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Series / The Thin Blue Line

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The main cast from Series Two. Top row (left to right): Goody, Boyle, Habib, Gladstone. Bottom row (left to right): Grim, Fowler, Dawkins.
"They're so predictable. There's always the two officers. They don't get on, then they do get on. One of them's fat and gruff, the other one's thin and posh. One's a sad old drunk, the other one's a health fanatic. One of them's a woman, the other one's a Martian. One of them has four heads, the other one's allergic to heads."
Inspector Fowler, on TV police shows

A 1995–96 BBC One sitcom set in a small-town police station, created by longtime Blackadder co-writer Ben Elton and featuring that show's star, Rowan Atkinson.

Atkinson plays the old-fashioned, repressed, but basically decent Police Inspector Raymond Fowler. His nemesis in the series was Detective Inspector Derek Grim (David Haig), a proto-Gene Hunt type but without the brains. The other regulars were all fellow police officers, including Fowler's long-term and long-suffering cohab girlfriend, Sergeant Patricia Dawkins (Serena Evans); elderly Constable Frank Gladstone (Rudolph Walker); junior constables Kevin Goody (James Dreyfus) and Maggie Habib (Mina Anwar); and Grim's henchman, Detective Constable Robert Kray (Kevin Allen), who was replaced in Series Two by Detective Constable Gary Boyle (Mark Addy).

The series was apparently modelled on the classic World War II-themed show Dad's Army, an ambitious target to live up to even without the inevitable Blackadder comparisons. The BBC's website sums up the show thusly: "Should've worked. Didn't."

Not to be confused with the Errol Morris documentary, nor The Thin Red Line.

Came thirty-fourth in Britains Best Sitcom.

The Thin Blue Line provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Raymond calls Patricia "cabbage".note 
  • Against My Religion: In "Fire and Terror", a drunk stumbles into the station and gets sick in Fowler's hat. Fowler absentmindedly puts it on to meet a representative from Special Branch. When his superior asks why Fowler isn't taking his hat off in respect, he claims to be a Sikh who is forbidden to bare his head.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game:
    • Inverted in "Fire and Terror" when a serial hoaxer comes in and briefly convinces all the other cops he's armed with a gun; Fowler, who knows full well he's just a pest, walks right up to him, 'disarms' himnote  and tells him to get lost.
    • In "Rag Week", Fowler confronts and talks down a group of dangerous bank robbers, while under the impression they were students playing a prank.
    • Inverted in "Fly on the Wall" — after Fowler talks down the old man with the gun, it turns out that he was going to turn it in to the weapons amnesty program and possibly get on television.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: In "Rag Week", Fowler is queueing up at the bank (behind an arcade manager who is depositing a huge number of coins) and is joined by Goody, who asks, "Visiting the bank?" A fed up Fowler snarks, "Oh, thank you for pointing that out, Constable Goody; I was about to ask for two tickets to Lawrence of Arabia."
  • Away in a Manger: In "Yuletide Spirit", a travelling hippie couple arrive in the station on Christmas Eve. Naturally, the woman is heavily pregnant and goes into labour.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: In "Kids Today", a baby is abandoned outside the police station. Patrica takes care of the baby, and clearly enjoys doing so; and although she denies it, she later wants a baby, to Raymond's disapproval.
  • Baby Fever Trigger: In "Kids Today", Kray says that all women have baby fever when they turn thirty. Habib asks Patricia is she wants a baby; Patricia replies that she could take it or leave it. Later, she briefly cares for a baby which is abandoned outside their police station; baby fever descends, and she buys a pair of baby socks on a whim, to persuade her partner Fowler to become a parent. When he flatly refuses, she hits him over the head with a large frozen fish.
    Patricia: You have to remember the restrictions babies bring: sleepless nights, sick all over everything, fat little cheeks you just want to gobble up. (In a lighter voice) Smiles. Laughs. I could take it or leave it.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": In "Yuletide Spirit", Grim successfully auditions for the part of Captain Hook in the Gasforth Amateur Drama Society's Christmas pantomime, despite his disparagement of theatre when Fowler is pinning up an advertisement for auditions. The few times we see him rehearse his lines, he is comically terrible, with a delivery that ping-pongs back and forth between No Indoor Voice shouting and over the top camp, sometimes in the same sentence. Since David Haig, who plays Grim, is an Olivier Award-winning stage actor, this falls squarely under Stylistic Suck.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: In the camping trip on "Kids Today", Gladstone sounds as if he is going to reminisce about old ways of making fire.
    Gladstone: When I was a boy scout back in Trinidad, they taught us how to light a fire using a stick, and a piece of string. (Beat) I could never understand why, because I found it a lot easier to use matches.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: When Grim and Boyle attend an illegal pub lock-in, they try the "old copper's trick" of escaping through the bathroom window, when the police arrive. Unfortunately for them, they find Inspector Fowler sitting inside the toilet stall, who says "the problem with old copper's tricks is that old coppers know 'em".
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: When Grim overhears Fowler lamenting the seediness of the title operation to catch Terry the Tank in "Honey Trap", he tries to call Fowler out on his hypocrisy by noting that he'll still take half the credit for the arrest, but Fowler no longer wants anything to do with it and tells Grim that CID can have full credit. Grim is delighted, doubly so when Terry shows up handcuffed to Habib. Unfortunately for Grim, Terry saw the entrapment operation for what it was, and he has performed a citizen's arrest on Habib and is planning to lodge a very serious complaint.
