Assailant of Sam Tyler

Crane as he stands over Tyler in his hospital bed, tormenting him.

Tony Crane is the main antagonist of series 2 episode 1 of the BBC drama series Life On Mars. He is a peculiar kind of villain because the protagonist's aim is to stop him before he commits the murders for which he was arrested in 2006. He is a particularly nasty villain.

Crane's original timeline


In 1973, he was running a cassino in Manchester. However, he had been printing money and laundering it through his own cassino. He murdered several big winners after he realised that the money wasn't good enough to go into the economy unnoticed, and that it could be traced back to Crane.


In 2006, his wife, Eve Crane, eventually called Sam Tyler about the crimes her husband was committing. Tyler arrested him, with the intention of protecting Even from Crane's wrath, but Crane brutally raped her and beat her to death. However, after Tyler was hit by a car and ended up in a coma, Crane intimidated the witnesses and forced the Crown Prosecution Service to drop the case.

Altering of Crane's timeline

Torture of Sam Tyler

The opening moments of the second series suggest to Sam a proximity to his own life, as he has visions that he wakes up to be welcomed back by the nurses and doctors. But then Crane advances towards him as seen in the picture above, and he identifies himself as Sam's worst nightmare. He tortures him and torments him, telling him that Eve's blood is on his hands. He tells Tyler to beg for his life, "like she did,". He eventually intended to turn of Sam's life support.

Comatose encounter

When Sam is investigating a murder in 1973, having apparently "travelled back in time" as a result of his car accident, he immediately recognises Crane as a nasty villain from 2007. He ran a gaming empire which was destroyed as a result of his arrest. Sam tried to frame Crane by planting a watch like the one stolen from a murder victim in his drawer, intending to lead a police raid, but was caught by Crane. Sam confronted Crane, telling him he was born a monster and was only to be fitted up because he deserved it. Tony ordered his henchman to kill Tyler and his DCI, Gene Hunt, and McKee, his forger, and potential witness. McKee died, but Tyler and Hunt escaped, and eventually caught Crane using a stinger to stop his car.

Clinical detention

Gene accepts that Crane is a villain, but tells Sam there is nothing they can do to stop him because they have no evidence. Crane knows that the case is pathetic, and says the jury won't believe the police if they hear Sam tried to fit him up. Then, to Sam's horror, Crane reveals to the others where Sam really comes from, in an attempt to have him put away in a mental hospital for good. However, Tyler tells his team that these are lies to discredit the arresting officer, and adds that it would require a disturbed individual to come up with them. Crane is taken away, yelling that Sam can't stop him. Sam simply smiles and says "I just did,". Crane is removed from the room, shouting that he knows the truth.


It is revealed that Sam was in fact in the same hospital that Crane had, in this new altered timeline, been imprisoned in since 1973. Sam remained disconnected from his life support for fifteen minutes as a result of Crane's efforts, but survived. Tony Crane was presumably returned to his cell.