A week or two back, in conjunction with the fine folks at The Railway Arms, we put our best theorising hats on to come up with some ideas as to just how Ashes To Ashes was going to pan out.
Thus far – and you’ll find the links to these at the bottom of the article – we’ve asked the question as to what happened to Sam Tyler, and just who Gene Hunt is. We’ve done it with no foreknowledge of what’s to come, and thus – provided you’re up to date with the series – there are no spoilers here.
Here, though, is perhaps the most pivotal question of the series: who or what is DCI Jim Keats, the uneasy copper being played with such brilliance by Mr Daniel Mays? Let’s get cracking with the theories…
The Obvious Theory
Before we get into some of the more intricate theories, let’s start with this: what if Jim Keats is exactly as he appears? That he’s a cop on a vendetta, determined to bring Gene Hunt down? Someone as simple as that. Maybe he’s related to someone or something that’s fallen the wrong side of Gene Hunt in the past? Or maybe he’s just not a very nice man?
Fmorgan, however, doesn’t buy that he’s evil at all. “He believes that he’s doing the right thing,” they write. “He does seem manipulative but I think the end will justify the means.” They end by posing the critical question: “Why does he hate Gene?” That, we suspect, will sit at the core of the next two episodes of the show.
Jim Keats Is Gene Hunt
But could it be something a bit more complex than that? Antiquarian certainly seems to think so. “Jim Keats is Gene Hunt’s alter ego,” they write. “He may be conjured up by the rest of CID in response to the shooting of Alex, and the fact they lost some faith in him as the hero of this world.” Faith in Gene Hunt does seem to have been a recurring theme this series.
The theory continues: “In Ray’s and Shaz’s case, Keats has simply helped them realise that there’s nowhere they’d rather be than with Gene and that The Guv is as much a hero as he ever was. Chris is slowly being lost to Keats and will probably have to die in Gene’s world. Alex could go either way before episode eight; if she chooses Keats, she will die and move on to somewhere as yet unknown. If she chooses Gene, she chooses life with the team in the underworld.”
Some of these points tie into earlier theories about Gene Hunt himself that we covered in one of our aforementioned previous articles, so it might be worth checking that out too.
Jazzers, too, is on board with the idea that Jim Keats is an alter ego of Gene Hunt. “He is in Gene’s world in order to help him return to reality and to prevent him from becoming too comfortable in this made-up world. Keats is there to help everyone get back/home, wherever that may be.”
There does seem to be some logic in that, assuming you buy the idea that Chris, Shaz and Ray are all in a similar position to Alex Drake, which in itself is one of our favourite ongoing theories.
Jim Keats Is Gene Hunt’s Medication
We particularly like this one. It’s come from MarriedToTheReal1, who says that “I think he’s a doctor of some sort, or maybe medication coursing it’s way through Gene’s bloodstream.”
That plays into the imaginery theme that’s running through many of the theories about Jim Keats, and also could tie into the idea that Gene Hunt is too from the future, and in denial at the fact that he’s in a similar boat to Sam Tyler and Alex Drake.
Jim Keats Has Got A Personal Grudge Against Gene Hunt
This seems very likely indeed. Jim Keats is clearly obsessed with Gene, and there must be a reason why. It’s thus more than feasible that the two of them have crossed paths in the past. It can’t be overtly, because Gene didn’t recognised Keats at the start of the series. But Keats certainly knows Gene, and DCI Hunt has had some impact on him somewhere along the line.
As Mrs Hunt argues, “He’s come to close down Gene’s kingdom by whatever means available. Definitely some personal animosity there so I can’t see him as some sort of ‘good guy’ although that may change in subsequent episodes.”
Mrs Hunt goes on to say that “My additional guess is that CID – Gene’s Kingdom – will be shut down by the end of episode eight, although it will be more to do with Gene’s actions that Keats’. He will bring it to an end himself.” An interesting thought, and one that would bring closure to the Ashes world.
He’s Been Sent Back In Time!
Time travel has been a popular theory regarding the deeper mysteries of Ashes To Ashes, and as such, there’s thinking that Jim Keats has been sent back from the future to bring down Gene Hunt. If, on the very off chance, this does happen to be true, then here’s hoping that a Quattro with a flux capacitor is involved somewhere along the line.
Qthewetsprocket is one of many who believe the Keats is “a copper from the future, just like Sam, Alex, Martin Summers, and Supermac”.
We’ll be getting our Huey Lewis album out just in case.
He’s Linked To Sam Tyler
One of the other more logical threads is that Keats isn’t someone who knew of Gene Hunt, rather someone who knows all about Sam Tyler.
OscarPapaRomeo has an interesting take on it, suggesting “He knows nothing about Gene really but does know what really happened to Sam Tyler. He’s trying to turn them away from Gene because he thinks that if they turn against him, then they die properly in the real world. He’s trying to get something else out of Gene that he can use against him when he says stuff like ‘I know what you did three years ago.'”
Going even further than that: could Keats have been a friend, a colleague or a relative of Sam Tyler? Could this be a straight revenge mission for him? That, as OscarPapaRomeo suggests, he knows how Sam died, and holds Gene responsible? It’s certainly a possibility.
He Is Sam Tyler!
Taking the argument forward another stage, we couldn’t leave out this suggestion from comorbid, who suggests that Jim Keats is simply another splinter of Sam Tyler. That, in a sense, he’s Tyler himself, come to sort things out and potentially settle a few scores…
Those are some of our theories and those of the wonderful folk over at The Railway Arms. Leave yours in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out The Railway Arms right here…