    Fowler: [smirking] Well, Inspector Grim... I believe you were anxious to take full and complete credit for this operation. Now's your chance.
  • Being Personal Isn't Professional: Inspector Fowler at times, in one instance pointing out that, as Dawkins wanted his advice partly as her commanding 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.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In "Kids Today", Goody actually punches a skinhead for insulting Habib.
  • Boldly Coming: Brought up briefly during the briefing in "Ism Ism Ism".
  • Breakfast in Bed: Patricia tries to give Raymond breakfast in bed during "The Queen's Birthday Present", but she isn't a very good cook unfortunately.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The episodes of the second series started with Inspector Fowler delivering a short intro to the audience (parodying the same technique being used by Dixon of Dock Green), often ending with a very strange simile. For example, in "The Green Eyed Monster", he has this to say about taking things or people for granted:
    Fowler: [sets down his pen and looks at the camera] Good evening, everybody. Take things for granted, and they will be taken from you. Anybody who has ever left a packet of chocolate Hob-nobs unguarded will vouch for the truth in that statement. So often, the things we love the most, we care for the least. Even love itself, as we shall see, is like a regular intake of dietary fibre. Easy to ignore, but just try functioning properly without it.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In "Kids Today", Goody punches a racist teenager, who then breaks down and sobs, saying he wants his mummy. Later, the boy's mother turns up to press charges, and ends up hitting him over the head herself when he refuses to cooperate, bringing on the same reaction as before.
    • When Patricia suspects Raymond of fancying the Mayoress in "Court in the Act":
      Patricia: (in Tranquil Fury) I'd advise you not to take off your bicycle helmet tonight.
      Patricia: (sweetly) Take off your bicycle helmet. (Picks up rolling pin)
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats: Parodied with Grim's group, "The Todgers", an exaggerated expy of Freemasonry with rituals that involve wearing a dress and kissing a frozen turkey's bottom.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Fowler, to an almost absurd degree. He regards even the slightest deviation from police regulations with absolute horror.
  • Camp Straight: Constable Kevin Goody exhibits all the mannerisms of a Camp Gay (his actor, James Dreyfus, fits this trope in Real Life) but is actually a Dogged Nice Guy to WPC Habib, whom he hits on in every episode (and is very surprised that his colleagues might have thought he was gay).
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Not only does Grim not find anyone else's ideas of humour remotely funny, he can't tell jokes of his own without getting them wrong. In "Rag Week", he tries telling the joke about a man walking into a bar and saying "Ouch!" as it was an iron bar, but he messes up the punchline by saying it was a public bar.
    Fowler: Yes, well, they say it's the way you tell 'em...
  • The Cape: Raymond, or at least Raymond's self-image.
  • Captain Morgan Pose: Adopted by Brigadier Blaster Sump in "Kids Today", much to his audience's horror as he's wearing a kilt.
  • Cat Up a Tree: In "Fire and Terror", just as Fowler is trying to persuade Grim that uniformed police officer work is just as important as detective work, Gladstone gets a phone call...
    Gladstone: [in trademark monotone] Gasforth police station... Oh dear. Well, have you tried calling the kitten's name? [Fowler looks chagrined at being Instantly Proven Wrong] Well, how about shaking the branch?... Well, how about putting a saucer of milk at the bottom of the tree?
  • Chain of Corrections: During a discussion of the title object in "The Queen's Birthday Present":
    Goody: I don't want to buy the queen a present, sir, she's an antichrist.
    Fowler: I beg your pardon!?
    Goody: Oh, no, I mean anarchist. No, no, what's that name for someone who is out of date and does not matter anymore?
    Habib: I think you mean an anachronism.
    Goody: Yes, that's right, the Queen is an anachronism.
    Gladstone: I though that was someone who was scared of spiders.
    Fowler: No, no that is an arachnophobic.
    Gladstone: I thought that was someone who was scared of wide open spaces.
    Habib: No, that's agoraphobics, they can't handle going outside. Arachnophobics hate spiders.
    Fowler: Look, we're talking about the Queen.
    Goody: Is the Queen scared of spiders?
    Gladstone: Well I wouldn't have thought so, but it is starting to look that way.
    Goody: Perhaps that is why she is scared to go outside, sir.
  • Christmas Episode: "Yuletide Spirit" is set on Christmas Eve. Grim has been cast as Captain Hook in the Gasforth Amateur Drama Society's Christmas pantomime (with Fowler as his understudy), Grim and Kray are trying to collar a gang of thieves who pose as carol singers, Goody's gifts for Habib (sexy lingerie) and Fowler (a puncture repair kit for his bicycle) get mixed up and Dawkins assumes the gift is for her (and heartily approves), and a homeless hippie goes into labour when she and her boyfriend show up at the station to protest the impoundment of their van.
  • Construction Catcalls: Used in "Come on You Blues", where the woman is Sergeant Patricia Dawkins and winds up getting so irritated she arrests the lot of them for harassment.note 
  • Comedic Work, Serious Scene: The episode "Kids Today" from the first series has two serious moments, when Fowler is very grave indeed, and nobody else is laughing: when Fowler speaks to Goody about punching a handcuffed teenager, and later when Fowler addresses the teenagers on the camping trip about abandoning a baby.
