[[caption-width-right:248:WPC Ackland and PC Carver, out on their beat.]]

->''"Sierra One from Sierra Oscar"''...

Britain's longest running police drama (1983 pilot called "Woodentop", then a regular series which ran from 1984 until 2010), ''The Bill'' told the story of A-Relief, one of the regular shifts in the divisional police station of Sun Hill, located in the fictional borough of Canley, East London. The series followed both uniform and plain clothes officers -- though the storylines were usually skewed more towards the uniform branch -- as they investigated crimes around "the manor". These crimes could be anything from high-end drug deals and gun running, right down to petty shoplifting, or relatively minor domestic squabbles between neighbours.

Originally a PoliceProcedural whose strict aim was to show the dull minutiae of policing, its modus operandi was not unlike that of ''Series/HillStreetBlues''. The use of [[LeaveTheCameraRunning long single camera takes]], shooting the series on raw videotape rather than glossy film, and the ubiquitous use of SteadiCam gave viewers a genuine insight into what it must be like to work inside a real police station. The series became widely seen as a CrimeTimeSoap as the years went on, however, especially after Paul Marquess took over as Executive Producer in 2002. Marquess left the series in 2005, after which the show moved considerably back towards being a PoliceProcedural.

It began as a series of twelve DramaticHourLong teleplays in the literal sense of the word - the original pilot episode was written as a one-off televised "play for today", and there was [[BackdoorPilot no immediate intention]] of creating a series out of it. It switched to [[DramaticHalfHour half hour long]] episodes in 1988 following [[ExecutiveMeddling network pressure]], and it was in this format that it became widely known. However, in 1998 it changed back to [[DramaticHourLong hour long]] episodes again, whereafter it reformatted itself to become a TelevisionSerial. Its this kind of flexibility to change and adapt with the times that had been largely attributed to its long term success. From 1988 to 2009 it ran throughout the year with approximately 90 episodes per annum (mostly two per week, but other major TV events, i.e. football, ''Series/BritainsGotTalent'' or award shows meant that many weeks had just one), a rate of production matched in the UK only by the major soaps. This might be a large reason why it eventually came to be regarded as a soap opera, even before [[CrimeTimeSoap the more soap orientated plotlines]] started to come into effect later in its life.

For most of its life the show went out at 8pm, before the {{Watershed}} - which had affected specific on-screen content. However, in 2009 it was moved to a once-weekly 9pm slot, which meant a cut in episode numbers per year to about 50, and an increase in the amount of violence it could show on-screen. It also ditched the classic ThemeTune, added a "film effect" filter over the action (as part of a move to broadcast it in high definition for the first time), and acquired regular background incidental music, although {{Narm}}ish examples had occasionally appeared in some past episodes. The overall effect was described by some as making things feel a little too ''Series/{{CSI}}''-like.

The series had been suffering a gradual decline in its viewing figures (especially after the time-slot change), and its long-term future was seen as uncertain, especially after it was dropped from terrestrial TV in Scotland as part of a broader problem with STV, the Scottish version of Creator/{{ITV}}. Its cancellation was announced on 26 March 2010, and the show ended in September of that year. In the same year, The BBC's equivalent {{Long Runner|s}}, the sitcom ''Series/LastOfTheSummerWine'' (actually a decade older than ''The Bill'') was also announced to be ending, bringing the end of an era of British television to many (and, if you count in the end of the American {{Long Runner|s}} ''Series/LawAndOrder'', this gets global).

'''This show is notable for:'''
* Predating ''Series/TheWestWing'' in using the WalkAndTalk.
* The "plodding feet" closing sequence, used between 1984 and 1998.
* Virtually every British TV actor having appeared in it at some point, before or after reaching the big time (this list includes a pre-fame Creator/KeiraKnightley, Creator/SeanBean, Creator/JamesMcAvoy, Creator/DavidTennant, Creator/CatherineTate, and Creator/IdrisElba).
