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DS Ray Carling is fictional character in BBC One's science fiction/police procedural drama, Life on Mars and its spin-off Ashes to Ashes. The character is portrayed by Dean Andrews in both Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, whereas in the American version he is portrayed by Michael Imperioli.

Storylines

Background

On an Army application form in Ashes to Ashes, it is shown that Carling was born on 11 April 1945. During both Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes little is disclosed regarding Ray's early life, with the exception that he is unmarried and grew up in the Manchestermarker area.

Life on Mars

Ray Carling as he appears in Life on Mars
The character of Ray Carling is Detective Sergeant in Manchester and Salford Police's A Division CID. It is previously shown in Life on Mars that Carling applied for promotion to Detective Inspector, but was not accepted for the post due to Sam Tyler arriving as the new DI. As a result, throughout both series of Life on Mars Carling and Tyler's relationship is often heated and argumentative.

Carling is also displayed to respect his boss, DCI Gene Hunt who has been described as Hunt's "right-hand man when it comes to fighting, shooting, gambling and the ladies".

During "A Conflict of Interests", Carling blames Tyler for when a girl is murdered by local crime boss Stephen Warren and accuses Tyler of making life difficult for Warren rather than believing that both the police and Warren could coexist like the rest of the team.

In "Wrongful Death", small-time drug dealer Billy Kemble is arrested. In the absence of Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt, Kemble is forced to share a cell with a violent prisoner after he refuses to answer questions in interview. When Kemble is discovered dead, Carling, Chris Skelton, Phyllis Dobbs and Annie Cartwright all corroborate each others evidence of that Kemble was beaten to death. It later transpires that Carling forced the prisoner to eat cocaine mistakenly believing it to be a drug which induces a compulsion to tell the truth. Furious that this has happened, Gene Hunt covers up the incident and demotes Carling to Detective Constable. At the end of the episode, Hunt calls all officers involved together and tells that the incident was "shameful" and that it was never to be repeated. Ray is promoted back to Detective Sergeant at the start of the second series.

During "The Bombing", Carling is injured when a suspected IRA bomb explodes outside a school. Before the bomb explodes, Tyler claims that it could not be IRA as dynamite had never been known to have been used by the IRA. Ray, wishing to upstage Tyler, goes to investigate and is badly injured in the explosion. After Carling is released from hospital, he is shown to have the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder, leading to him becoming withdrawn. Later in the episode, he shoots an innocent Irish man.

During "Undercover", the CID team find out that Sam had been working undercover with Frank Morgan to expose Gene Hunt's corrupt activities. Ray is shot during the episode in a raid on a train, forgiving Sam after he saves his life.

Ashes to Ashes

Alongside Chris Skelton and Gene Hunt, Carling joined the Metropolitan Police in London. During "Nothing Changes", Carling plants a large amount of drugs in a rapists car so to get him arrested as they had little evidence on the rapes he carried out.

In the second series of the programme, Carling is displayed to show jealousy towards Chris Skeltons relationship with Sharon Granger, eventually agreeing to be Chris' best man for their planned wedding.

Personality

Carling is displayed to have homophobic and sexist attitudes, which are reflected by his comical rudeness. He respects Gene Hunt and tries to follow his lead, as they are seen to agree on and participate in policing methods. During Life on Mars, Carling shows little respect towards Sam Tyler due to his distrust of him and that Tyler was promoted in favour of Carling.

By the time of Ashes to Ashes which is set in 1981 and 1982, Carling is displayed as resenting having a female officer, DI Alex Drake as his senior officer, and is often rude to her. During the fifth episode of the second series, Ray is openly upset about DCS Charlie Mackintosh's corrupt activities, unable to imagine that a man he respects so much could do such a thing. He questions whether he should stay in the police or join the army but in the end is persuaded not to leave.

In the second series of Ashes to Ashes, Ray is revealed to be a Freemason.

References

  1. Army application shown in Ashes to Ashes episode 2.5 at 21:31


External links




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