  • Comic Role Play: This happens several times.
    • In "Honey Trap", Grim thinks that Habib is not being seductive enough when trying to make Terry the Tank confess, so he demonstrates, saying everyone will have to imagine the skirt, and speaks in a silly voice. Disgusted, Raymond says "Are we trying to make him confess, or throw up?"
    • In "Court in the Act", Raymond role plays a defence barrister, complete with a mop on his head for a wig, and yells ruthlessly at Goody, who weeps because Raymond is being so mean. Habib in Gladstone join in as the prosecution barrister and the judge: Habib with a tea cosy on her head, and Gladstone with packing material on his head. When Raymond tries to tell him what to do, Gladstone replies "Who is the judge here?".
    • In "Ism ism ism", Raymond pretends to be an alien from outer space, telling his team to imagine the alien features. He makes alien noises, interspersed with English.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: In "Night Shift" in the first series, a young man Darren uses double negatives when speaking to Raymond. The second time he does this, Raymond ignores the double negative.
    Darren: I weren't up to nothing.
    Raymond: In which case, you must have been up to something. The English language serves you better when you use it properly.
    Darren: You ain't got no right to search me.
    Raymond: Now, there you are wrong. I have every right to search you.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Patricia seems incapable of cooking anything properly, and the best that Raymond can say about her food is that it is "intriguing". In "Fire and Terror", Raymond compliments her on a lamb dish that she says was supposed to be chicken chasseur, while "Yuletide Spirit" opens with Raymond congratulating Patricia on a dish of œufs à la mayonnaise... with no eggs (she broke them all) and no mayonnaise (it had curdled), leaving what he calls the best plate of "à la" he's ever had.
  • Covering Up Your Gray: In "Fly on the Wall", when a documentary is being filmed in the police station, Inspector Fowler has berated everybody for doing themselves up for television. However, Patricia discovers that he has bought a product called "Grey Away". Moments before the cameras appear, he accidentally puts it on his teeth, turning them black.
  • Cowboy Cop: Played for laughs; Inspector Grim wants to be this trope so bad, but it's not helped by either the fact that he works in a fairly quiet small town rather than the gritty streets of London or the fact that he's not particularly competent.
  • Creator Cameo: Ben Elton appeared in the Christmas Special "Yuletide Spirit". In the first series the "WANTED" poster behind Fowler's desk in the briefing room is an E-FIT of Elton.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover: In "Ism Ism Ism", Inspector Fowler, chief of a British Police station, attempts to teach his men the importance or political correctness, and at one point utters, "That would be the pot calling the kettle... errr, African-American." Almost certainly intentional, to show how over the top he is being. "Black" isn't even considered offensive in the UK when applied to people of African descent, isn't offensive anywhere when used as a purely descriptive adjective to describe the colour of an object, and the correct term if he was being really careful would be "Afro-Caribbean" (since fallen out of use because most British black people now either think of themselves as completely British or skipped the "Caribbean" part).
  • Curse Cut Short: In "Rag Week", when Grim reveals the contents of a demand for autonomy from the "St Neduts of Egelloc". Grim is convinced the name is Celtic, but when Habib suggests it sounds Anglo-Saxon, Grim patronisingly says that she has a "good little brain" and they might make a detective of her yet. Fowler cuts off her inevitably acerbic reply before she gets them all in trouble:
    Habib: Oh, I don't think so, sir. I haven't got the skills, you see. For one thing, I can't talk out of my-
    Fowler: Yes, thank you, Habib.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Patrica, to an armed bank robber in "Rag Week".
    Patricia: If you hurt him, I'll shove that gun so far down your throat you'll be blowing bullets out of your backside!
  • Cutting the Electronic Leash: Played for laughs in "Kids Today", when the eccentric mountain guide Brigadier Blaster-Sump is interrupted by his mobile phone.
    Blaster-Sump: (Furiously, as phone rings) Oh! Hell's tits. (Yells into it) Yes, what do you want, can't you see I'm busy?! (Switches it off, and tosses it aside) Damn technology. A present from Mrs Blaster-Sump, God rot her soul.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kray deals with Grim's pomposity and idiocy by quietly snarking during his speeches, or by claiming to find his jokes funny while not so much as cracking a smile - all of which goes completely over Grim's head thanks to that same pomposity and idiocy.
    • During a briefing on organised crime ("one word", according to Grim) in "Night Shift":
      Grim: Motors stolen in Gasforth are being driven across the Channel.
      Kray: Blimey. You'd need a decent underseal. [chuckles]
      Grim: Local delinquents nick the cars, then flog 'em on to Mr. Big. He's out there. Somewhere. A fat cat spinning his web with his tentacles in every pie.
      Kray: Shouldn't be too difficult to spot, then.
    • In "Kids Today", Grim is going undercover as a van driver with Kray and Crockett as "braindead juvenile morons". Grim laughs that he should have chosen "some of Fowler's lot" to play the latter roles, and repeats the joke just to be sure Kray understands it.
      Kray: Brilliant, sir(!) Try not to be too hilarious, I've only got one pair of these trousers.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: Inspector Fowler does this in "Rag Week" to get into a bank robbery that has turned into a hostage situation.
  • Dirty Old Man: In "Fly on the Wall", the police get mistakenly called out to the home of an old man who's waiting for an agency escort. He lasciviously says he'd requested for her to be dressed as a nurse but he'll take Habib instead, adding when the real escort shows up, "I'd love to have you both, but I can't afford two on my pension!" All while the BBC films them for a documentary.
