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Life on Mars (UK)

Season 2 Episode 4

Episode 4

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Mar 13, 2007 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
100 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Sam and Annie go undercover as a swinging couple to investigate the murder of a Beauvoir beauty rep.

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  • swingers

    good episode - just discovered this set of fan reviews; am on the season 2 DVD and loving the show. another excellent show from the Beeb. Thanks to alla y'all for you recaps; I really appreciate it. really liked hearing The Moody Blues "The Story in Your Eyes"
  • His Way With Women Written by Ashley Pharaoh Directed by Richard Clark

    Heather: "Maybe he can't even hear me. You don't need to hear my voice to know I'm always there. You're my favourite nephew Sam and it breaks my heart to see you like this".

    Halfway through the second season, the writers have decided to take another look into Sam's family. Last season we got see his parents at different occasions and now it's time for Sam to start thinking about his Aunt Heather.

    Aunts are usually brilliant and as a kid you can definitely get away with more with them than your parents. Heather's clearly a significant person for Sam but oddly enough she's peripheral to what's really going on here.

    With Sam being in a brooding mood, it's not a great time for a killer to be on the loose. The death of a young woman had Gene remembering the deviant Terrence Finn who notably left a signature piece with his victims. When the same piece turns up on this body, Gene wonders if he caught the wrong fellow all those years ago.

    For some reason (perhaps Sam's influence?), Gene seems a little less brutal in his efforts to try and sort this case out. When Sam keeps sniffing the corpse, Gene even indulges Sam's notions of trying to find a lead on the victim's killer.

    It also helps for Sam that a young girl named Denise happens to come flying out of a car in his direction. That's enough to illicit any level of suspicion but when she darts off and is also wearing some distinct perfume, Sam realises that there's a decent connection.

    Just like his Aunt Heather, Denise is a Beavoir girl. These ladies just seem to be a 70's version of Avon and given that the earlier body worked for the same company, Sam gets Denise in to get some answers. Denise naturally doesn't want to help out until she realises that the dead woman was her best friend.

    If the world of cosmetics doesn't generate much appeal then the world of swinger parties just might. Denise's friend Sandra was one of the toga waitresses of the place and the man who chucked Denise out of his car seemed to be rather possessive of Sandra. This also give Sam a chance to use policing methods he's more accustomed to.

    Of course Gene isn't best pleased that Sam wants to bug Roger's place of business but at least it gets results when they overhear Roger and his wife Carol discussing a troublesome woman. Still this is one of those episodes where Gene's complaining about modern policing is both minimal and rather funny.

    It's also funny that it takes Gene quite a while to deduce the severity of Roger's actions but Sam at least manages to get a plan into action as soon as him and Gene deal with a tense interview with Edith. With Denise now a missing person, it's good to see a more sensitive side to Gene as well. In fact it might be one of the rare episodes where Sam and Gene seem to agree more than usual.

    Sam's plan however is just more surveillance but it works no less. Both him and Annie pose as a new couple and immediately manage to gain the trust of Roger and Carol within seconds. Then again, Annie is just a little too good at the old undercover routine that it's Sam you end up worrying more for.

    She's flirtatious and friendly and is able to handle sleazy Roger with ease while maintaining a cordial stance with Carol. Sam on the other hand comes across as more frosty that it's amazing that Roger didn't smell a rat. Still his attempts to protect Annie are sweet even though she blatantly can take care of herself.

    Also it's because of her that some progress in the case is made. She decides to get herself and Sam invited to a swingers party. Sam even attempts to back out at one point and Annie has to put him in his place. Liz White is a good actress but this episode really saw her shine the most.

    It was her we had to thank when things were looking bad for herself and Sam. Gene's method of gate crashing the party with Sookie nearly blew their cover. However I did love Gene's interruption – he was actually worried for Sam and Annie and was also on his witty best as well. That being said Annie was the quick thinker in this episode.

    Sam made a good effort to pry on Carol's insecurities about swinger parties to get some information but Carol seemed too determined not to help. Annie however whipped Roger into a literal frenzy and began to get some answers. I bet she had a lot of fun with that more than Roger.

    Of course the ending was a bit mellow by comparison. It turned out that Carol was planning to do in Denise but once again, we can thank Annie for the day being saved. To think this episode had started with her getting bested by a petty thug and ended with her preventing another death.

