Anyhoo, about the finale ... So, wow!! That was a really, REALLY brilliant way to end the series. Just brilliant. And I just checked out the UK version and they didn't end it like this at all. This I just loved!! It absolutely tied EVERYTHING up, including making Gene Hunt the most important character to Sam, because sell the Annie crap all the wanted, Gene was the person I felt that Sam connected with the most, and it was fabulous that he was his dad, and he was the one who gave him that quote.
Man, it was just wonderful. And so brilliant. The show could have gone on for years and still have had that ending. It was just utterly perfect. Including Windy(!!), 2B, Frank Morgan, Hyde, all of the characters, the song/title "Life on Mars," the utter WHUHUH!?! of the events. It all made perfect sense with that wrap-up. Utterly ingenious. Really, really, REALLY well-done.
ETA: Most people on TWoP hated this, but I still stand by loving it. And there was an interview with TPTB that basically said that this was always planned to be the ending chapter, to which I say, unreservedly: BRAVA!!!! This was brilliant, utterly brilliant, ingenious and absolutely tied everything together in a way that made about as much sense as possible, while hitting the right major note for me. I LOVED IT!
I uploaded the ending to youtube -- it's below in the comments.