  • The Ditz: Constable Goody gets the wrong end of every stick imaginable. For example, when Gladstone tries to console him after yet another crass remark by Kray in "Yuletide Spirit" by suggesting it's his way of compensating for a lack of action, Goody has no idea who Harold Wilson was:
    Gladstone: You know, fellas that talk about it most do it least. I know - I talk about it all the time. And I haven't had any since the days of Harold Wilson.
    Goody: [stunned] I never knew you had a gay relationship!
    Gladstone: What are you talking about?
    Goody: This bloke, Harold Wilson, you were having it with.
    Gladstone: Kevin, he was the Prime Minister.note 
    Goody: [puts both hands to his cheeks in amazement] Blimey! And you an ordinary copper, you did do well! [Gladstone looks put upon]
  • Double Entendre: Fowler and Grim make these all the time, usually unintentionally.
    • The show has a Running Gag involving Grim making suggestive comments about his arse being on the line for whatever reason, one of the most egregious examples being when he urges Fowler not to get in the way of his serious policework: "Your cock-up, my arse!" note . The joke appears in seven out of the fourteen episodes, with some rather inventive variations on the same theme. Compare; "My arse will be on the line, and I don't want a cock-up!", and "I'll show these bloody kids, when Grim of Gasforth puts his backside on the line, they can't just stick two fingers up!"
    • From "Yuletide Spirit", Fowler misty-eyed at the Christmas traditions the officers on the Yuletide shift must put off enjoying:
      Fowler: Not for us the last-minute present wrapping. Carols round the tree. Grandpa smoking his pipe, enjoying a good rough shag.note  [Habib starts giggling]
      Fowler: Not for us the simple pleasures of Christmas. Sherry, chestnuts... Father bringing home a fat bird and telling Mum to stuff it.note 
      Gladstone: [deadpan] Sounds like a right old rave-up at your house, sir.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: After Patricia discovers the Not What It Looks Like example in "Court in the Act", she goes for the rolling pin, and when he argues against her idea of having kids, she hits him with a fish.
  • Dramatic Unmask: In "Rag Week", students are going around town wearing gorilla masks. Later, there is a bank robbery, with three gunmen wearing gorilla masks. Inspector Fowler believes them to be students having a laugh, and in the manner of a strict teacher, talks them into handing over their guns, before unmasking them, and discovering they were not who he thought they were.
    Grim: Well, you broke every rule in the book, Fowler. But I can't deny you ended the siege without bloodshed, it's pretty cool to talk round armed robbers like that.
    Fowler: Oh really, Grim, hasn't the penny dropped? Why under these silly masks, you'll find not hardened robbers, but beardless, spotty-faced students on a rag... (he rips off their masks, to reveal sour-looking bearded men)... er, three desperate villains, just as I thought.
  • Edible Bludgeon: In "Kids Today", Patricia hits Raymond over the head with a large fish. Just before he faints, Raymond comments that it's a good thing they were not about to eat a leg of lamb.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Parodied in "Court in the Act" where the chief admits to Raymond Fowler that he faked some evidence. Raymond then triumphantly pulls out a rather large tape recorder from his pocket. But when he tries to play the confession, the tape just runs the workout-training that used to be on the tape. Another policeman then shows that you have to press both record and play at the same time to start recording, "I don't know why either". As an added bonus, the recorder is turned on during that demonstration, resulting in it recording some fierce Innocent Innuendo between Raymond and his ex-girlfriend. And the tape belonged to Patricia, and she uses it for her workout at the end of the episode....
  • Everyone Has Standards: Grim may be a fairly wretched person but when Boyle talks him into planting evidence to get a conviction in "Court in the Act", it causes him terrible guilt throughout the episode. When Fowler manages to get the case dismissed on a technicality Grim blusters a bit but then breaks down crying, thanks Fowler for stopping it and then declares "There's nothing lower than a bent copper."
  • Exposed to the Elements: Inspector Grim on why the orienteer Brigadier Blaster-Sump is a loony:
    Fowler: I admit he's eccentric.
    Grim: Eccentric? The bloke tried to be the first man to reach the South Pole in short trousers!
  • Expy: In keeping with Ben Elton's stated influence from Dad's Army, several of the characters and their relationships are clearly based on those from the earlier show:
    • Fowler is Captain Mainwaring (the pompous leader who's a bit ineffectual);
    • Patricia is a combination of Sgt. Wilson and Mrs. Pike (both the long-suffering junior officer / comedic foil and the overly romantic love interest with a tendency to embarrass her lover with her overtures);
    • Habib is Private Walker (the savvy, snarky and competent Only Sane Man);
    • Gladstone is Corporal Jones (the somewhat fuzzy-witted old-timer with easily-derailed thought processes and a tendency to ramble);
    • Goody is Private Pike (the naive youngster with a tendency to irritate and embarrass the pompous leader);
    • Grim is ARP Warden Hodges (the rival to the pompous leader who's equally pompous and ineffectual, but in an opposite sense).
  • Final Season Casting: The final series lost Kevin Allen, and in his place came Mark Addy.
