The Thin Blue Line True Crime Documentary Review, A Hidden 1980s Gem

What The Thin Blue Line is all about without spoiling the show

This 1980s true crime documentary is the story of a man imprisoned for murdering a police officer. It sounds simple enough, but The Thin Blue Line sets a high bar. Both the imprisoned and the only other suspect in the case, a much more troubled man, tell their sides of the story in what almost feels like a scripted true crime documentary. Despite the age of it, almost as old as me, it has actually aged well outside of some poor reenactments.

In my opinion, the bad acting just gives it some character.

Did you know anything about the story in The Thin Blue Line before watching?

I wasn’t familiar with the story in The Thin Blue Line. In fact, I was surprised to see something this old even available on Amazon. I’m glad it was.

Will this The Thin Blue Line make people feel uncomfortable?

The crime in The Thin Blue Line is a single shooting and there are no crime scene photos or gore discussed. Any crime documentary like this has the potential to make you feel a little uncomfortable. This one is pretty tame. No boundaries are pushed. It’s a very basic documentary.

What was good about The Thin Blue Line?

If you grew up enjoying episodes of Unsolved Mysteries like a good boy or girl, this is basically one long episode profiling a single case. It has the same grainy footage of the early episodes of Unsolved Mysteries without the intense and terrifying music. For the feeling of nostalgia, The Thin Blue Line gets some bonus points in that department. I actually spent a good amount of time in 2021 watching all of the Robert Stack episodes of Unsolved Mysteries. I’m not a fan. I’m obsessed.

This documentary was very simple and didn’t try to do anything too flashy. There are simple reenactments and nothing over-the-top. It worked for what it was.

The way the filmmakers eventually led to a big reveal was brilliant in an absurd way. I won’t spoil it because it’s the itch you must see. It caught me completely off-guard.

What could have made this documentary better?

The Thin Blue Line could have used a little more spicing up. Because of when it came out, the idea of sensationalizing a true crime film might not have been kosher. This is a very by-the-book film that takes itself very seriously. It wouldn’t even laugh at its own fart if it was alone.

The title itself isn’t the greatest either. They briefly discuss the reference but the story seemed to have a lot more to do with the relationship between the two potential suspects and which one of them is lying. If Jim Carrey didn’t take it years later, maybe Liar, Liar could have been a more appropriate title. It’s only a minor gripe. Fortunately, the story was well told and kept my attention.

There is nothing “fun” about The Thin Blue Line. If it was made today, it would have been made much differently. That’s not a good or bad thing. It’s just a fact to prepare you for.

Is The Thin Blue Line worth watching?

Yes, but it might not be for everybody. I can see how some might find The Thin Blue Line incredibly boring. It’s probably not the kind of true crime documentary you want someone to start off on. People who love Unsolved Mysteries as much as I do will find this to be a sleeper favorite of theirs.

Overall Score: 7 out of 10

Seriously, the twist in this was perfectly executed and probably increases my score. It runs circles around Robert Durst in The Jinx. There was apparently a Rowan Atkinson show with the same. When he pops up on your screen, you’re watching the wrong thing.

Interested in watching The Thin Blue Line or learning more about the case? Below you will find affiliate links to the series as well as other information about this case. By using this links, I may receive a small commission of any purchase you may make.

Watch The Thin Blue Line on Amazon

If you have a series or film you want to know my opinion on, please leave a comment below. I may have already written about it. I can save you some time from watching a dud.

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