* Its stupendously high rate of major character death, especially by murder, and even more so after 2002 (31+ deaths in 23 years, including six in a fire at Sun Hill police station in 2002 and another three when a van filled with petrol plowed into the front office in 2005 -- Sun Hill is one DangerousWorkplace). See the [[Characters/TheBill Character Sheet]] for the series for a complete list of Sun Hill's fatal casualties, and the way in which they were killed off. In fact, in the show's 23 years on the air, 71 British police officers were killed in real life, making Sun Hill ridiculously dangerous by comparison.

Spawned two spin-off series: the short-lived ''Series/{{Burnside}}'' starring the popular detective character Frank Burnside, and the slightly longer-lived ''Murder Investigation Team''.

!!Frequent tropes seen in ''Series/TheBill'' include:

* AbsenteeActor: A side-effect of having LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters. Sometimes a character who you'd expect to be seeing all the time could go missing for dozens of episodes at a time before turning up again.
* TheAlcoholic: Jim Carver, beginning with the storyline where he was forced to transfer back to Uniform.
* AlliterativeName: Polly Page, George Garfield.
* AndTheAdventureContinues: The final episode ends this way, following Smithy and Callum as they leave the station, passing (amid the rest of the cast either leaving for the day or staying late at Sun Hill) Jo Masters and Leon Taylor being called to some trouble and other officers bringing some arrested drunks into the station.
* AnyoneCanDie: To the point of being a bit silly, actually; real-life British police forces don't suffer casualties like this outside of Northern Ireland at the height of UsefulNotes/TheTroubles.
%%* ArmedBlag
* ArtifactTitle: 'The Old Bill' was a common slang term for the police, especially during the 1970s and 1980s. But it's not heard so much anymore.
* BaitAndSwitchComparison: From "Confessions of a Zookeeper", courtesy of Dion Barrie, a boxer participating in a charity lock-up in the Sun Hill cells.
-->'''Dion''': If I had to choose between being trapped in a small space with a tattooed psychopath and going to prison, I'd choose the ring every time.
* BathroomStallGraffiti: One episode features someone writing a lot of rude things about Hollis in the toilets. [[spoiler:It's the cleaner, who needs the overtime.]]
* BottleEpisode: Fairly common in the early years, with a few episodes focusing on the more mundane aspects of a police station, though not so common in the later years.
* BootCampEpisode: several times, mostly involving one or two of the regular characters going back to Hendon Academy for further training (an advanced driving course, a firearms refresher course, a crowd control course, etc.).
* TheBridge: The various incarnations of Sun Hill's Computer Aided Dispatch/Integrated Borough Operations room serve the same function as this trope, complete with an equivalent to TheCaptain (the duty Sergeant), as well as various BridgeBunnies (of either gender) using headsets to answer emergency calls and to direct the officers who are out and about on the beat to go to the scene of a crime. [[BottleEpisode One episode from the early 1990s even took place entirely within the confines of the C.A.D. room]], with all the "action" taking place entirely off-screen (or heard over the radio system). It was much better than it sounds.
%%* BunnyEarsLawyer: Eddie the crime scene examiner.
* BuryYourGays: Most of the gay regulars left via death or serious injury, in particular Lance Powell and Juliet Becker. DC Jo Masters survived by not being prominently lesbian. On the other hand, many of the ''straight'' regulars left via death or serious injury as well.
* TheBusCameBack: Quite a few characters returned for guest appearances after leaving the show, among them Charles Brownlow, Don Beech, Ted Roach, Steve Loxton and George Garfield. For a while Burnside was CommutingOnABus. In a rarer example, Luke Ashton returned after an absence of several years and became a regular character again.
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: Good guys example, they deal with too many people to remember everyone they checked was alright after a robbery. Most of those people remember it a lot better.
* ByTheBookCop: In early episodes the characters were largely defined by their attitudes to the 1984 PACE act. Inspector Conway and DS Greig were notable adherents to the guidelines.
* CarMeetsHouse: In the 1986 episode "The Chief Super's Party". DS Ted Roach was behind the wheel (and under the influence).