  • Firemen Are Hot: In "Fire and Terror", Maggie has the hots for a hunky firefighter who unfortunately turns out to have the hots for Kevin. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Football Hooligans: "Come on You Blues" has the police worried about a possible outbreak of football hooliganism due to an upcoming FA Cup tie between Gasforth Town FC and Chelsea. In arresting various troublemaking elements, they end up locking up the entire local club.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: In "Court In The Act", Grim is desperate to convict a drug dealer; Boyle suggests that evidence can be found — "found", in inverted commas. Fowler finds out about the frame up and, unable to prove the drug dealer has been framed, tells the criminal's barrister that Goody, who found the planted evidence (but didn't know about the frame-up), was wearing a new uniform that wasn't an official police uniform, thus invalidating any incriminating evidence found during the search and allowing the drug dealer to get Off on a Technicality.
  • French Jerk: In "Ism Ism Ism", everyone at the police station is forced to attend diversity training, but when they're instructed to arrest an illegal immigrant, they get the wrong guy - causing a major incident because he is actually the European Commissioner for Human Rights (and black). The man turns out to be a French Jerk and instantly starts complaining about everything in Britain: "You British! No wonder we all hate you. Your chocolate isn't chocolatey enough. Your bananas are too long and bendy. And you insist on eating prawn cocktail crisps despite the fact that we have told you not to!"
  • Freudian Slip: After the sex therapist Fowler and Patricia are seeing in "Night Shift" starts stripping, they return to the station and Habib tells Fowler Grim wants to see him. "Thank you, Constable Nipple," says a still shocked Fowler.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: The Mayor is the small-town version of this, a terrifying woman who wants to turn the town into "the sweatshop capital of Britain." On the other hand, Fowler at one point argues that the actual Queen of England is quite a Benevolent Boss, as bosses go.
  • Haggis Is Horrible: Grim's "reasoning" when suspecting a domestic terrorist organization, the St Neduts of Egelloc, of being Scottish extremists in "Rag Week".
    "If your national dish is a sheep's stomach your gonna be bitter aren't ya?"
  • Homage: Fowler breaks the fourth wall in the second series, beginning each episode by briefly addressing the audience directly, in the style of Dixon of Dock Green.
  • Honey Trap: "Honey Trap" sees Fowler and Grim recruiting Habib to catch a criminal via a honey trap. The criminal arrests her.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Detective Sergeants Kray (series 1) and Boyle (series 2) are this to DI Grim.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • At one point in "Night Shift", Grim is needling Raymond about his divorce and slightly distant relationship with his son Bill, 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 whose loutish son just got arrested for disturbing the peace...? Bill, 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.
    • When Fowler berates Goody for punching out a teenage skinhead, he asks, "Suppose the lad had sustained brain damage?" Habib snarks back, "How would we tell?" Fowler furiously tells her not to be facetious with him. Later in the episode, he talks to the skinhead's mother, who also raises the possibility of brain damage, and he mutters the exact same joke in response. Habib looks rather unimpressed about this.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: In "Night Shift", 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...
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: In "Kids Today", when Fowler organises a camping trip for young offenders, he asks Grim if he can be persuaded to come. Grim replies:
    Grim: I'm a policeman, not a bleeding Girl Guide!
  • Immodest Orgasm: The "noisy nymphomaniac" who appears in "Night Shift" tends to have ones that are so immodest that she keeps getting brought in for disturbing the peace. It doesn't help that she had the last one while having sex in her garden shed. Which collapsed.
    Kray: No good asking her to come quietly, I suppose.
  • Incompatible Orientation: "Fire and Terror" concerns Habib meeting a handsome firefighter and trying everything to get into bed with him. In the end of the episode, it's revealed that he hasn't touched her because his interests were focused on Goody, who's spent the whole series pining after her. In the last scene they all sit at a pub musing about their love triangle woes.
  • Innocent Innuendo:
    • The conservative and idealistic Inspector Fowler has a tendency to make statements containing innuendo that everyone except him could see.
      "Not for us the traditional pleasures of Christmas. Sherry, chestnuts, Father bringing home a big fat bird and telling Mother to stuff it."
      "The traditional truncheon is perfectly adequate. I myself am more than happy with 14 inches hanging down my trouser leg."
    • And Inspector Grim when his job depends on an important operation.
      "If you get in the way I'm responsible: your cockup, my arse!"
      "It's my arse and if you stuff it I'll end up very red in the face."
      "It's my arse on the line so you'd better pull your finger out."
  • Insult Backfire: At the beginning of "Rag Week", Fowler dismisses the students running around in silly costumes raising money for charity by saying "We were all young once." Dawkins replies, "Not you, Raymond - you were born middle-aged." He takes it as a compliment, saying he's always tried to maintain a mature outlook on life (though he has had the odd lapse, such as owning - though never using - a whoopee cushion).
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In "Honey Trap", when Fowler finally settles the ethical dilemma that's been troubling him over the title sting 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.
    • In "Night Shift", Fowler is waxing rhapsodic on the duties and perils of nighttime police work, and when Goody quotes the Star Trek: The Original Series opening, "To boldly go where no man has gone before", he chides Goody for splitting the infinitive "to go". In the episode's final scene, Fowler offers his son Bill and the latter's girlfriend Rona a couple of tickets to an all-night rave that he confiscated from Grim's delinquent son Darren; Bill declines, and Fowler asks, "Are you sure you can't be persuaded to wildly prance off with your pal?"