    Maybe it's not that amazing but it shows just good of a copper Annie is and also highlights that she's more than a love interest/unwilling confidant for Sam too. Even Sam was impressed with her quick thinking this week but with four episodes left, how much longer are they going to tease out this love arc?

    Speaking of love, you got to feel for Chris. Okay so he is quite thick and while he should grow a backbone and tell Ray where to get off, I did like that in the end he was able to tell Sam what he really felt about his date. As for Ray, given his approach to women, I'm surprised the guy has ever actually gotten laid.

    The Heather plot of the episode then caps things off intriguingly. Real life Heather in 1973 might not be a fan of her nephew but at least the fantasy one hates seeing Sam in pain. Katherine Kelly might be better known as Corrie's loud mouth Becky but she did a good job here despite not having very much to do.

    Also in "Episode 12"

    I just realised we had three fairly big Corrie actresses in this episode with Katherine Kelly as Heather, Georgia Taylor as Denise and Eva Pope as Carol.

    Chris: "Woman in her twenties found dead".

    Gene: "I didn't think she was sunbathing".

    The only Hyde mention in this episode was from Annie. Sam did lay it on a bit too thick about how much he was appreciated in his old station.

    Sam: "You've got lovely hands".

    Denise: "Are you sure you're a copper?"

    Ray (re surveillance): "You're right boss. It works like a treat".

    Sam: "People are suck".

    Another thing that was laid thick in this episode was Sam's luck with women. Gwen and Carol seemed attracted to him, Phyllis was civil with him and even Chris asked him for advice about women.

    Gene (to Sam, re surveillance): "I don't like it. Gene Hunt smashes doors down. He does not pick girly locks".

    Annie: "Can I be really forward?"

    Roger: "Oh I love forward women".

    Carol: "Roger, behave".

    Sam and Annie pretended to be Tony and Cherie Blair, with Sam also being a virgin and looking for a soul mate and Annie nearly losing her dog. Sam (re Sookie): "She's a prostitute?"

    Sookie: "I am here you know".

    Gene: "You didn't think I was going to fetch my wife, did you?"

    Carol: "Nothing more stupid than a man who thinks he knows everything".

    Gene (to Sam): "I think she means you".

    Standout music: "Coz I Luv You" by Slade and "Aladdin Sane" by David Bowie.

    Wow, this is definitely one of the best episodes of the show. This was pretty dark if not exactly mystery advancing but it boasted some of the most entertaining moments in the series as well as some brilliant moments for Annie.moreless
  • It's beer o'clock

    After weeks of having to wait I finally see a new episode of Life on Mars (why replace it with football? Football's rubbish) and it was worth the wait.

    Sam and Annie go wifeswapping to solve a murder under the psuedonym Tony and Cherie Blair (that made me laugh)and are joined by Gordon Brown (aka Gene).

    To add to this, Sam has stopped hearing voices from home. This was a good episode, it had humour, drama and action. Chris telling everyone about his disatrous date was a highlight.

    However, sometimes Sam really gets on my nerves. If I were him, I would have embraced 1973. I mean it had some great music and it's the year Sunderland won the FA Cup. Apart from the huge economic instability it was pretty cool.

    On the whole a really good episode.

    9.4 out of 10moreless
  • Wife swapping & Blue Nun.....well it does "Go With Everything"....

    With the series doing a 70's cliche a week, it was the turn of wife swapping amongst the G-plan and Abigail's Party.

    The period detail in this series is terrific, - I particularly enjoyed the Chris/Ray exchange over the vol au vent, where Chris ended up concluding it was a type of pie. And the height of sophistication being black forest gateaux and Blue Nun. I'm waiting for an episode set round a Berni Inn Steakhouse soon...

    As with all of these the resolution of the mystery isn't the most important part. The programme draws strongly on the characters, and with barely a bad one amongst them it can only go from strength to strength.

    It is good to see Annie gradually gaining acceptance, but with the occasional glitch like at the start of this episode. It would be too easy for her to fit right in or become a comic interlude, but the writers have it nicely balanced.

    And I'm impressed with what you can do with a 1970's walkie talkie...moreless
  • Another great episode.

