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WMG / Ashes to Ashes (2008)

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There are now three timelines
There is the real timeline, currently at 2008; Sam Tyler's personal timeline, where it's still and always will be the 1970s and he's living happily ever after with Annie, Gene, and the team in Manchester; and finally, Alex's timeline, where it's 1981 and Sam got shot years ago.

Status: Jossed. Alex's 1980s and Sam's 1970s are part of the same timeline, and Sam really did die — or rather, he went to copper Heaven (which takes the form of a pub) — before Alex arrived.

Alex Drake was The Girl In The Red Dress in Life on Mars, not Annie
She said that she was wearing red herself, which may have been a clue; her daughter looks and sounds almost exactly like the Test Card Girl from Life on Mars; and we saw a flash of a girl in a red dress holding hands with a boy wearing what looked like Young Sam Tyler's buckled shoes from S1 of Life on Mars.

Gene Hunt is Jesus
It is revealed that Gene has the nickname "The Manc Lion". A scant few scenes later, Alex discusses with her father how he would read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to her at bedtime. This is clearly to set up that Gene is Aslan. And if he's Aslan then, by definition, he's Jesus.

Status: Jossed. Gene Hunt is another human being in a similar condition to Sam and Alex — the difference being that he's taken it upon himself to be a Psychopomp for his colleagues.However, Caroline Price does make the link, referring to Gene as the Manc Lion before talking about "having this lion shaved", something which happens to Aslan in TLTWATW.


Alex Wasn't Shot
Her daughter, Molly, was. In the 2008 sequence of the pilot, Arthur Layton drags Molly offscreen, and a gunshot is heard; Alex runs after them and finds Molly, alone, unhurt, with Layton nowhere in sight and no way to explain how he got undetected from there to the parking lot where Alex's car was. This makes no sense whatsoever in terms of continuity; the logical answer is that Molly was shot, Alex suffered a mental break, and both Molly's reappearance AND the shooting that apparently sent Alex back to 1981 were hallucinations.

People are deliberately using comas to time travel
The man in the coma in 2008 and who's harassing Alex in S2 has gone back to interfere with Princess Diana's history (what specifically he intends to do remains to be seen, though it's likely to be an attempt to prevent her death in 1997 in some way). He thinks Alex is another person deliberately time travelling via coma, hence his interrogation of her after confirming that she's from his time.
  • Sam Tyler has started a bad trend here...

Status: Jossed. He didn't travel deliberately, only decided to turn the situation to his advantage when he found himself in the 1980s. Also, it's not exactly time travel.

Ashes to Ashes (2008) (and Life On Mars) both take place in the Neon Genesis Evangelion universe
It's all part of Instrumentality. Alex and Sam are aspect's of Asuka and Shinji's subconscious. Gene is probably Pen-Pen, or Gendo.

Well, we needed a Eva crossover for this series and we hadn't had one yet.

Chris will die in the series two finale
  1. Heroic Sacrifice
  2. Redemption Equals Death
  3. True Art Is Angsty

Status: Jossed.

Gene Hunt is the Spirit of Britain or King Arthur
Sam is Lancelot or Galahad. Alex is Guinevere. Ray is Percival. And Chris is Gawain.
  • I like this, but surely Percival's innocence makes him a better match for Chris? Ray could be Gawain (who is a ladies' man), but could also be one of the more obnoxious knights, like Sir Kay.

Status: Jossed. They're all just people.

The past Alex and Sam visited is an Alternate Universe where time runs differently
Series two of Ashes to Ashes shows that this world definitely exists on some level outside just the mind of one person, what with Summers sharing the same predicament. But you can radically change the 'past' with no clear ill effects. The only logical conclusion is a self-contained alternate timeline. Time, however, is variable between the two universes, explaining why one is 'behind' the other and how Alex could spend a whole season in 1981 while bleeding out in a ditch somewhere.
  • This WMG explains a lot about the finale to the American Life On Mars. The difference between a self-contained alternate timeline and a sufficiently immersive VR cannot easily be determined from inside the alternate reality.

Status: Confirmed, more or less. It's a real place, not a delusion, with multiple real people in it; it's not the actual past of the present Alex, Sam and Summers come from; time runs differently there. But it's not strictly an Alternate Universe.

