This is a short TV review I originally wrote as part of an application form.
The Thin Blue Line is set in a police station in the fictional town of Gasforth based around the London Borough. Written by Ben Elton of the Young Ones and BlackAdder fame, it focuses on a multicultural police department and is basically Hill Street Blues meets Dad’s Army.
The Thin Blue Line stars Rowan Atkinson as Inspector Raymond Fowler. He is joined by his long-suffering girlfriend, Sergeant Patricia Dawkins (Serena Evans), his rival Inspector Derrick Grim (David Haig) who is in charge of the CID, PC Kevin Goody (James Dreyfus), Constable Maggie Habib (Mina Anwar) and PC Frank Gladstone (Rudolph Walker).
The Thin Blue Line is very cleverly scripted. It combines the humour with the police work. Part of the humour is one of the main themes which is the rivalry between Inspector Fowler’s uniformed squad led and the CID led by Inspector Grim. Despite their competitions, Fowler and Grim are on the same side of the law.
But with that said, much like most police-based shows, it also tackles some serious issues, such as juvenile crime and drug use; one example is during a powerful scene from the episode Alternative Culture where Habib finds that her teenage sister has smuggled marijuana and protects her by hiding the evidence. She then faces charges. Fowler, knowing Habib’s work history, does his best to protect her, but Grim is at first reluctant to break the law. There were also themes of racism. An example of this is shown in Kids Today when a far-right-wing prisoner refers to Habib as a “p**i cow”. As a result, Goody strikes him, but ends up facing charges for assault.
Rowan Atkinson may primarily be remembered as Mr. Bean and/or BlackAdder, but The Thin Blue Line is a balanced and underrated sitcom, which provides plenty of laughs and tears of joy, but also teaches us the importance of the law.