DI Alex Drake wakes up in 1981 after being shot by an ex-criminal mastermind, Arthur Layton. After realising that she is experiencing a similar situation to that of Sam Tyler's, she enlists the help of Gene Hunt to bring down Layton believing that it will enable her to return to 2008.
With a serial attacker at large, Gene and Alex investigate a rape allegation from a prostitute. Drake has a hard time convincing the team to take the allegation seriously and efforts are blighted by an unreliable witness and the status of the suspect.
"The Missing Link"
28 February 2008
When the body of a nuclear research centre worker goes missing, Drake believes it to be a cover-up.
Gene and Alex are on the trail of Simon Neary, a pimp and drug dealer. However, they discover that Neary is involved in a guns deal, leading Alex to believe that stopping the deal could stop her from being shot in 2008. To stop Neary, Alex must convince Neary's boyfriend, played by Russell Tovey, to snitch on him.
An armed robbery leads Gene to Chas Cale, a criminal he tried to bring down in Manchester. But when Chas reveals his alibi, Gene begins to wonder if he is past his prime as a DCI. Alex sends Ray and Chris undercover at the local pub in order to solve the case. But Gene is forced to come to the rescue when Alex's investigations end with her being tied up, gagged and left to die in an industrial freezer. Guest starring Phil Davis and Asa Butterfield
"Charity Begins At Home"
20 March 2008
A charity fund raiser is shot and robbed of all the money he raised, so Alex suggests a TV reconstruction to help find the shooter. However, Gene decides to start beating confessions out of people, which ends up putting one of CID in serious danger. Guest starring Matthew Macfadyen.
With the day of her parents' car bombing fast approaching, Alex makes their deaths into a case – a crime that has yet to happen. With Ray's help, Alex crushes a blue four-door Ford Escort that she thinks her parents died in, as a way to prevent her parents' murders, and then, after planting a small amount of cocaine, arrests her parents for drug possession. Lord Scarman is due to visit CID for an inspection, so Gene releases all the station's prisoners and locks Chris up, so that the station can get a good review. However, Gene releases Alex's parents who in turn arrange for the release of a prisoner who is the last person Alex would want set free. Guest starring Geoffrey Palmer
The second series was confirmed to be in production in early 2008. This series takes place in 1982, and is the fourth British series overall in the Life On Mars franchise.
20 April 2009
A police officer is found dead in a Soho strip club. Gene suspects that PC Sean Irvine had been corrupted, but Alex is unconvinced, and the team investigates the possibility that Irvine was murdered by another officer.
27 April 2009
Jed Wicklow, a gypsy suspected of car theft, is killed in a car accident that initially appears to be of Gene's doing. However, Dr Battleford, the doctor who attends to the gypsies, displays signs of suspicious behaviour, including giving Gene a Masonic handshake, causing Alex to suspect that there is more to this case than is immediately apparent. Alex follows Gene to a Masonic lodge (whose members include Supermac, Ray and Dr Battleford) and witnesses his initiation. Gene later reveals that he joined the lodge because he knows Supermac is corrupt and can only deal with it from the inside. Chris tries to find the right time for a very important proposal. A gypsy fortune-teller tells Gene that his power will be taken by Tyler, this is later revealed to refer to Ray who acts as Tyler to the Masonic lodge.
4 May 2009
When the owner of an animal experimentation lab has a dismembered animal left outside his door, he drops into CID. He says that because of the bill being put through the Animal Rights protesters are trying to scare him. Gene thinks they're only trying to intimidate him. Outside the Police station, a fire bomb injures the lab owner's daughter. Their investigation leads them to an imprisoned activist who is on a hunger strike and a psychoanalyst. With six more attacks planned in three days, and the press putting pressure on the Police to solve it, it's a race against time. Meanwhile, Supermac needs Gene to admit that Kevin Hales was suicidal so the Masons won't be discovered. After Gene makes his decision, Supermac threatens to transfer him to Plymouth but changes his mind after realising that Hunt is too dangerous to get rid of.