Gene Hunt is himself a time traveller.
  1. Established at the end of Season 1 that Gene was the person who rescued young Alex. Ergo, Gene exists in the "real" world.
  2. Established early in Season 2 that Alex is gradually forgetting her "real" life.
  3. In late Season 3, the fantasist believing himself to be Sam Tyler suggests the longer one spends in the past, the more they forget of their old life (supporting the above point).
  • What if Gene is a time traveler who has been in this alternate reality for so long that he's forgotten the "real" world? What if he is the original time traveler, and Sam, Alex, and PC Summers are visiting his reality?
    • Note that this theory explains why some scenes in A2A are from Gene's point-of-view, whereas all scenes in LoM were from Sam's POV.
Status: SEMI-CONFIRMED. He has forgotten and he is from the 'real world', but it wasn't time travel, it was an afterlife.

Sam Tyler will appear in the final series of Ashes to Ashes
Ok, I am slightly cheating by already having seen the first episode of series 3. But- Alex is now investigating Sammie's death, we've seen a spooky, shadowy bloke with a suspiciously Sam Tyler-y jacket; not to mention the newest addition to the Ashes To Ashes cast has had a talk with Gene over Sammie's demise. If Tyler doesn't have some kind of crucial role in this season, the BBC are royally screwing with us and what's left of our minds.
  • Jossed, excluding a dream Alex had where he appeared via stock footage and a lunatic claiming to be him.
    • Damn, I feel cheated. The implication he's in Nelson's pub just isn't enough. T_T
      • Word of God says there was an ending written where Sam, not Nelson, comes out of the Railway Arms at the end of 3.08, but was discarded because it would have made Sam seem "superhuman", considering he'd already crossed over.

Gene and the gang are part of a police training video that the protagonists of both series have seen early in their careers.
This would explain why both see the same Gene Genie, and Alex recognises him. It's likely (especially since the season one finale) that Gene was in fact a real person. He also seems like too much of an example of how not to police to not be this.

Status: Jossed.

The man Alex saw on the tv and who was staring at her when she was looking at Sam Tyler's file in episode 1 is Sam Tyler.
It is hinted during episode 1 that there's something odd about Gene. It's that he's killed Sam Tyler. That's why he has his file, to prevent any investigation from pointing the finger at him. Sam in fact did not drown, but ended up disfigured.
  • Someone on the Railway Arms noticed that Ghost Cop's uniform appears to be that of a low-ranking police officer of the early 1960s. That leads to the interesting (if bonkers) theory that Ghost Cop is Gene himself, since he would have entered the service around then.
Dead copper's ID confirmed as: GENE HUNT, WMG gets it right once in a while

Sam and Alex were sent to the flash-sideways universe from Lost.
  • A violent "incident" results in someone winding up in an earlier time period, living a different life, constantly meeting people they really know and people who might be encroaching from the "original" timeline/universe/whatever. Think about it.
    • Status: The ending of both shows reveal that the Flash-sideways universe and the place Sam and Alex go are a version of Purgetory where you go after you die to deal with your issues before you can go to heaven. I'm counting this as canon.
      • And I'm counting this as the most awesome I Knew It! of my troping career.

Shaz is pregnant
  • She is going through something...
    • Status: Jossed. What she's dealing with is remembering being stabbed in the stomach and dying in the "real world".

Jim Keats is from the future
  • Just a guess
    • Maybe as in Episode 2 of Series 3 Drake is listing known serial killers and mentions Jeffrey Dahmer, who isn't caught for a good 10 years after the setting just now.
    • In interviews they've admitted he will have a big part in the reveal of what is really going on.
      • Status: Jossed, he is Satan.
      • He still knew who Dahmer was. Maybe he can time-travel, too.
      • He's Satan, of course he knows who Dahmer is.

Jim Keats and Gene Hunt are the original time travelers
  • combining two above theories, it could be that Keats is supposed to keep an eye on "newbie" time travelers like Sam and Alex but believes that Gene is his Evil Counterpart working against him in some kind of Gambit Roulette. Since he believes Gene is personally responsible for Sam's death and has shot Alex intentionally, he feels he has to get involved and why he's started trying to turn the others against Gene to "Stop" him once and for all. Keats could of been the actual voice on the phone to Sam in Life On Mars to test him to see where he wanted to stay. Since Sam chose to stay with Gene, Keats thought Sam would be a good influence and redeem Gene to do police work the right way. He had to let Alex deal with the stuff involving her parents and then was probably planning on making contact afterwards but wanted to avoid Summers who he may have felt also gone over to Gene's side. All that's left is to see what move Keats is able to make against Gene with Summers out the way and turning everyone else against Gene.

