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Sam Tyler, London police detective, is in the process of catching a serial killer when being struck by a car. He wakes up to find himself 30 years in the past, in 1973 Manchester. Still a cop, strangely fitting into his new role, but disconnected from his environment and on the quest to find a way back. Is he mad, in a coma, are these the final moments of his life we are witnessing? He does not know, neither do we. But over the length of two seasons with 8 episodes each, he follows the traces to find a way back, while managing the day-to-day routine of having to catch the bad guys of his new home.

Sam Tyler (played by John Simm), Gene “the guv” Hunt, Ray, Chris, and Annie – it’s a bit like those “5 Friends” of the Enid Blyton novels. Not all of them are nice people, but once you get into it, you cannot but love the ferocious humanity that Guv Hunt oozes, the big bad bloke with heart, liver and the biggest balls in town. One of the best-designed characters, played by an incredibly credible Philip Glenister, without whom the whole setting would surely fall apart in a heartbeat. How wicked do you need to be in order to do what cops are for? He impersonates that question, and provides the antagonist to the ambitious, talented Sam whose naivite about right and wrong occassionally turns out to do harm both to his job and his quest for home. They all evolve, and they become the most lovable team of tv law enforcement that ever was. No kidding: the hands-on, no shit Guv, jumping right into the middle of a football hooligan brawl, or shoving the drug dealer over to “The Toolman” for further killing so that the burden of the law is spread more fairly between public and private sector, that guy is one of the best tv characters ever. And Sam, handsome Sam with his tight leather jacket that fits as if made form him, invented for him, alternates between dilusional visions of hospital rooms, listening to the voices and watching the faces shimmering through the veil of reality, trying to be good and learning how to be better. Being tempted and lured into staying, being forced back to his old life, discovering a love interest and being abandoned by his wife, suffering terribly under his torn existence and more than once being shaken about through fits of mediaction and medicine machinery that he does not understand or could affect. Maybe a life in helpless state of coma, or a time traveller torn between the worlds, he finally has some heart-breaking truths to discover, and when the show comes to an end, one wonders whether ever has there been a better finale to a story told on television. So perfect and logical, yet unpredictable that whoever wrote that bit of teleplay deserves his seat in Heaven on the right-handed side of the Lord. The Lord Gene Hunt, that is, at his favourite spot on the bar, with a pile of beer in front of him and a bottle of booze in the jacket pocket.

I watched episode 1 of the US remake and do not want to see more.

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