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Arthur Layton

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Arthur Layton
Series: Ashes to Ashes
Actor: Sean Harris

Arthur Layton is a former special forces explosives specialist who shoots DI Alex Drake in 2008. Alex encounters him in 1981 in episode 1.1, "Deja Vu", and suspects that, despite giving the appearance of being a lowly fence, he is the kingpin behind a drug smuggling operation in the city.

He takes WPC Sharon "Shaz" Granger hostage at gunpoint at the ill-fated 1981 drugs buy at the climax of episode 1.1, "Deja Vu". He holds Shaz in the same manner that he will hold the woman hostage at the beginning of the episode in 2008 when Alex similarly approaches him - this time, however, armed and aiming at his head. As in 2008, he releases Shaz in favour of a stand-off with Drake. The stand-off is broken by DCI Gene Hunt who arrives via a commandeered speedboat with DS Ray Carling and DC Chris Skelton, and sprays Layton's direction with an Uzi only wounding him superficially.

Layton is later released from prison near the end of episode 1.8, "Alex's Big Day" through the efforts of his barristers, Tim Price and Evan White and arranges the car bomb which kills Drake's parents.

On several occasions in 1981 and 2008, he quotes the lyric "I'm happy, hope you're happy too" from David Bowie's song, Ashes to Ashes. The song plays on the car's cassette player leading up to the bomb's detonation.

In the start of episode 1.1, "Deja Vu", in 2008, Layton is down-and-out, his crime empire merely a memory. He takes a woman hostage, overlooking the bank of the Thames, and demands to speak specifically with DI Alex Drake, causing Drake to detour on her way to delivering her daughter Molly Drake to school on Molly's birthday. When Alex gets close enough, he releases his hostage, instead threatening Alex with his revolver. Although his name and aged face mean nothing to Drake, he claims to know her and that she has her father's eyes. Molly, who had disobeyed Alex's instruction to remain in the car, runs to her and is grabbed by Layton as a new hostage; he leads her down the steps to the riverbank, threatening to kill her if followed. A frantic Alex dashes down when hearing a gunshot, but finds Molly to have been released unharmed and Layton gone. Later that morning, he hides in the back seat of Alex's car and orders her to drive to a barge. While escorting Alex at gunpoint down the gangplank to the barge, he places a telephone call to someone to whom he tells he has "a peace of your past in front of me; Tim and Caroline Price's daughter; and I'm going to tell her the truth about why her parents died." Ignoring Alex's pleas and attempts at negotiation, he shoots her without telling her the truth as he claimed he would. (First eight minutes of episode 1.1, "Deja Vu".)

The party whom Layton telephones in 2008 is not yet revealed conclusively. At the end of episode 1.8, "Alex's Big Day", adult Alex Drake opines in 1981 that Evan White is whom Layton calls, telling Hunt that "I'm the piece of his [Evan's] past, or I will be. He'll be blackmailed by Layton for not telling the truth."

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