Gene's forever loyal DS (Depromoted to DC at one point in Life On Mars, and Promoted to DI in the last series of Ashes to Ashes). He is friends with Chris, and dislikes Shaz for coming between them in Ashes to Ashes.
Life On MarsEdit
The character of Ray Carling is shown to be a similar character to that of his boss, DCI Gene Hunt. During Life on Mars Carling often agrees with Hunt's brutality and corruption over that of DI Sam Tyler's ideas. Carling has also been described by the BBC's website as Hunt's: "right-hand man when it comes to fighting, shooting, gambling and the ladies".
Throughout the series, Carling frequently clashes with Sam Tyler regarding his policing methods. It is revealed that Carling had applied for promotion to DI, but was passed over for the apparently transferred Sam Tyler, fuelling his grudge against Tyler.
During episode 7 of the first series, Billy Kemble is arrested on drug-related charges. In an attempt to make him reveal his supplier, Carling and Chris Skelton force-feed Kemble cocaine, in the hope it would force him to reveal the name of his supplier, but Kemble has a heart attack and dies in police custody. After an extensive cover-up operation, Hunt angrily demotes Carling to DC.
After a period of time as a DC, Hunt re-promotes Carling to DS in series 2, episode 2, which he remains at for the next decade until 1983 in Ashes to Ashes.
During episode 3 of the second series, Carling is blown up by a car bomb and hospitalized. A short time before the explosion, Sam Tyler claims it is a hoax and not the IRA as he knows from 2006 that they never used dynamite. Carling takes Tyler's word and investigates, only to be caught in the explosion. He suffers severe Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after his release from hospital and unwittingly compromises Tyler's investigations. He is however hailed a hero by the rest of CID.
Ashes to AshesEditAlongside Gene Hunt and Chris Skelton, Carling moved from Manchester to London and joined the Metropolitan Police shortly after the death of Sam Tyler in 1980.
Despite Carling openly being racist and sexist during Life on Mars, he is consistently displayed to have an improved attitude throughout Ashes to Ashes. Unlike his disdain for DI Tyler in 1973, he forms a good working relationship with DI Alex Drake and, most of the time, fully respects her authority over him, despite her gender.
During the third series in 1983, Carling is promoted to a DI while Hunt is on the run for Drake's shooting, and takes overall charge of CID. When Hunt returns with Drake, he hastily disregards and lampoons Carling's efforts, describing him as looking like a "maths teacher". Carling goes on to ruin a stake-out during a hostage situation, but after the case is solved, Hunt acknowledges that it was a difficult operation and finally applauds his ability and effort.
It is also revealed that Ray's father and grandfather were in the army, but Ray never joined himself as he went out drinking on the night he was supposed to sign up and never got around to going because he was scared, his relationship with his father subsequently souring despite his successes in the force. In series 2 in 1982, Carling actually fills out an army application form, but when he asks Alex Drake to write a reference, she takes the form and rips it up into little pieces, convincing him to stay.
As a young DC, he commits suicide by hanging himself on 6 May 1972, the day of that year's FA Cup Final. He had been struggling with the feeling that he had failed his father and grandfathers, who were all army sergeants, after he failed basic training for entry to the British Army. Ray took out his frustrations on a drunk young man outside a pub and ended up killing him, something which his DCI covered up. Ridden with guilt, he committed suicide by hanging himself in a bout of severe depression and alcohol abuse.