      Bill: No, we're going to the library. You don't get into university going to raves, do you? [he gets up from the table to head out] And it's "to prance wildly", Dad... don't split your infinitives.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In "The Green-Eyed Monster", Fowler is distraught when Dawkins finally breaks up with him, and becomes doubly so when he hears her telling Habib about Toby, whom he assumes is the new man in her life (he's actually her new pet dog). Gladstone suggests Fowler should put up a fight for her, but Fowler says that as long as Dawkins is happy with Toby and he looks after her and never hurts her, that's all he wants for her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Fowler may be pompous, uptight and officious, but he means well, and has a good heart underneath it all.
    • Grim is an even more unpleasant individual, but, while his Hidden Heart of Gold surfaces less often, even he isn't all bad.
  • The Joy of X
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: When an Engineered Public Confession doesn't work in "Court in the Act", Fowler gets the case thrown out by revealing that Goody was still wearing the prototype uniform that he was modelling when he found the planted evidence.
  • Kangaroo Court: Grim's vision of reversing the principle of innocent until proven guilty.
    Grim: (Furiously ranting) Why not have it the other way round? Presume everyone in the country guilty of something, which most of them are, and lock 'em up!
    Patricia: What, the entire population?
    Grim: Certainly the entire population. Only those who could, to the satisfaction of a senior judge, prove themselves to be wholly and fundamentally innocent would be released. There'd be a bit less fannying about then.
  • Lighter and Softer: Significantly lighter in its humour and style than earlier Elton works like The Young Ones and Blackadder. Some of the contemporary negativity towards the show was from critics and viewers who had been expecting a much darker and more political comedy based on Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop gags.
  • Lower Half Reveal: In "Kids Today", the normally highly regimented and uniformed Inspector Fowler surprises everyone by wearing shorts, just before taking young offenders on a camping trip. Detective Inspector Grim mocks him with "lovely legs, Raymond".
  • Magic Negro: Constable Frank Gladstone, thankfully to a very mild degree.
  • Malaproper: Inspector Grim. He once described a suspect as being "slippery, like an owl".
  • Military Alphabet: Subverted in a Rule of Three gag in "Yuletide Spirit" when it turns out to be requests for drinks from a pizza place.
    Detective: [on radio] Alpha Alpha Bravo...
    Second Detective: [on different radio] Wilco, Foxtrot Delta...
    Kray: [on phone] Tango. Tango. Diet Lilt and a Fanta. [hangs up]
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: After a succession of student pranks for the title event in "Rag Week", Inspector Fowler single-handedly arrests (and insults) a group of armed, masked bank robbers, assuming it's another joke. During the robbery, Constable Goody is mistaken for a prankster by people who assume he's too young to be a real police officer.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: In "Honey Trap", Dawkins thinks Fowler and Habib are having an affair and parading it right in front of her, but it turns out that A. Raymond just wants Maggie on his pub quiz team and B. Maggie is also being set up as a Honey Trap. While it is true that Fowler kissed Habib, it was a completely platonic spur-of-the-moment thing when she won the previous pub quiz for their team.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Constable Goody suffers badly from this trope. His speech, his mannerisms, his hobbies (gladiators) and many of the things he says give off the distinct impression that he's as gay as Christmas wrapper paper. In fact, he only has one non-stereotypically-gay characteristic: He lusts after women.
  • Mistaken for Racist: When the Mayoress orders Raymond to arrest an illegal immigrant in "Ism Ism Ism", 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?!"
  • Mixed Metaphor: Something Inspector Grim is good at. For example, in the episode "Night Shift", he informs everyone that he is looking for "A fat cat, spinning his web with his tentacles in every pie".
  • Ms. Fanservice: Habib in the episode "Honey Trap". Played for laughs, but at the same time quite a revelation given she is almost always otherwise seen in a conservative police uniform.
  • Mugged for Disguise: In "Rag Week", a pizza delivery boy in shorts and T-shirt tells Grim he wants to make a complaint about police harrassment; then we see Fowler wearing the delivery boy's uniform, and riding his motorbike.
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Patricia Dawkins is anxious to have children. Unfortunately, Fowler is less interested in obliging, partly as he already has a teenage son with his ex-wife, Susan, and partly because he is overly devoted to his job as a policeman.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: In "Rag Week", Fowler rants about how misbehaving students are a stain on Britain's reputation.
    Fowler: Before long, Britain's name will be mud. Or worse, it'll be Italy.
  • Nepotism: "Ism Ism Ism" has Grim wanting to join a secret society called the "Todgers". He proudly rattles off a list of why he thinks they are better than the Freemasons, including better costumes and ceremonies — until Boyle chips in with "...better nepotism."
  • Never My Fault: In "Yuletide Spirit", Grim is too busy obsessing over his role as Captain Hook in the Gasforth Amateur Drama Society's Christmas pantomime to listen to Kray telling him about a rash of burglaries that involve using carol singers as a distraction... until Kray tells him that Division have demanded to know what Grim is doing about it, whereupon Grim berates Kray for obsessing over the panto.
  • Noodle Incident: Several references are made to Gladstone's marriage, including his objecting at his own ceremony.
  • Not So Above It All: In "Fly on the Wall", Fowler is aghast as, one by one, he sees Dawkins with a new hairstyle, Habib wearing a short skirt, Goody with a perm, Boyle in a sharp suit and sunglasses, and Gladstone in his father's police dress uniform from Trinidad, and berates them all for obsessing over looking good for the TV cameras. Then Dawkins notices that the bag he's just brought back from Boots includes "Grey Away" hair dye...