* CharacterDevelopment: And a lot of it too. It's very easy to forget that when Inspector Dale Smith was first introduced in 1999, 'PC' Dale Smith was portrayed as being a bigot and a bully, who was brought into the show mainly to shake up the existing cast dynamic. He eventually left to join (as it was called then) [=SO19=], the Armed Response dudes of the Met, and managed to end Bob Cryer's career by an unfortunate gunshot. When he returned as a regular character in 2003, Sergeant Dale Smith was generally shown to be a very moral and sympathetic character, and certainly by the time it was axed in 2010 he had more or less become the de facto "star" of the series.
* ChaseScene: Given its supposed depiction of "genuine police work", the series often ''avoids'' doing over-the-top car chases, with officers often stopping a chase if things look dangerous. However, one notable episode from 1994 titled "Instant Response" is, effectively, a car chase which lasts for ''an entire episode'', shown mainly in one-take scenes shot from the back seat of the police vehicle. That said, ''foot chases'' are ubiquitous in this show, as in OncePerEpisode. Officer will walk towards suspect, who will then try to leg it, with varying results.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Even some prominent characters like DI Galloway vanished without an exit story or any explanation of what had happened to them.
* TheCityNarrows: The (fictional) setting of the series is based on London's poorest borough. How much the episode in question portrays this on screen [[DependingOnTheWriter Depends on the writer]], to the extent where Sun Hill can be relatively middle class at times; and nothing short of a lawless WretchedHive at others. Intentionally [[AccidentallyCorrectWriting or otherwise]], this is perfectly realistic for London; a thoroughly insalubrious-looking CouncilEstate and a row of ruinously expensive townhouses can be separated by less than half a mile.
* {{Cliffhanger}}: [[OncePerEpisode At the end of every single episode]] broadcast between 2002 and 2007, the period in its history when [[CrimeTimeSoap it was very heavily serialised]].
* ClumsyCopyrightCensorship: Sadly, the Region 2 (UK) DVD releases of older episodes appear to suffer from this. The episode "Snout", for example, originally opened with DI Burnside listening to ''Every Breath You Take'' by Music/ThePolice, on his car radio while driving to work. He even sings along (badly) to the chorus of the song. Both the licensed song, and the overlay of Burnside's singing it, are missing on the Region 2 DVD, redubbed with a cover version of same.
* CodeName: All uniform officers have a radio call sign beginning "Sierra Oscar" followed by the number on their epaulettes, except for the Inspector (who is Sierra Oscar One) and the Superintendent (Sierra Oscar Five-Two).
* CommutingOnABus: DC Lennox transferred to MIT partway through 2002, but continued appearing at Sun Hill until early the following year, thanks to the serial killer investigation.
* CompilationMovie: The earliest commercial releases of the half-hour episodes on VHS videotape were almost exclusively made up of compilations of two or three episodes edited into a single "movie". Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.
* CrimeTimeSoap: For much of the Paul Marquess era.
* CrossOver: For the 25th anniversary, the show did a crossover with German cop show ''SOKO Leipzig''.
* DaChief: Several characters have this role. [[strike:DCI]] Superintendent Jack Meadows and DI Manson in particular.
* DangerousWorkplace: One non-fiction work dryly commented that "Sun Hill has a hearse permanently parked in the station carpark", due to the high instances of character deaths in the CrimeTimeSoap era.
* DeadpanSnarker:
** Jo Masters.
** The legendary DCI Frank Burnside was the ''original'' deadpan snarker in the series. Just look at the quotes [[http://www.burnsidefiles.com/statements.html on this fansite]] to see what I mean.
---> '''DCI Burnside''': Charge her with being in possession of an offensive mouth.
* DeathFakedForYou: [[spoiler:Don Beech]] does it in ''Beech On The Run''.
* DeskJockey: The entire purpose of the various Superintendents and Chief Inspectors seen in the series. Only seldom do they leave the office and "get involved" in cases, and usually a big fuss is made out of it when they do. The decision to kill off the character of Chief Inspector Conway after 14 years was made when a new producer came in and decided that Conway didn't really have a dramatic function to play in the series... his role was ''too'' desk bound.
