I see by credits that Clark Peters is merely listed as a guest star. Deal's off the table, Life on Mars producers. You had your chance.
When we return to the action, Sam is lurching down the streets of 1970s New York, drinking in the historic automobiles, the funky hairstyles, and the dated clothing, which, a reflection in a mirror points out, includes his own. Accompanied by the strains of The Five Man Electrical Band -- long-haired freaky people need not apply! -- Sam eventually makes his way to the 125th Precinct and finds a very different workplace than what we encountered at the start of the episode. Gone is the bustling, electronic nerve center of 21st Century law enforcement; in its place, we've got a smoky, dingy hangar of a room where the intermittent chatter is interrupted by the frequent clacks of typewriters and the workforce ratio is, to put it bluntly, something of a sausage fest.
Sam looks a bit stricken if the reaction of the squad room is anything to go by. "You look like you've seen a ghost," comments Detective Chris Skelton, who, because he still seems genuinely concerned for the health of his fellow man, must be a rookie 'round these parts. "You look like you've seen a ghost and he was balling your mother," corrects a shaggy hairstyle and Fu Manchu mustache. Both are connected to Detective Ray Carling, and I can only surmise that producers ordered Michael Imperioli to don this impressively hirsute look for historical accuracy, sure, but also to mask any last traces of Moltasanti-ish overtones. You can take the boy out of the goombah, ABC, but you can never take the goombah out of the boy.
Turns out the 125th Precinct was expecting Sam, as he's ostensibly transferring to the NYPD from upstate. This is news to Sam, who picks this precise moment to freak right the hell out. "I don't know who the hell you think you are," Sam begins, with ever decreasing levels of self-control, "but this is my office. Right here. This is my desk. Here. So where's my desk? Huh? WHERE'S MY DESK?" It speaks to the level of disorientation and the state of shock Sam must be in, that he can find himself smack dab in the middle of the cast from a touring company of Hair, clap eyes on a newly opened, not-at-leveled World Trade Center, and find the clock turned back on 35 years of technological progress, and what drives him to the breaking point is furniture. He must desperately be searching for something familiar and reassuring. Either that, or he's just really, really thick.