incident after foiling Operation Rose.

When he began to assess Fenchurch East, Keats took control to a certain extent. He directed Hunt to stay at home albeit in paid status. When Hunt immediately ignored that request, Keats insisted that he was banned from exercising command and using firearms; Hunt left DI Ray Carling nominally in acting command during the first attempt to capture young Dorothy Blonde's kidnappers but remained the team's de facto leader throughout, and continued to carry a sidearm and to use it during arrest the kidnappers.

While Gene Hunt was inside his office during the celebration of Dotty Blonde's rescue, Keats entered the office and bluntly told Gene "I hate you" and went on to reveal his plans and his knowledge of DI Tyler's death.

While CID was investigating the discovery of a severed hand in the post, Keats interviewed members of CID individually to support his assessment including DS Ray Carling and DC Chris Skelton. As part of Keats' plan to bring down Hunt's "kingdom", he encouraged WPC Sharon Granger who felt unwelcome to the team to quit the Metropolitan Police which she later agreed to. However, after going undercover she felt a special part of the team and decided not to quit. While celebrating Shaz's contribution at Luigi's, Keats briefly discussed Sam Tyler's death with DI Alex Drake, hinting that Gene Hunt killed him.

On the day he was expected to depart, DCI Keats announced that he would be continuing to work with Fenchurch East to assess the three previous years of cases and the long-term efficiency of the department to which DCI Hunt referred to as snooping. When at the arson attack of a polling station, in another attempt to bring down Gene Hunt's "kingdom", he encouraged DS Ray Carling that he didn't have to prove himself "after some mistakes he made in the past". Carling responded to this by attempting to save a person inside the trapped building but became overcome by the smoke. He was eventually saved by fireman Andy Smith. While investigating the arsons, Keats attempted to persuade Carling to be independent or join him but refused. When he discovered Falklands war veteran Andy Smith had been arrested on election day, he protested to Hunt. After arresting Smith, Keats once again discussed with Hunt what may happen to him.

After foiling a suspected drugs robbery near Fenchurch East, DCI Keats briefed CID about DC Louise Gardiner and her undercover work. Keats approached and protested Hunt and DI Alex Drake following the interaction with undercover Louise Gardiner. While protecting Gardiner in Fenchurch East the DCI comforted her and encouraged her to "keep going". Keats later spoke to Alex Drake at the police station in the early hours of the working day. Keats joked that he had an empty social life and workaholic tendencies. During the same conversation, Drake revealed to him that she was being haunted by a police officer with a severely damaged face (though she did not mention this specific detail). After Chris Skelton beat up Daniel Stafford in anger for raping Gardiner, DCI Keats blamed DCI Hunt for Chris's attack. Angry with Keats for recommending him to transfer to his team, Hunt departed after purposefully spilling the DCI's coffee. On the following day, Keats revealed that the beaten Daniel Stafford had escaped an ambulance while being transported to the hospital for treatment. He again blamed Hunt for his actions because the young Stafford could seek revenge on Louise Gardiner (which he eventually did by kidnapping her). When attempting to rescue the kidnapped Gardiner, Keats accompanied the team, although Hunt was very reluctant. After Stafford collided with DC Gardiner when attempting to escape in a drugs van, Keats comforted the dying DC who dies in his arms. It is implied at this point that Keats has some sort of ability to drain the lifeforce of others. When asked to file a report about DC Skelton's assault on Daniel Stafford, he defended Chris by concluding it was accidental/self defence. Later in Luigi's pub, Gene sarcastically thanked Keats, saying "You know sometimes, I don't know how I can look at you, so bright is the light that shines out of your arse."

Before investigating the theft of 2000 pounds from the Manchester Police Widows Fund, DCI Keats briefed the team with Hunt's former Manchester colleague DCI Litton of the situation and announced that Litton would be sharing office with the CID. Minutes after, Keats asked DC Skelton to percolate some filed procedures which he accepted to do but was stopped by DCI Hunt when he asked Sketlon to dispose of copies of illegal pornographic videotapes. Keats later asked Skelton whether he did percolate the procedures which Chris denied. It is later revealed that Keats reintroduced the tape recorder to the police interviews in Fenchurch East which Hunt deliberately spilled tea on. While working on comedian Frank Hardwick's psychological profile, the DCI offered some advice to DI Drake regarding her associating with DCI Hunt. After stopping DI Bevan from killing Hardwick, Keats announced to DCI Litton that he had been suspended and was to face a tribunal charge for not controlling his colleague Bevan.

In the aftermath of the Prison Riots, Keats shows part of his evil side when Viv James is shot and Keats is the only one around. Instead of trying to save Viv, he employs his life-draining ability again, merely holding him and staring blankly into the constable's eyes until he dies from his injuries. This may have been part of his plan to bring Gene's world down, as the loss of a colleague profoundly affects the entire team.

In the final episode, after the truth is revealed about Gene's world, Jim forced Alex and Gene back to Fenchurch East and revealed Gene's true human form to Shaz, Ray and Chris, beating Gene to the ground and taking manic delight in destroying the office, ultimately causing the roof of the station to disappear, revealing the star lit void that surrounded and contained Gene's world. Shaken and traumatised by the truth of their half-existence and Gene's deception, Shaz, Ray and Chris agreed to accompany Jim to his department. Alex chose to stay with Gene and told Jim to "go to Hell," which he seemed to take as a literal suggestion. However when Jim, Shaz, Ray and Chris arrived outside the lift which threatened to take them down to Jim's department, they realised the truth of his dark nature. Alex contacted them over a radio picked up by Chris and invited them back to help her and Gene take down some gem smugglers. Though hesitantly at first, the threesome turned their back on Jim and returned to help Alex and Gene, ultimately finding redemption. They passed through the doorway of a celestial pub and presumably ascended into Heaven. Jim appeared to taunt Gene and Alex one last time outside the pub. He attempted to delude Alex, now dead, into thinking that he could take her back to the world of the living and to her daughter, Molly. Realising that she was already dead, Alex rejected him one last time and Gene punched Jim in the face. He fell to the ground emitting demonic screeching noises and writhing in an animalistic manner. Alex passed on and Jim rose to his feet, mocking Gene for his loneliness and continuing to taunt him with his unnatural screeching. Gene forcefully pushed Jim away from him and the demon slinks into the night, laughing insanely and singing "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when but I know we'll meet again."


Charming and charismatic (and also most likely psychopathic) Keats often showed a loyalty and confidence in the presence of his temporary colleagues at the Fenchurch East police station but when alone with DCI Gene Hunt he was often menacing and revealing, intimidating the usually fearless Gene. Vain, manipulative and ruthless, he could be slyly influential towards his colleagues (especially DI Carling and WPC Granger in separate attempts to bring down Hunt). Jim had a twisted sense of humour and could be extremely sadistic. He usually maintained a calm and controlling demeanour but was prone to violent mood swings with a fiery temper that often bordered on psychosis. His true demonic nature was alluded to by his dim, humid office.


As of this edit, this article uses content from "Jim Keats", which is licensed in a way that permits reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, but not under the GFDL. All relevant terms must be followed.

  1. ^ Ian Wylie's 23 May 2010 interview of co-creator and show-runner Matthew Graham at [1]
  2. ^ Date is not specified aside from repeated mentions of approximately three months having elapsed since events of episode 2.8 in late November 1982.

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