Status: Jossed. Keats is Gene's evil counterpart.

Jim Keats Is The Devil
  • The only reasons I have is that they mention his office is too warm, he had a religious upbringing, he mentioned as liking 'The Old Ways' and that shot in the last episode of him surrounded by smoke. Also he's trying to bring Gene down who, as stated in an above WMG, is Jesus.
Status:CONFIRMED. WMG gets it right again, though Gene isn't Jesus.

Gene is Sam Beckett; Jim Keats is the Evil Leaper.
  • And the whole of LoM/A2A is Quantum Leap fanfic.
    • Well one theory is that the ending suggests that maybe Gene will eventually move on but he's got a lot more work to do. Similar to Sam Beckett maybe deep down this is what he wants, or what he feels like he "deserves" for now, to still be stuck in purgatory and that the shift to the 80s setting was really for Gene to give him that push into moving on.

The show is set on a simulated Earth space station in the manner of Dark City
The space station is run by aliens who are playing with humans. The "Earth" is split into different time periods, such as the 70s, 80s and 00s. Every so often they decide to move people from one place to another, such as Sam and Alex.

The reason Shaz and Ray have seen stars in the middle of the city is because the sky is a simulation. It occasionally breaks down, causing them to see what's really out there - space.

Gene Hunt is one of the aliens in charge, or rather was. He's decided to play along with the humans. And Jim is here to stop him.

And Sam discovered what was really going on, and Gene killed him because of it.

  • Status:Jossed

Gene didn't kill Sam 3 years ago, he helped him disappear
Other time travelers (such as Martin Summers) were trying to find Sam and stop him...he needed to disappear and Gene helped him fake his death. This will lead to Sam returning for the final episode.
  • Or Gene helped Sam hide from Jim Keats, and at the end of S3 he will help Alex get away from him too by faking her death.
    • Bevan (from ep 3.5) helped fake Sam's death, which is his hold over Gene.
  • Confirmed (apparently) by Gene in 3.7. Cue rampant speculation he will show up in the last episode.
  • As of the finale? Yes, in a sense. It's Gene's job to help dead coppers solve their problems in Purgatory and then help them "cross over". He helped Sam cross over, and Sam's body did disappear, but Sam was already dead. Gene faked the car accident because there was no body.

"Thordy" is the real Sam.
He really is Sam, but there was a cover up and the records were switched so that files and photos that show the guy played by John Simm, is shown to be DI Tyler, but is actually the real Thordy. He looks like that in Life On Mars because of the Literary Agent Hypothesis.
  • Status: Jossed, Thordy's just a whackjob.

Keats and Hunt are both psychopomps.
The universe of the show is a kind of anteroom to the afterlife for troubled coppers. It's Gene Hunt's job to help them let go of their issues and move on to the next stage, but he's not doing it properly — despite helping Sam and Alex deal with their childhood trauma, he wants to keep them on his team. He loves them too much to let go. Keats has been sent to sort him out.
  • As a corollary to that, Gene did kill Sam — having finally accepted that it was time to let the man move on. Of course, Sam was already dead in the real world — but Alex doesn't understand that yet.

Status: Confirmed. Except for the bit about Keats being sent to sort Gene out — Keats is deliberately making matters worse.

The world Alex and the rest of CID inhabit is collapsing somehow, and will soon disappear.
Throughout Season 3 the number of people seeing stars and having strange experiences has increased massively compared to previous seasons. Even Gene, who has not been shown to have any, seems to recognise that the end is fast approaching from his comments in 3.7. This could well be a sign that the world, whatever it is, is about to collapse and fall apart.
  • Mostly Jossed. It's not the world collapsing, it's them subconsciously trying to remember how they ended up in Hunt's division. However, there is a section in the finale where Gene and his world/division/whatever comes dangerously close to being obliterated (by Keats) and being basically replaced with Keats's own world.
    • not entirely- it's heavily suggested that the setting is basically a construct of Gene Hunt's (and the others', perhaps) wishful thinking, and the stars a symptom of this breaking down, showing they're really somewhere in eternity.

Ashes to Ashes is a sequel to Dixon of Dock Green
Okay, this is based solely on the Grand Finale: At the end of the Finale a clip of Dixon doing his end of episode speeches is shown, however the character of P.C. Dixon appeared in the film The Blue Lamp where he was shot and killed. They spun the series off from that. They spun the series off from a dead character, which means that when we watch that we are seeing the first appearance of the dead coppers world. Chilling.