* DevilInPlainSight: Matt Hinckley, Emma Keane's ex. Will Fletcher was the OnlySaneMan to spot him.
* DirtyCop: Don Beech took bribes, planted evidence, deliberately botched investigations and eventually killed John Boulton in a fight.
* DirtyHarriet: Not counting Cathy Bradford, some of the females spend a suspicious amount of time pretending to be streetwalkers for surveillance reasons.
* DownerEnding: A particular trope that the series used to be fond of back when it started. The key thing was to show that the police ''don't'' always win, and more often than not an episode would end with two officers drowning their sorrows in the local pub, after a case they've been working on has gone belly-up. Later seasons still kept downer endings in play for certain storylines, but usually opted for slightly more uplifting {{bittersweet ending}}s instead.
* EmbarrassingMiddleName: Emma Winifred Keane, Reginald Percival Hollis.
* FakeDefector: DC Zain Nadir had a long story arc posing as a DirtyCop to infiltrate a criminal organisation, before BecomingTheMask out of love for one of its leaders, Kristen Shaw. But after her involvement with the death of PC Honey Harman, his conscience caught up with him and he hesitated on escaping with Kristen long enough for them to get caught.
* FakingTheDead: Des Taviner pulled this when he was about to be exposed for his role in the 2002 Sun Hill Fire, before being caught in early 2004.
* FairCop: A good portion of the cast, but especially Louisa Lytton, who was about 18 and looked closer to 15. Somewhat ironically, one of things which was originally lauded about the series by the critics was that it didn't cast "good looking actors" as the cops.
* FlashBack: generally averted until the 2009 retool.
* FootballHooligans: Most recently in the episode "Great Power".
* FunWithAcronyms: As a prank, Tony tells PC Luke Ashton that a visiting inspector is from the "'''A'''rea '''R'''ecruitment/'''S'''econdment '''E'''xercise," which checks up on probationers like himself, and encourages him to ask about it.
* GentleGiant: Eddie the crime scene examiner.
* GeographicFlexibility: It's not unknown for two scenes showing the area car racing through the streets to be filmed in two entirely different locations, miles from each other, but edited together in a way which clearly implies them as being right next to each other.
%%* GenreShift
* GhostExtras: A particularly conspicuous offender (see trope page).
%%* GirlsBehindBars
* GivingThemTheStrip: In "Someone Personal", Tony Stamp attempts to grab a burglar who is disappearing over a wall and ends up holding the offender's trousers.
* TheGreatBritishCopperCapture: Frequently played straight.
* HalloweenEpisode: "Haunted". Stanton, Lennox and Proctor are doing an obbo at a [[AbandonedWarehouse creepy abandoned pumping station]]. Nothing much is happening, so they start sharing ghost stories.
* HelloAgainOfficer: In the episode "Killer On The Run", the episode begins this way.
* TheInfiltration: DS Claire Stanton, a CIB officer who goes undercover at Sun Hill to expose corruption.
* {{Jerkass}}: Supt. Tom Chandler, PC Gabriel Kent, PCSO Colin Fairfax, PC Cathy Bradford and Insp. Brian Kite (to name a few).
%%* JitterCam
* KarmaHoudini:
** Sgt. Callum Stone. The only crime he was punished for was beating an innocent man who turned out to be having an epileptic fit, and even then he was only temporarily suspended. Same goes for his partners in crime Smithy, Sally and Ben.
** Zigzagged with DS Don Beech. After killing Boulton he successfully fled to Australia, but was eventually apprehended by Stanton and sent to prison. However, he later escaped and wasn't heard from again.
* TheLabRat: Eddie the crime scene examiner.
* LeaveTheCameraRunning: Not so much these days, but in its earliest incarnation the series used cuts and inserts very sparingly indeed, and it wasn't uncommon for a single scene to last for upwards of three or four minutes without any kind of cutaway or edit.