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • After Boyle sets Fowler straight in "Court in the Act" (see Engineered Public Confession), the Mayoress comes in, looking for a plea bargain. The conversation, in which she demands that Raymond "give it [the plea bargain] to me" and his assurances that she'll be "more than satisfied" (with the loophole of Goody wearing an unofficial uniform during the bust) gets recorded over Patricia's morning workout.
    • In "Ism Ism Ism", Dawkins shows Fowler surveillance footage of what looks like a domestic abuse incident; on the one hand, Fowler wants to arrest the abuser, but on the other hand, he feels guilty about how they got the evidence. At the end of the episode, she takes him by the house in the footage, and we see what looks like another attack through the window; this time, Fowler says he doesn't care how they got the evidence, and they charge into the room... to find Grim wearing a dress and being flagellated as part of his initiation ceremony into the Todgers.
  • 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.
  • Oblivious to Love: Strangely, while Fowler and Dawkins have been together for ten years, he doesn't seem to be aware of her advances at times. Clearly Patricia loves Raymond, and he must return her affections otherwise they wouldn't be in a relationship, but it seems that to him she's just... there. This is at least in part because Fowler both believes very heavily in professionalism and maintaining an official distance at all times and is incredibly repressed and poor at expressing emotions in an almost stereotypically British fashion.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Fowler. To be fair, his rigid adherence to proper procedure is rooted in a heartfelt belief in things like due process, rule of law, work ethics and other unglamourous but socially beneficial principles. He just has a tendency to take it a teensy bit too far at times....
  • Odd Couple: Ironically, despite Fowler's page quote above, he has his own Odd Couple-style relationship with Grim, the CID inspector. Fowler is the By-the-Book Cop Parody who acts like he's in Dixon of Dock Green, Grim is the Wannabe Cowboy Cop who thinks he's in The Sweeney.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In "Fire and Terror", a drunk stumbles into the squad room and is about to be sick; Fowler shouts to Goody to get the man something to be sick into, so Goody grabs the first thing to hand: Fowler's cap. The officers are then told that their superior from Special Branch has arrived to investigate the supposed terrorist they have in custody, and Fowler reflexively grabs his cap and puts it on... and gets the look of a man who knows he's stuck between a rock and a hard place when he feels the contents all over his head.
      Commander Crow of Special Branch (to Fowler): There is one thing you can do. Get your uniform dry cleaned, it smells like a drunk's thrown up in your hat.
    • In the third act of "Come On You Blues", the mayoress of Gasforth (a former schoolmate and crush of Fowler's) is hoping to impress a group of foreign investors (specifically, sweatshop owners) at Gasforth Town FC's third round FA Cup tie at home to Chelsea. On the Friday, three of the episode's subplots climax as Dawkins arrests a group of builders for making lewd remarks toward her, an undercover Grim and Boyle arrest a group of pizzeria customers talking in hushed voices about turning "those Chelsea scum" into dust and sticking to the plan, and Fowler sends Habib, Gladstone, and Goody to arrest a group of revellers having a loud party. On the Saturday, the club chairman tells the mayoress they have to forfeit the match, as none of the players have turned up. He can't understand it - they were fine the previous day, with three of them at work on a building site (cue Dawkins looking worried), four of them talking tactics at a pizzeria (cue Grim looking worried), and the others holding a pre-match party (cue Fowler looking worried). The investors promptly leave, and the mayoress rounds on the police officers... who have beaten a very hasty retreat.
    • In "The Green-Eyed Monster", Boyle is taking a phone call from a medical emergency, "potential fatality", but Grim is more concerned with the amount of time he has spent on hold to the water cooler repair hotline. In the background, Boyle's body language suggests he is trying to calm the caller down as he enters relevant details into the computer, only to get a horrified look as the ranting Grim snatches the receiver from his hand...
      Grim: Blimey! "You are in a queue, all our operators are busy," I mean what would happen if we tried that, eh?! Someone rings up dying, [grabs the receiver as Boyle looks on, aghast] "Sorry, all our officers are busy, your emergency is in a queue and we will be doing nothing about it!" [slams down the phone, compounding Boyle's horror; he looks back and forth between his phone and the oblivious Grim in disbelief] Imagine that!
      Boyle: [picks up the receiver] Hello? Hellooo!...
  • Old-Fashioned Copper
    • Derek Grim acts the part with his loathing of modern "fannying about", but is mostly a wannabe, not to mention a buffoon.
    • 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 in "Yuletide Spirit", and the second is when he tries to decide whether or not to go to an illegal lock-in in "Alternative Culture".
  • Only Sane Man: Although Fowler usually has his head screwed on straight enough, Habib's a lot more down-to-earth and self-aware.
  • Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: Habib is getting into character for an entrapment operation in "Honey Trap", and uses the line on Goody - a naive manchild type character with a crush on her. After collapsing in embarrassment, he replies that "Actually, it's a Mars Bar".
  • Our Slogan Is Terrible: The town has the slogan "It's not as bad as you think".
  • Paying in Coins: In "Rag Week", Fowler and Goody are in an slow queue at the bank, headed by a customer paying in coins, very slowly. When Fowler suddenly shouts at Goody after getting sick of his prattle, the customer knocks over his pile of coins, and has to start again.