11 May 2009
Jackie Queen, the journalist seen in Series 1 Episode 6 of Life on Mars, appears at the police station pregnant and in search of her niece. Gene Hunt finds Supermac is involved in shielding from justice the man responsible for the disappearance of many young northern girls who came to London. Mac also trumps up corruption charges on Alex who along with Gene was getting close to the truth. In the end, justice prevails, but changes the fate of the CID.
18 May 2009
When a violent burglary occurs at Alex's in-laws' house, she comes face-to-face with their son Peter, the 14-year-old future father of Molly. Alex is desperate to help Molly's grandparents all she can, but Gene wants a big collar to bury the press stories of police corruption, and dismisses the case as trivial. When the fingerprints from the crime scene reveal the burglar was George Staines, a notorious gangster, now supposedly dead, Gene realises this could be the catch he was after. Alex remembers hearing stories about the burglary, and is convinced that she would remember if the culprit was as infamous as Staines. Gene is determined to uncover the truth and get the headline he deserves. Alex finally meets the mysterious man who has been leaving roses in her apartment and office.
25 May 2009
A dead body floating in a canal and identified as Colin Mitchell has the sign of a local loan shark (Trevor Riley) cut into its arm. In addition to Riley, suspects include his blowsy wife Donna and his neighbourhood watch enthusiast dad. Alex is told by telephone that her decision not to turn corrupt is jeopardising the outcome of her operation but believes that the bullet has been removed and she will soon return. Shaz and Chris' relationship is off again on again. Set against the rise of 1980s 'greed is good' consumerism.
1 June 2009
What looks like a simple drugs-drop at a building site turns into a murder case when CID find a body buried in concrete. Is the site's owner, Michael Lafferty, crooked? Meanwhile, Alex is convinced she's recovering in the hospital and will wake up soon. However, the case begins to clash with her desire to get home, and she becomes haunted by thoughts of her parents' death and whether she could have prevented it. The depth of the corruption within the force becomes evident as one of the CID confesses his corrupt actions.
8 June 2009
When an informant is tortured and killed, DCI Gene Hunt is convinced that a major scam is about to happen and wants CID to fire on all cylinders to prevent it. It's not long before Gene's gut feeling is proved right, as he, DI Alex Drake, DS Ray Carling and DC Chris Skelton receive information that a gold bullion heist is about to take place – police officers are planning to intercept the robbers and steal the gold for themselves. Gene knows this is his chance to try to put a stop to the corruption worming its way through the force. However, he needs to keep his eye on the ball if he wants to succeed. It all goes wrong though, when Gene accidentally shoots Alex and she wakes up in the present – but in 1982, she's in a coma...
Series 3 consists of eight 60-minute episodes. The first episode of the series aired on 2 April 2010. Episodes 7 and 8 were joined as the show's first "two-parter" (i.e. the two episodes form one direct narrative) and was advertised as such.
2 April 2010
After being shot by DCI Gene Hunt, DI Alex Drake wakes up 3 months later, back in 1983. The team is investigating the kidnap of a young girl, Dorothy Blonde, who was abducted as her stepmother walked her to school. With a £50,000 ransom demanded for Dotty's life the team has to work fast. However, Dotty's father, David, wants to go it alone. And when newly promoted Ray panics while running the sting, it seems the family may have been better off without CID's involvement. Gene is forced to put his career on the line as he's unable to stand by and watch a young girl lose her life. Meanwhile, Alex is being haunted by the ghost of a young policeman, while the malevolent DCI Jim Keats advises her to be wary of Gene.
9 April 2010
A severed hand arrives in CID's post and the team discover a connection between the hand and the death of six women who were brutally murdered and dumped in a shallow grave. When Gene and Alex discover that all the women were on the payroll at a dating agency run by Elaine Downing (played by Glenister's real-life wife Beth Goddard), Alex goes undercover to try to trap the killer. Shaz finds herself disillusioned with the police force and hands in her resignation but she is persuaded to carry out one final job before she leaves. Meanwhile DI Drake continues to delve into the murky mystery of what really happened to Sam Tyler, believing the truth may be her way home.