* LetterboxArson:
** In "Initative", Garfield and Young investigate when fireworks are shoved through a woman's letterbox.
** In "Fire", an attempt is made on June Ackland's life by pouring petrol through her letterbox and lighting it.
* LipstickLesbian: [[{{Gainaxing}} "Bouncy Bouncy"]] Jo Masters.
* LiveEpisode: "Fatal Consequences" in 2003 (featuring the murder of Juliet Becker) and "The Anniversary Part 2" in 2005 (featuring a hostage situation at the station).
* LivingProp: A lot of the background extras at the police station, who mostly exist to maintain a credibility to the setting (you will always see the same faces in every episode, even if they are only in the background). The production team even coined a phrase to describe these background actors: "TREV", which stands for 'Truly Reliable Extra Veteran'. Occasionally, a TREV would even be given a line of dialogue in an episode, allowing them to be the SpearCarrier for a day. They got a lot of airtime in the episode "A Night To Forget", when most of A-Relief were off-duty at Dave's stag night and Jenny's hen night. One of the most notable [=TREVs=] was Karen England, who "played" the female set of feet in the iconic title sequence from 1984 onwards, and who was still being seen in the background of episodes as late as 2000.
* LondonGangster: Long-running crime drama set in London? Masses and masses of them. The 1995 episode including actor Ray Winstone is a classic example.
* LongRunnerCastTurnover: Apart from a few exceptions, the original cast from 1984 managed (in one form or another) to survive nearly intact for a whole nine years, after which the departure of Jon Iiles as DC Mike Dashwood seemed to open the floodgates, and a raft of departures followed. That being said, at least a third of the original 1984 cast were still in the show as of the year 2000. A massive cast clear-out at that time removed some of them (notably Peter Ellis as the Chief Super Brownlow), while others followed in quick succession (Eric Richard as Bob Cryer, Mark Wingett as Jim Carver, Trudie Goodwin as Sergeant Ackland). Jeff Stewart, as PC Reg Hollis ended up being the last original cast member in the show, and he left in unfortunate circumstances in 2008.
%%* MadBomber
* MoodWhiplash: Episode 070 in late 2002 cuts back and forth between a Christmas party and talent contest called "Cop Idol", a subplot involving Nick Klein trying to get leverage on DS Phil Hunter (who had a hold on him because of his drug problem), a fairly light case for Tony Stamp and Gary Best, and Cass Rickman being abducted and tormented by the [[http://thebill.wikia.com/wiki/The_Canley_River_Murders Canley River Murderer]]. The following episode continues this by cutting between a comic relief case involving a couple feuding over their pets, and Nick desperately searching for Cass, eventually finding her body.
* MyFriendsAndZoidberg: In the wake of the 2005 Sun Hill Fire, Inspector Gold asks the team to raise their glasses to the victims, "Ken and Marilyn. Good colleagues, and good friends. And Andrea as well." For context, PC Andrea Dunbar had been recently exposed as an undercover journalist.
* MyLocal: The Canley Arms.
* NoCommunitiesWereHarmed: The first three seasons very explicitly took place in Tower Hamlets, and were actually filmed in and around those real-life locations. Industrial disputes at a nearby printing plant in 1986 led to the crew having to move to a location in North London instead, and Sun Hill was then rechristened as being in a fictional borough called 'Canley', where it has remained ever since.
* NotListeningToMeAreYou: In "Section F", when Meadows is distracted by the promotion he's going for, DI Deakin gets his attention by telling him that Jim Carver loves wearing women's clothing.
* {{Novelization}}: 6 compilation volumes of the TV scripts were written between 1984 and 1990, by author John Burke.
* ObliviousMockery: "Chinese Whispers" opens with PC Norika Datta struggling with her car in a parking lot and being helped by an old man, who goes off to buy the part she needs, and she reimburses him when he returns. When she gets to the station, Sgt Penny is briefing the relief about a conman who's been going around sabotaging cars and then "helping" the drivers in exchange for being "reimbursed". Datta immediately makes the connection and then has to listen to PC George Garfield laughing about how stupid someone would have to be to fall for that.
