Season 3, Episode 2
This week's episode opens to a humorous parody of the Uptown Girl music video, complete with Gene Hunt as Billy Joel. This is of course Alex dreaming and luckily she wakes up from this nightmare fairly quickly. Is this dream hinting at Alex's deeper Gene infatuation? The rest of the episode suggests something along these lines.
But lets put that aside for now. After the dream sequence and the credits, the episode kicks off back in the office. Some workmen are loudly fixing something in the ceiling and generally getting in the way. This causes to increase the tension, shorten fuses and highlight some problems a couple of the characters are facing. Shaz in particular loses her temper and has to get out of there, much to everyone's confusion. There's also Gene's new problem, Jim Keats adding to the stress. He has begun his investigation of the department by conducting one on one interviews. Chris and Ray are his first targets but it doesn't seem that he gets very far. Alex also upsets Gene by continuing to investigate Sam Tyler, much to her frustration she doesn't get far with Gene, but Chris is a bit more helpful, if not entirely useful.
It's then that we catch up with the case of the week. Chris opens the post only to find they've been sent a three day old severed hand and it's been branded by a crescent moon symbol. Alex quickly comes to the conclusion that they have a serial killer on their hands and he wants them to know what he's up to. They track down the body which belongs to the hand and work out the meaning behind the branded symbol; which turns out is the logo of a dating agency. Going undercover they all promptly sign up to the agency and comedy ensues as Alex invents speed dating. Ray has some fun with pair of twins and Gene gets set upon by horny older woman. We also are given a glimpse at Keats having an infatuation with Alex, much to Gene's dislike. All this fun is in the name of drawing out the killer who has been preying on girls who have signed up to the agency. It's left to Alex's detectiving (with a little help from Keats) to find him before it's too late.
This episode's focus is Shaz and she's having doubts over her suitability to be a police officer. Keats actually gives her a push to leave, but Gene comes back with a pep talk and she concedes to play a central role in catching the killer. Given the convenience and the speed in which this case is resolved it could have been a disappointing episode. However actress Montserrat Lombard does excellently after she's has been given the reins to carry the episode. Along with some top notch acting from a guest star, her efforts result in a very good and exciting ending to this episode. Shaz's arch in this episode is an interesting one and with a strange “Life on Mars” music cue thrown in at a pivotal movement for Shaz, she further mirrors the character of Annie Cartwright from 'Life on Mars'.