16 April 2010
Gene and the rest of CID are feeling the pressure to stop a series of politically motivated arson attacks in the lead up to the 1983 General Election, after a military compound and a polling station are set alight. DCI Jim Keats announces his plans to monitor the way Hunt and his team work while trying to turn each member of the team against Gene. Ray finds himself having to confront some demons in his past as CID try to stop the arson attacks. Elsewhere, Alex continues to mount her investigation into what really happened to Sam Tyler in 1980 and is struggling to work out why she is being haunted by the young police officer.
23 April 2010
Gene discovers that an undercover operation to catch several drug dealers is taking place on his patch without his knowledge. Determined to take control Hunt blows the cover of an undercover operative who turns up at CID and is eventually placed under his protection, yet it seems someone on the inside is twisting things to help the drug dealers stay out on the streets. Meanwhile, the deceased police officer continues to haunt Alex.
Tom Butterworth and Chris Hurford
30 April 2010
Gene Hunt is forced to face some demons from his past when two of his former colleagues from Manchester, DCI Litton and DI Bevan turn up on his patch looking for stand-up comic Frank Hardwick who has stolen some money from the Police Widows and Orphans Fund. Hunt smells a rat and leads an investigation only to discover that Hardwick is a frightened man who is in possession of some seriously dangerous information. Meanwhile Alex uses the arrival of Gene's former colleagues to delve deeper into the mystery surrounding the death and disappearance of Sam Tyler.
7 May 2010
After the team's attempt to stop a prison riot goes badly wrong and Sergeant Viv James is taken captive, Gene and Alex must negotiate with the leader of the revolt and save their colleague. A conman and former cellmate of the riot leader claims to be Sam Tyler, shocking Alex to the core while Chris and Ray are in mortal danger when their undercover rescue attempt is rumbled by the prisoners. Alex is then left to put her differences with Gene aside to reunite their team, but disaster awaits them.
14 May 2010
DCI Jim Keats is coming to the end of his report on DCI Gene Hunt and his team in CID, yet he continues to push Alex to do whatever she can to find out what really happened to Sam Tyler. Meanwhile, CID deal with a disturbance at an ANC illegal drinking den which leads to a murder investigation and forces Gene and Alex undercover into a world of illegal immigration and terrorism while Gene's team falls apart around him. While all this is going on, Chris makes the bravest decision of his life....
A brutal gang murder leads the team to investigate a Europe-wide jewel smuggling ring. Keats completes his report on the department and tries to turn the team against Hunt and transfer them to his control, revealing his true colours. Alex goes to investigate a house in Lancashire which she believes holds the secret of Sam Tyler's disappearance. She uncovers a body in a field, and its warrant card reveals that it is a young Gene Hunt (and its ghost is the young PC haunting her). Meanwhile, Chris, Ray and Shaz are given videos by Keats, which show them that they too are police officers who died in tragic circumstances.
Following the successful foiling of the jewel smuggling attempt, Chris, Ray and Shaz move on to "eternal happiness", symbolised by Nelson the landlord and his pub "The Railway Arms", which both appear on a London streetcorner (despite being located in Manchester in Life on Mars). Alex then comes to realize that she too is now dead; After Gene reconciles her to the fact she will never see her daughter again, Alex enters the pub. Gene Hunt remains in Limbo (the missing word ending in "o", like "macho" which Keats was unable to utter), as Keats – ostensibly now the Devil – taunts him. Keats retreats to the shadows, having failed, but saying they will meet again. The episode ends as Hunt returns to his office to hear a new detective push through the doors asking "Who are you and where is my iPhone?" – showing that Gene continues to help dead or dying officers from the 21st century.
A post-credits sequence shows a clip from the 1950s police show Dixon of Dock Green, bidding the audience goodnight. The title character George Dixon was shot dead in an earlier film The Blue Lamp, despite the same character subsequently going on to star in the Dock Green TV series.