This show is set in the Complaints Investigation Bureau (C.I.B.), the department responsible for investigating other police officers, of London's Metropolitan Police [the British counterpart to the Internal Affairs Bureau (I.A.B.) of a U.S. city's police force]. The first two seasons had stories based around various different aspects of the darker side of the police, ranging from such topics as petty corruption, racism, and sexual harassment through to grand conspiracy, with some plot threads running through the season over several episodes. The series also dealt with the personal lives of it's less-than-clean-cut characters, particularly the womanizing lead character Tony Clark, and is also notable for its inclusion of a lesbian character in a major role. In the third and final season, the focus changed significantly, moving away from the police force to other areas of security and espionage. Written by
... Watch the first two series and ignore the third because series one and two are amongst the best drama the BBC produced in the 1990s
The format for this show revolved around Detective Superintendent Tony Clark who was drafted into the Police Complaints Investigations Bureau where he and his two colleagues chain smoking scouser Harry Naylor and ginger haired Scottish lesbian Maureen Connell have to investigate complaints made against policemen . In many ways it's like a cross between the Richard Gere movie INTERNAL AFFAIRS and the classic British cop show THE SWEENEY with gritty story lines like a local police squad rolling drunks for their money , an episode where a man waving a replica gun is shot dead by police marksmen leading to riots orchestrated by the estate's drug dealers and manipulated by a Chief Superintendent , a retiring senior cop suspected of being bent and perhaps the best episode centered on an undercover cop who has infiltrated a neo Nazi group but is believed to have gone native . All these story lines are believable and almost certainly reflect the growing disenchantment the British public have for the police . You're not going to confuse this with DIXON OF DOCK GREEN since the lead anti hero Tony Clark seemed to be a bit obsessive in letting women get their hands on his truncheon !
It spearheaded BBC 1's Autumn schedule and received massive critical acclaim from the critics and for the first two years BETWEEN THE LINES was a winner . Then for some reason known only to the producers the format was changed , no longer were Tony , Harry and Mo employed by CIB , they were drafted into another secretive government department similar to MI5 . What this meant was that the credible story lines featuring , corrupt , violent or just plain over zealous cops were now replaced by plots featuring international politics and terrorists ! A ginger haired Scottish lesbian as a Bond girl ? I don't think so . There is one episode in the third series involving the trio to go under cover at a hotel that feels like it belongs in the previous two series but the other plots are so laughably over developed it's like watching either a parody or an entirely different show . I mean anti vivisectionists running around with bombs and Uzi 9 mms ! And the series ends on a BLAKES 7 type cliffhanger after Tony and Harry infiltrate a gun running operation by the Ulster Volunteer Force . The series never returned after this and since the critics were bitterly disappointed by the direction that the third series had taken not too many people petitioned for its return
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