Alex has been dead since 1981
This is based mainly on the finale. The opening sequence in Season 1 never quite made sense. Arthur Layton took Alex's daughter hostage, a gunshot was heard and then Molly emerged but the man didn't - making it look like he either killed himself or ran away. But the police didn't seem to be looking for him. A few minutes later, he appeared in the back of Alex's car, took her down on the wharf and shot her. Clearly, he wasn't quite real. In the Season 1 finale, Alex's parents died again and Alex saw her younger self take Gene Hunt's hand. Given what we know from the series finale, it could be that Alex actually died as a child with her parents. Evan White (also dead, presumably killed by Alex's father) then took her away from Gene with the promise that she would never know what her father did (or that she was in fact, dead). Alex then grew up in the afterlife, married and had Molly. Her entire life was not real. Molly was not real. She met Sam Tyler when he thought he had woken up from a coma but that entire sequence took place in the afterlife - Sam was also dead all along. Arthur Layton appeared at the beginning of the series to force her back to Gene Hunt's time so that she could realise she was dead and go to Nelson's.
  • Alex's memories of her parents death also lend weight to this idea - in one of the grainy film sequences Alex's father Tim winks at her in the rear-view mirror. In the series one finale, moments before the car explodes Alex's father changes into the Clown and winks at her. Did Tim wink at his daughter just before they died in the carbomb?
  • Word of God says that the exact moment Alex died was when everything went black in series 3 episode 1 - just between her first seeing the injured policeman and waking up back in 1983.
    • And confirmed by the time on Keats's watch - 9:06, which was when Alex died.

Keats is the one who killed young Gene
It's why they have such animosity.
  • Status: Jossed. Gene was killed by burglars with shotguns, not Keats.
    • I actually meant that in the real/living world he was one of the burglars

The dimension in which dead coppers are sent is a form of the Reaper's Game
  • Jim Keats may be some sort of Composer, what with his reality-bending abilities.

This series is actually set in the same reality as Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
See here for more.

Ashes to Ashes (2008) isn't real, just the product of Sam Tyler's imagination
He really is Sam Williams from 1973 and imagined his entire future existence. For this to be true, he must have imagined Alex Drake as well. Maybe he imagined her when he "woke up" in 2006, and started becoming somehow intrigued/obsessed by her, and imagined what if she were in a similar situation to the one he imagined himself in. The ending to the series is perhaps an attempt to rationalise things, badly, in his mind as to what has happened- he still can't quite believe it so imagines they're all trapped in purgatory. (It sounds a little too daft to believe, anyway.)

OK, so it's a long shot, mostly to allay my disappointments with the endings of both series. But still...

  • Another addition to this theory might be Alex is a real person- Sam has been trying to get some sort of treatment off-screen which he neglects to mention (lest his colleagues lay into him) and Alex is his real-life psychologist (don't know how many women were in such a profession in '73, but I suppose some may have been) who ends up becoming a subject of his dreams- dreams being like that, not entirely making sense.
    • Or of course maybe he has a subconscious desire for her- which might explain why she "arrived" in '82 undercover as a prostitute?

Other British cop shows like Heartbeat, Dixon of Dock Green and Endeavour all exist in the same universe as Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars
Think about it...
  • Heartbeat centres around a somewhat unrealistically-run police station, set during a very over-exaggerated version of The '60s. There's also a strange passing of time — no-one seems to realise that it's been the same year for about five years — and aside from the police station, the pub seems to be the only place that really matters. The show's even named after a song that was popular at (roughly) the time at which the show is (initially) set. It's the only thing that seems to make sense!
  • Dixon of Dock Green, meanwhile, is even more obviously a part of this universe, since — as at least one troper above has already stated — it all takes place after the main character has been killed off.
  • Endeavour contains various inconsistencies with Inspector Morse, the series to which it is a prequel. These can be explained by the WMG that, after his death in the final episode of the original series, Morse has gone to "Dead British Copper Purgatory" which in his case has a Sixties setting. By this logic, Fred Thursday is — like Gene Hunt — a Psychopomp who has taken it upon himself to guide dead coppers to Heaven which, appropriately for Morse, is a pub. This puts a new spin on DSU "SuperMac" Mackintosh from Series 2 of Ashes to Ashes, as he bears a very close resemblance to Fred...

Ashes to Ashes exists in the same universe as Line of Duty
Lindsay Denton is in purgatory with Gene Hunt.

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