    I didn't know what to expect with this episode, was kind of weird at one point but who cares, it was great. I found myself laughing with some of the comments made, although mainly the names they used whilst undercover, and the one playing the gov reminds me of Gordon Brown, which is what made the episode. They wouldn't sound funny in a modern show but some how they make them amusing for a show set in the 70's. What's to come on next weeks episode, we can only imagine, I just hope the final episode is not a disapointment.moreless
Andrew Readman

Andrew Readman

Twilling's Lawyer

Guest Star

Meryl Hampton

Meryl Hampton

Edith Williams

Guest Star

Eva Pope

Eva Pope

Carol Twilling

Guest Star

Noreen Kershaw

Noreen Kershaw

Phyllis Dobbs

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • When Sam sits down next to Carol Twilling on the bed, asking "Do things ever get a bit frisky?" the top button of his shirt is undone. The camera cuts away and back, only to find that there are now miraculously two buttons undone, not just one. Sam has not moved in this time.

    • The third victim's surname is Williams. This was originally to be Sam's surname, but Kudos felt that "Sam Williams" was not striking enough. Co-creator Matthew Graham consulted his daughter and she suggested Tyler after Rose Tyler, from Doctor Who (2005).

    • The autopsy doctor told Hunt that he had to pry the flower of death from the first victim's severely rigomortised hands, yet he shows the detectives a pristine flower that looks as if it has been freshly picked.

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Carling [ on hearing a police siren ]: The law! The law!
      Hunt: Get down you div!
      Sam: We are the law, you bloody clowns… God help us!

    • Hunt: What about Bator? Let's have him arrested and shipped up to me.
      Sam: Can't do that, guv.
      Hunt: Why not?
      Sam: Because he died of cancer last year.
      Hunt: Damn the man.

    • Sam: Roger Twilling, 44-years-old, successful businessman, very popular in the business community, gives a lot to charity.
      Hunt: I hate people who give to charity.

    • Skelton: Woman in her 20s. Dead.
      Hunt: Well I didn't think she was sunbathing, did I?

    • Hunt: Right, find out who the dead woman was, find out who killed her. Do it now.
      (They begin to move.)
      Hunt: Hold up, hold up. Do it tomorrow morning first thing. Beer o'clock, gentlemen.

    • Pathologist: There was one thing that might interest you, D.C.I. Hunt.
      Hunt: What?
      Pathologist: La Fleur de Mort.
      Hunt: Do you know, I once hit a bloke for speaking French.

    • Hunt: So what can you tell from sniffing the victim's hair D.I. Tyler?
      Sam: Nothing, it's just, er…
      Hunt: Perhaps we should get her to the morgue, and we can all have a good sniff away from prying eyes.

    • Skelton: What's a vol-au-vent?
      Carling: It's a puff-pastry shell filled with a savoury meat mixture.
      Skelton: You mean a pie.

    • Sam: The pathologist from the original murders, Stuart Bator—
      Hunt: Ah, Master Bator.

    • Sam: It's called surveillance.
      Hunt: It doesn't sound very manly.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Music used in this episode:
      Lay Down by The Strawbs
      I'm Ready by Frankie Miller
      Court In The Act by Lindisfarne
      Samba Pa Ti by Santana
      Coz I Luv You by Slade
      Aladdin Sane by David Bowie
      Rock On by T Rex
      When The City Sleeps by Barclay James Harvest
      Alone Again Naturally by Gilbert O'Sullivan


    • The dinner table conversation about a coup if Harold Wilson won the next election is a conspiracy theory that became common in the late 1970s and into the 1980s, particularly as Wilson's mental capacity declined and Labour supporters looked for someone to blame for the Conservative party's general election victory in 1979. Although it is a conspiracy theory that Sam would know about, it wasn't discussed at the time so casts further doubt as to whether Sam is actually in 1973 or his own version of it.

    • Sam and Annie adopt the noms-de-guerres of Tony and Cherie Blair when they go undercover, being the name of the British Prime Minister and his wife from Sam's own time. When DCI Hunt gatecrashes the party Sam refers to him as "Gordon Brown", Tony Blair's Chancellor of the Exchequer. Needless to say, Brown's wife isn't called Suki.