However, while Gene's bluff exterior isn't hiding a sensitive soul underneath, we soon discover appearances are not only deceiving, there's a bloody good reason for them. First of all Gene doesn't have any of the technology at his disposal that Sam or today's cops have. Forensic science that we take for granted like lifting finger prints from skin don't exist. Gene and his cops have to rely on what their "snouts" (informers) can tell them, their instincts honed from years working among the criminal classes of Manchester, and catching the guilty party either red handed or getting them to confess.
While both Sam and us are appalled by some of Gene's methodology, we gradually begin to understand him more with each episode and see what drives him so relentlessly. He takes any crime committed upon his streets personally and desperately wants to clean them up. Although he gets royally pissed off with Sam, he appreciates what he stands for and his abilities as a cop. There's one brilliant scene between the two of them where Gene talks about how he came to start accepting "backhanders" (bribes). When Sam asks him how it makes it feel inside he replies "like there's a creature inside eating away at me", and is happy to kill the creature when Sam gives him the opportunity by bringing down a local gangster.
While Sam and Gene are the leads, the supporting cast, Police woman Anne Cartwright (Liz White) Detective Sergeant Ray Carling (Dean Andrews) and Detective Constable Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster) are equally important to the series. Carling thinks he knows what his "guvnor" DCI Hunt is all about, but only sees the rough and tumble exterior and not the brain and heart at work underneath, which leads him into making a horrible mistake. Skelton is torn between being interested in the new ideas Sam is suggesting about police work and not wanting to risk alienating his mates by chumming up to the new boss and doing anything that might look different from the way everyone else acts.
Anne Cartwright could be a love interest, but more importantly she's a friend and acts as Sam's conscience by forcing him to consider what's more important to him - his procedures and "how things should be done" or his friends and the consequences of his actions. However, unlike the rest of the men she works with, Sam doesn't treat her walking into the room as an excuse for making dirty jokes, and doesn't think her gender makes her less intelligent then the rest of them. So although she treads carefully, over the course of the first series we begin to see her come out of her shell and taking a more active role in investigations.