Various mishaps at a police station in an English town. The main character is the anachronistic, yet charming and funny Inspector Fowler. CID foil to Fowler, Inspector Grim is a bumbling, seething idiot.
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Inspector Raymond C. Fowler is the officer in charge of Gasforth police station, a devoted and integer servant of the crown, and a terrible stickler for rules and all forms of correctness. His second in command, Sergeant Patricia Dawkins, is also his partner and very much in command in all non-police matters, with a nasty tendency to forget her professional place too. The uniform branch is further manned by three Constables: old Trinidadian-born Frank Gladstone, promising foxy Pakistani Maggie Habib and English simpleton Kevin Goody, good friends but constantly arguing and overeager, especially by Fowler's impossibly high standards. They share the station with loudly arrogant but rather stupid and shockingly in-courteous Detective Inspector Derek Grim's CID branch, which further includes Detectives Robert Kray and Gary Boyle. The female mayor is a further worry, the crooks usually cause much less trouble then the permanent cast. Written by
This series was a bit of a step back for Elton and Atkinson after the audaciously original Blackadder and Mr. Bean series. The Thin Blue Line is an old-fashioned farce set in a city police station. That's not to say it's bad--it's actually very funny, just not anything groundbreaking. A lot of the humor derives from playing stereotypes against themselves: our heroes are bumbling cops who manage to make fools of themselves while eventually solving the crimes and making fools of the bad guys (not to mention the detective division) in the end. Goody, who could be described as a flaming heterosexual, manages to combine a full repertoire of "nelly" mannerisms with a hopeless crush on Habib. Habib herself is both a stereotype (attractive young female character constantly pursued by almost every male character) and a skewerer of stereotypes. This show has its cake and eats it too, but the viewer is too busy laughing to question any of it. And in the tradition of the best British farces, it goes to unbelievable lengths to track down and hammer home every conceivable double entendre and smutty one-liner. When one finishes groaning and/or laughing, one can't help but admire such perseverance in the pursuit of craft.
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