* OfficeRomance: Claire Stanton and John Boulton, Jim Carver and June Ackland, Tom Chandler and Kate Spears.
* OldFashionedCopper: Sergeant Bob Cryer was the ''Series/DixonOfDockGreen'' type. DI Frank Burnside was the other kind.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Although it was once established that his given name was actually Alfred, DC Lines was usually referred to on-screen only by his nick-name, "Tosh".
* OnTheNext: Became a regular part of the format (as in OncePerEpisode) in 1998. The 2009 revamp kept the end-of-episode trailer for "next week".
* OopNorth: Most notably in the episode "Cast No Shadow", set almost entirely in Manchester and its surrounds. Likewise, the two-part story "Thug On The Tyne" took place entirely in Newcastle.
* ThePlan: Frequently employed by senior officers, particularly Sgt Smith & Gina Gold.
* PlatonicProstitution: One episode revealed that Reg Hollis visits one, but only for someone to talk to (he pays her anyway).
%%* PoliceProcedural
* PoorCommunicationKills: DS Sam Nixon goes behind DC Jo Masters' back to talk to Seth Mercer, a supergrass who immediately figures out that she's a cop as well and gets furious with Jo for, however indirectly, compromising his identity (Sam only found out how to contact him through DC Best). Jo blows up at Sam for ruining her relationship with her informant, but Sam argues that Jo should have just told her upfront why Seth wouldn't trust anyone else.
* PreviouslyOn: Became a regular part of the format in 1998, approaching OnceAnEpisode by 2002. The 2009 revamp stopped doing recaps of previous episodes.
* PutOnABus: Frequently. It was quite common in the old days for a character to simply vanish without even getting a departure storyline - the producers of the show apparently even had their own phrase for this: "they went to the stationary cupboard and didn't come back".
* RankUp: Happened to multiple characters over the course of the show, usually from PC to DC or PC to Sergeant. Occasionally inverted with sergeants or inspectors being demoted. Dale Smith went all the way from PC to Inspector.
* RearrangeTheSong: Many times over the course of 27 years. In 2009 it was finally decided to ''replace'' it with a completely different piece of music, rather than once again rearranging the one which had served it so well in its first 25 seasons. [[spoiler: In the final episode, a new version of the old theme music, that was similar in tone and style to the new 2009 music played over the credits.]]
* RecycledTitle: Several times. There were two different episodes titled "Whose Side Are You On?" for example, broadcast nearly a decade apart from each other, each with an entirely different plot to the other. A complete list can be found [[http://thebill.wikia.com/wiki/Episodes_with_the_Same_Title here]].
* RequiredSpinoffCrossover: The first episode of the 2003 SpinOff series ''Murder Investigation Team'' followed the titular team while investigating the murder of Sgt Matt Boyden, which occurred in the immediately preceding episode of ''The Bill'' two nights earlier. In addition to Boyden himself, the episode included requisite cameos from six of the then regular members of the parent series' cast (Gina Gold, Sam Nixon, Nick Klein, Ruby Buxton, and uncredited cameos from Gary Best and Honey Harman) as well as a few guest characters as suspects, and also the use of the regular Sun Hill police station sets and locations.
* {{Retool}}: Many times over the course of its [[LongRunners long lifespan]], including its switch to half-hour episodes in 1988, its switch back to 50 minutes episodes with occasional multi-parters in 1998 and its switch to full-on serialization in 2002. The most recent retool was in 2009, beginning with the episode "Live By The Sword".
* RevolvingDoorCasting: It has been revealed by one of the actors that they are only ever given six-month contracts at any one time before having those contracts renewed, so (in theory) major cast turnarounds could happen as regularly as half way through each broadcast year.
* RightBehindMe: When DC Rod Skase talks to Inspector Monroe about using PC Debbie Keane in an undercover sting, he rejects his suggestion of June Ackland by saying that he needs someone who can appear young, attractive and naive and that June is no spring chicken. Monroe then looks over Rod's shoulder and asks June if he can help her with anything.
