1990s Brit Com set in a small-town police station, written by Ben Elton and starring Rowan Atkinson as repressed, old-fashioned but basically decent Police Inspector Raymond Fowler. His nemesis in the series was Inspector Grim, a proto-Gene Hunt type but without the brains. The other regulars were all fellow police officers, including Raymond's longterm and long-suffering cohab girlfriend Sergeant Patricia Dawkins, elderly Constable Gladstone, junior officers Goody and Habib, and Grim's henchman Kray.The series was apparently modelled on the classic World War II-themed show Dads Army, an ambitious target to live up to. The BBC's website sums up the show as "Should've worked. Didn't."Not to be confused with the Errol Morris documentary about Dallas police and prosecutors framing a man for murder, nor The Thin Red Line.Came thirty-fourth in Britain's Best Sitcom.
Being Personal Isn't Professional: Inspector Fowler at times, in one instance pointing out that, as his girlfriend wanted his advice partly as her comanding officer and partly as her boyfriend, he will have to give her one opinion now and one at lunch, as he is not being paid to be her boyfriend.
Boldly Coming: Brought up briefly during the briefing in "Ism Ism Ism".
Breaking the Fourth Wall: The episodes of the second series started with Inspector Fowler delivering a short intro to the audience, often ending with a very strange simile.
Brotherhood of Funny Hats: Grim's group, the Todgers, whose ceremonies involve putting on a dress and kissing a dead turkey's butt.
Camp Straight: Kevin Goody, while supremely camp, is straight (and very surprised that his colleagues might have thought he was gay).
The Cape: Raymond, or at least Raymond's self-image.
This phrase is also made as short as it can be while also displaying the importance of punctuation. "Your cock-up, my arse".
Fowler misty-eyed at Christmas as a kid, reducing Patricia to giggles "Dad would bring a fat bird home and tell mother to stuff it." (Bird being British slang for 'woman')
Engineered Public Confession: Parodied when Raymond tries to record Grim's confession, but after showing the tape recorder at the end he finds out it didn't record anything, since the tape recorder required pressing record and play simultaneously to start.
Firemen Are Hot: Unfortunately for Habib, this one also fancies Constable Goody.
Freudian Slip: After the sex therapist Fowler and Patricia are seeing starts stripping — "Thank you, Constable Nipple."
Honey Trap: Grim tries pulling one by using Habib, only to have it backfire when the mark drags Habib in to be charged.
At one point, Grim is needling Raymond about his divorce and slightly distant relationship with his son, whom Raymond is worried is turning a bit wild. Grim makes a lot of hay about how he's a devoted family man who is always there for his sons. On an unrelated matter, guess who's loutish son just got arrested for disturbing the peace...? Raymond's son, incidentally, turns out to be studying to try and get into university; turns out Raymond's worries were a bit hyperactive anyway.
"Ism Ism Ism" has Grim arguing against "weird customs and funny clothes" in the police force, then turns around and tries to demonstrate his initiation ceremony for the Todgers.
Ignore the Fanservice: Patricia tries to improve her sex life with Raymond by coming to bed in a silk nightie. Unfortunately, it doesn't get his attention until she mentions how much it cost...
Ironic Echo: When Fowler finally settles the ethical dilemma that's been troubling him over the Honey Trap that Grim has set up and declares he wants no further part in the operation, Grim gloatingly replies that he'll hold Fowler to his promise that Grim will get 'full and complete credit' for the operation. Then, Habib drags the mark in, appearing to validate Grim — until the mark points out that he's seen through Habib and has in fact dragged her in as part of a citizen's arrest. Fowler decides it a good time to remind Grim that he's now taking 'full and complete credit' for the operation.
Military Alphabet: Subverted when it turns out to be requests for drinks from a pizza place. "Tango. Tango. Lilt and a Fanta."
Mistaken for Racist: When the Mayoress orders Raymond to arrest an illegal immigrant, she forgets to give him a description of what the man looks like, so he and his officers just arrest the man who opened the door. Unfortunately, he not only isn't the illegal alien, he's also black and the European Commissioner for Human Rights. Learning of the man's real identity, Raymond is horrified: "A Frenchman? In my station?!"
Oblivious Guilt Slinging: While talking about the teenager they picked up for "joy-riding" in "Night Shift", Goody rambles briefly about the trouble broken families lead to before remembering that Fowler is a divorced father.
Derek Grim and his loathing of modern "fannying about".
Fowler's an even more old-fashioned cop; he, however, is old-fashioned in the "Dixon of Dock Green" fashion.
One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Twice, both involving Goody. The first is when Fowler accidentally gets the gift of lingerie he'd meant for Habib, and the second is when he tries to decide whether or not to go to an illegal lock-in.
Only Sane Man: Although Fowler usually has his head screwed on straight enough, Habib's a lot more down-to-earth and self-aware.
Yaoi Fangirl: Poor Raymond is flabbergasted at Habib's speculation about what Holmes and Watson got up to between cases ("They chat! They smoke their pipes!"), or Biggles' desire to climb into Ginger's cockpit.