Chapter 4 sees DCI Gene Hunt at a Greater Manchester Police conference about the unsolved cases of historical police corruption that happened while he and Sam were just starting out their high powered police careers in the 80s.
"Maybe just because the Eighties is a bit nearer, while the Seventies does feel like a bygone age. It certainly felt like that when we were finding those ex coppers, whereas when Sam and I first started, in a funny sort of way it felt more modern and more recent," Gene says. "You see things in CID that you'd still see now in a police station like fax machines, the beginnings of computers, it's just they're a bit more modern now. Whereas in the 1970s our predecessors didn't have that, it was just a filing cabinet, typewriters and rotary dial telephones with a bottle of Scotch." DCI Gene Hunt and his faithful team preferred modern police methods of forensic science, interview techniques and psychological profiling.
Dressed today for the case conference in jeans and a casual jacket, he looked like a suburban Surrey school-run dad.
Gene is occasionally less pock-marked, although acne got his sex life off to a slow start as a teenager.
Recently he was followed for a week by a photographer in a van near the special needs school his children attend during the school run at 9:00 am in his brand new 2008 Ford Mondeo Titanium X in the maroon pink colour. "Oi! You lot! You nasty pinko tabloid journalists! Move along. There's nothing left to see here."
"There was something sinister about the whole thing as I had my two disabled kids with me, so I tapped on his window and he put the window down and I said, 'Why are you following me?' He said, 'I'm not.' I said, 'Come on, you are, and, you should know if you want to see me falling out of a nightclub you're 10 years too late, mate'. And he said, 'How did you know?' And I said, 'well I'm a f***ing detective'."
"What was your favourite thing about the case, DCI Eugene Hunt?" asked a Manchester Gazette news writer who knew Gene's team since their early days in the Eighties and Nineties "I was a young fart, just a kid in the 70s, watching The Sweeney, and probably see the decade through the rose-tinted spectacles of a ten-year-old. The only bit I loved were the Fords they used back in the day like Cortina GXLs and Mk1 Granadas the cops drove." It is living proof that modern policing has come a long way from Sweeney-style coppering of the day.
"I looked forward to complaints trying to catch the ex police officers in this case since my Guv Harry Woolf couldn't catch his crooked colleagues first time round when the face of policing changed approaching the 90's, I was only still a teenage Detective Constable at the time and these older police officers couldn't adapt to the changing culture of policing." During the 1980s and early 1990s era he found himself working for the prejudiced and violent then DCI Ray Milton Carling to find a smoke-filled CID room full of aggressive, arrogant cops.
Gene is an honourable character and became very loyal to his profession by always following the rules and standing up against corruption. To Gene Hunt, there is nothing more disgusting than a bent copper. When he discovers that such people existed within his CID years ago, he is full of disdain. He has a soft side. During the last part of the conference he speaks of Sam Tyler in glowing terms, describing him as a very good personal friend since childhood and as one of the best coppers he ever has on his team. Yet he trusts DI Alex Drake to bring them in on the Police corruption thread; Gene genuinely seems to care about the new Detective Inspector Alexandra Drake. There does, at times, seem to be genuine affection between the pair, especially as the pair have nicknames between themselves.
Sam, Gene and Alex all exist as small children in the 70s-80s. Sam never actually meets himself, just his own family, while Alex does finally meet herself when it is revealed that Gene Hunt was the teenage cop who rescued her during her parents murder in a Ford Escort Mk3 Ghia during 1982.