* RousingSpeech: [[spoiler: At the end of the final episode, Superintendent Meadows gives one about respect to the press, as a TakeThat to the thugs and the warped gang culture and mentality they faced during the final story. And some would argue, as a TakeThat from the production team to ITV...]] "Rousing speech" is given an ironic double meaning here, when you consider that the actor who played Supt Meadows was... [[MeaningfulName Simon Rouse]].
* RunForTheBorder: In this case, usually London City Airport or the Eurostar Terminal.
%%* ScaryMinoritySuspect
* SerialEscalation: After the production team retooled the series to ''become'' an ongoing serial from 2002 onwards, some of the storylines became exercises in this.
* SerialKiller: A few of these cases, two of which led to the murders of main characters: Pat Kitson (killed six women, including PC Cass Rickman, who she saw as [[BrotherSisterIncest rivals for her brother's affections]]) and John Lord and Michael Keanan (targeted gay men, including PC Lance Powell.) Also serial rapists, such as DS Nixon's nemesis Alan Kennedy.
%%* {{Spoiler}}
* ShownTheirWork: A lot of the earlier episodes are particularly realistic about the day-to-day minutiae of police work. One episode in particular (featuring little-remembered DS Alistair Greig interrogating a local hard case) was so accurate about technique that it was used to teach police cadets how to question suspects effectively.
* SlapSlapKiss: Episode 324 ends with Smithy and Louise Larson having a heated argument over her refusal to sign a witness statement about her carjacking earlier that day when she suddenly kisses him and, after a moment, he kisses back.
* SophisticatedAsHell: Chief Inspector Cato's resignation letter was full of formally worded concerns about the future of the force, ending with "I therefore feel I have no choice but to submit my resignation, I trust that you will know where to stick it."
* SpinOff: The short-lived ''Series/{{Burnside}}'', and the slightly-longer-lived ''MIT: Murder Investigation Team''. Whether ''Beech Is Back'' counts as a spinoff or simply as a slightly differently packaged set of regular episodes is up for debate.
* SpiritualSuccessor: The series was very much a spiritual successor of ''Series/TheSweeney'' (it shared production personnel with it in the early days). And of ''Series/ZCars'' and ''Series/DixonOfDockGreen'', to a lesser extent.
* TeamDad: Sgt. Bob Cryer to the uniform branch; DCI Jack Meadows to the CID branch. Meadows became something of one to both sides after his promotion to Superintendent.
* TeamMom: PC/Sgt. June Ackland. In the episode "A Good Night Out", some of the characters debate whether she is more of a mother or a big sister figure to the team. Upon first meeting June, Insp. Gina Gold remarks on her established reputation as "Auntie June", "good ol' June" and "Saint June".
* TelevisionGeography: Play spot the Southwark street with this show. Or, if you know UsefulNotes/NationalRail, spot the out-of-place train. Or, a scene clearly filmed south of the Thames.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Plenty of instances throughout the series. One unexpected example occurs when June Ackland, [[OOCIsSeriousBusiness of all people]], is the first to tell Inspector Andrew Monroe exactly what the relief thinks of him:
--> '''June Ackland''': Since you took over this relief, you've established yourself as a petty-minded, rule-bound little Hitler with all the warmth and humour of a rusted up Dalek!
** In "Section F", Conway lets loose on Brownlow after he blocks his latest attempt at promotion. "I was never good enough for you, was I? Wrong attitude, wrong image, wrong face. Well I'm sorry if I've got the wrong face, but at least I've only got one of them."
* TitleDrop: a regular trope of the earliest episodes was that the episode title ''always'' popped up somewhere in the dialogue of that particular episode.
* {{Transplant}}: Detective Constable Eva Sharpe was moved over to the SpinOff series ''Murder Investigation Team'' during that programme's second (and, as it turned out, [[BritishBrevity final]]) series.
* TrashTheSet: At least twice, but not always when the location had to be moved.
