Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean, Black Adder) stars as Inspector Raymond Fowler, leader of a dedicatedly incompetent squad of keystone kops in a tiny British town.
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Set in a fictitious British suburb, The Thin Blue Line is the wickedly funny story of a rather down-at-heel police station headed by Inspector Raymond Fowler (Rowan Atkinson, best known as Mr. Bean), a pompous, repressed but well-intentioned anachronism who wants to do the right thing but who is constantly hampered by his own shortcomings, not to mention his blundering Criminal Investigation Department colleagues. Atkinson expertly balances his character's inflated sense of self-importance with the insight born of old-school police values, for which his galumphing, shiny-suited CID counterpart, DI Grim (David Haig) has no time at all. Strongest among the supporting cast is Sgt. Pauline Dawkins (Serena Evans), who also happens to be Fowler's live-in lover--a moral dilemma that his traditional values won't allow him to resolve. He salves his conscience by avoiding sex with her whenever possible, an amusing subplot enhanced by Evans's brilliant performance--she positively vibrates with contained, ladylike lust in a manner only equaled by Penelope Keith in the classic sitcom To the Manor Born. Scripted by Ben Elton, this series manages to satirize provincialism, institutionalized pig-headedness, and dated moral values in one fell swoop, while also being chock-full of quick-fire, Black Adder-esque dialogue. --Roger Thomas
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