Gene Hunt has been shot five times
The first time, he's chasing down a guy who ended up with a sentence for breaking and entering and double murder. Gene thought he had the guy cornered in an alleyway when he turns around and shoots him through the thigh, jumping lithely over a fence to escape the back up only a few paces behind the then 24-year-old Gene.
They don't pursue the criminal that day, but find him two days later hiding out in his apartment. Two weeks after that, Gene gets his first good look at the man as he's trucked off to spend the rest of his life in prison.
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The second time, two years later, they're storming the apartment of a well known mob leader that they've finally got evidence against.
The arrest is easy. The mob boss had no escape, and he knew when he'd been beat. On the way out, Gene brings up the rear, and the officer in front of him is spooked by a second person in the apartment, a prostitute their perp had told to hide when the police came in. The officer had his finger on the trigger, and as he tenses in surprise, the obvious happens, and Gene is shot in the foot.
Needless to say, Gene is furious at the other cop, who loses his job over the affair.
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The third time, it's completely by chance.
Gene is walking to his car one night when a sniper from a third floor window nails him in the chest. It's seven years after the second time, and he's forgotten exactly how surprising it is at first. And then how much it hurts. That one nearly gets him to kick the bucket, the bullet having punctured a lung and the time between his getting shot and someone finding him.
They never find out who the sniper was, or why he shot Gene. But nobody else is mysteriously and unexpectedly shot after that, so eventually, with no leads, they drop it.
Gene's lieutenant reads to him from the headlines while he's laid up in the hospital.
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The fourth time, it's not so surprising.
They're arresting a man for the rape of a younger woman at his home on the Upper East Side. They've got him in the cuffs when his wife comes out of nowhere holding a shotgun. It's clear she doesn't know how to use it, and she's half crying in disbelief at what her husband has done. So she turns her anger on the arresting officers, Gene Hunt, now 36 years old, and a few other guys.
She yells for them to leave her house. They try to tell her to calm down. One of the cops comes up behind her, but she hears him before he can take her out. She presses the trigger in her panic and distress, but Gene sees it in slow motion, and though unable to move out of it's path, he is ready when the bullet plants itself in his side.
They arrest the couple. Gene is back to work in less than a week.
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The fifth time, and the last time before the arrival of Sam Tyler, it happens in the 125th precinct's headquarters.
Gene Hunt, now 55, is the lieutenant. They'd been trying to track down a gang that had robbed eight banks in as many weeks. Each time they thought they had a lead, the evidence or paperwork would slip away, or the details become questionable. Gene Hunt's nose knows, and he suspecting a mole in his team. He hates the fact that he must look at every member of his ass-kicking family with suspicion now, but it gets done what must be done.
He catches an officer discreetly removing evidence from a detective's desk, and steps from his secret observation point across the room. Only a few others are still at work, it's getting late in the evening, and they're all absorbed in their work as the traitor catches sight of Gene, stepping into the light. The lieutenant fingers the handle of the gun in his coat pocket.
"Why?" Is all Gene asks.
"Because they give the money they steal to the people who really need it, who don't have anything." The traitor explains.
"That don't make it right."
"And how would you know what's right, Gene?" the officer, Jim Murray, explodes. "You think anything we do here is right, or ethical, or helpful?" He pulls a gun from under his belt, points it at Gene's chest. The few other officers still at work have surrounded the traitor, guns drawn.
"Just put the gun down, Jim." Gene says calmly. He doesn't pull his own gun. No sudden movements.
"Shut up, pig!" Jim says.
"What's-" A young Ray Carling, then officer rather than detective, returns to the 1-2-5 to grab his forgotten car keys.
Jim shoots without thinking in Ray's direction, but Gene leaps forward and takes the bullet instead, straight through his bicep. The other detectives move in, tackling Jim and handcuffing him. His gun flies across the floor to the feet of Ray Carling, who appears to be in shock.
Gene gets to his feet. His arm hurts, but it can wait. He swears the wound hurts worse as one of his own men is lead away to a cell.
Gene Hunt will do anything for his men, but the city comes first.