* UndercoverCopReveal: DC Zain Nadir was first introduced as a drug dealer going by the name Adi Mateen, only later revealing he was undercover to save Lance Powell from being killed.
* WalkAndTalk:
** Arguably an early pioneer, certainly as far as UK television is concerned.
** The final shot of the show was one long walk through the station, with various characters popping in and out.
* WelcomeEpisode: The 1983 pilot episode takes this format, introducing Jim Carver to Sun Hill and policework in general.
* WhatTheHellHero: Pretty much any officer of Sergeant or higher rank will be required to dish these out. [[https://youtu.be/W2XZTkfaX_M?t=3m37s A particularly glorious one comes from Meadows to DS Singh]], after the latter gets into a bar fight with a racist extremist named Jeff Simpson, leading to inflamed racial tensions in the area, then keeps quiet about it even after multiple police officers had been attacked and Chief Inspector Conway murdered by a petrol bomb.
-->'''Meadows''': You know, whatever your colour, whatever your grievance, you let me down, you let your teammates down, you let the public down, you let Mr. Conway down. But you know the worst thing you did? You were weak enough to take a bit of dirt like Simpson seriously! And so far you've let him win! Do you know how far you have to carry that with you?
* {{Whitehall}}: In the 1984 episode "The Drug's Raid", Whitehall intervenes [[spoiler: when the main suspect turns out to have diplomatic immunity]], much to Detective Inspector Galloway's disgust.
%%* TheYardies
* YouDoNotHaveToSayAnything:
** ''"... but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say can (and probably will) be taken down and used in evidence."''
** The CID branch usually preferred the more concise ''"[[StockBritishPhrases You're nicked, you slag!]]"''
%%* YouLookFamiliar
* YouOweMe: DCI Meadows calls in a favour from someone at Scotland Yard to save himself from the cull of CID after the Don Beech scandal.
%%* YouTalkinToMe

!!Tropes that ''The Bill'' averts:
* BritishBrevity: It clocked up more than 2400 episodes during its 27 year run.
* DoublingForLondon: In 27 years, it continued to film in the capital, even after other London-set series had moved production to other (cheaper) places.
* HotScientist: Completely averted with Eddie, who is obese (and happily so).
* LimitedAdvancementOpportunities: [[RankUp Averted]] very much. Several characters have moved up from PC to Sergeant over the years, with Dale Smith moving from PC all the way up to Inspector as of 2009.
** Superintendent Jack Meadows was actually introduced as a Detective Superintendent way back in 1990, and was only subsequently demoted back to Detective Chief Inspector (on grounds of "lack of supervision" of a corrupt officer under his command). He had made several unsuccessful attempts to regain promotion over the years, before finally being re-promoted back to Superintendent in 2009 (albeit in the uniform branch, rather than the CID).
** It was played straight once or twice. Sergeant Cryer turned down promotion. His short tenure as a plain clothes officer ended with him deciding it wasn't where he wanted his career to go, and opting to go back to his old job in uniform where he felt more comfortable. Similarly, PC Tony Stamp remained a PC for his entire 26-year time on the series by choice, deliberately ''refusing'' any attempts to promote him because he ''preferred'' being near the sharp end of policing. Jim Carver was never recommended for promotion in his first 12 years in CID so, thanks to the tenure policy, had to return to being a uniformed constable. Finally averted later on when he returned to Sun Hill having had an off-screen promotion to DS.
* NecroCam: Completely averted, even with denouements.
* OneSteveLimit: In a rare example of this trope being averted, between 1988 and 1989, there were actually two characters named Anthony: PC Tony "Yorkie" Smith, and PC Tony Stamp.
* ThreeWallSet: Consciously averted. The producers converted a building into a complete mock-up police station, which allows plenty of opportunity for one-take WalkAndTalk scenes. Following the show's conclusion, the set (along with the other standing sets for the show) remains intact and available for hire in what is now Wimbledon Studios.
* TheWarOnTerror: The two plots involving terrorism post-2001 turned out to be, respectively, a Far Right attempt to stir up racial hatred and a MadBomber.