  • Phoney Call: In "Fly on the Wall", the documentary crew from The BBC accompany Grim and Boyle on patrol. Inevitably, they get no calls whatsoever, and eventually even Grim gets bored of his narration, so he pretends urgent calls are coming through on the radio (calls that don't include such details as where the supposed crimes are occurring), and continues the charade back at the station (the one call that actually comes through is for the camera crew).
  • Playing a Tree: Inspector Fowler is a bit luckier: in the annual Peter Pan performance at Christmas, he always gets the part of the crocodile who swallowed a clock. Tick. Tock. He does, however, end up literally playing a tree in a training role-play exercise in "Road Rage". A tree to which his fellow officers pretend to tie themselves in the role of militant environmentalists. He really gets into the role.
  • Political Overcorrectness: "Ism Ism Ism" parodied this, with Fowler ordered to get everyone at the station up to standard on political correctness. He makes a series of embarrassingly awful attempts to express enlightened views about race, gender and sexuality: "That would be the pot calling the kettle ... er ... African-American!" Even more absurd in that the series is set in Britain.
  • Protest by Obstruction: In "Road Rage", the officers go to break up a group protesting the building of a bypass. Officer Goody encounters one protester who has tied herself to a tree, and ends up joining her.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Fowler, especially in comparison with Grim. He may dislike young people, foreigners and, honestly, most people, but as long as they obey the law, he is content to leave them in peace. Something of a Noble Bigot with a Badge, who refuses to let his prejudices affect his policing even slightly.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: A Rule of Three gag in "Ism Ism Ism", when Grim gets annoyed by Fowler's political correctness lecture.
    Grim: Police work is about villains, not 'isms'. What 'ism' ever mugged an old lady? What 'ism' ever robbed a bank? What 'ism' ever held a gun to someone's head?
    Boyle: Terrorism?
    Grim: [annoyed] Yeah, all right. What 'ism' ever threatened the security of the state?
    Boyle: Marxism?
    Grim: What 'ism' ever hurt anybody?
    Boyle: Sadism!
  • Right Behind Me: In the episode "Fly on the Wall", the precinct is being filmed for a documentary on what usually happens at police stations. Inspector Fowler isn't keen on this at all, and thinking that he isn't being recorded, expresses to his officers what he really feels about the crew being there, not realizing in the middle of his rambling they've come up behind him, despite subtle hints from his fellow officers. His reaction when he does notice them? To smile sheepishly and say "At least that's what I've heard".
  • Rule of Three:
    • In "Fire and Terror", firefighter Gary is telling Habib, who has a massive crush on him (unaware of their Incompatible Orientation despite his frequent questions about Goody), about rescuing six children from a burning house. Habib says "Gosh, Gary! Amazing!" after every detail as Dawkins rolls her eyes. The third time, Dawkins sarcastically says "Gosh, Gary! Amazing!" in unison with Habib, who shoots her a Death Glare.
    • When Raymond believes Patricia might be annoyed with him at the beginning of "Honey Trap":
      Raymond: You made my tea with cold water... and yesterday's teabag... and in my bicycle helmet.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: In "Rag Week", Grim receives what he thinks is a legitimate threat from a separatist group calling themselves the "St Neduts of Egelloc". Fowler can scarcely contain his glee in pointing out that Grim has fallen for a rag week prank: "St Neduts" and "Egelloc" are "Students" and "College" spelled backwards, while their weapon, "Dratsuc", is "custard" spelled backwards. (Grim, inevitably, pretends that he already knew and was wondering how long it would take the uniformed officers to work it out - a lie that is exposed by Kray telling him he has the Home Office and Armed Response Unit on standby.)
    Fowler: What a diputs loof that man is.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: One of the many ways Grim mangles the English language.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Sergeant Dawkins is Inspector Fowler's live-in girlfriend. Given Fowler's outlook on his duties, however, this is not a major issue. At one point he offers Dawkins some advice, half now (as her senior officer) and half when he is on break (as her boyfriend, as he is not being paid to advise people as their boyfriends and so cannot do so during work hours.).
  • Spy-Tux Reveal:
    • Played with in "Road Rage". Dawkins falls for a radical environmentalist, only to find he's an MI5 Agent Provocateur when he comes out of Fowler's office wearing a James Bond tuxedo.
    • Also played with in "Rag Week". Having infiltrated a bank robbery by dressing as a pizza delivery boy, he takes off the jacket and hat to reveal his police uniform.
  • Stock "Yuck!": In "Rag Week", the bank robbers in the third act have asked Grim to order a pizza as a gesture of good faith. Fowler relays this instruction to Goody, who asks what toppings they should include. Fowler doesn't care, so he agrees to Goody's suggestion that they order "the works", meaning every topping the pizzeria offers. However, Gladstone disagrees with this idea, as that would include anchovies, and he knows almost no-one who likes those (he personally hates the idea of any seafood on pizza), while Goody says he only knows one person who likes pineapple on pizza. The conversation quickly derails into a discussion of disgusting pizza toppings until Fowler yells at them to get on with it.
  • Stripper/Cop Confusion: "Fly on the Wall" sees Habib and Goody investigate a man who had the curtains closed for a few days, causing neighbours to be worried about him. Since he was hiring prostitutes, he thinks Habib is one of them, and is a better choice than the nurse he actually ordered.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That:
    • "Honey Trap" features Grim and Fowler using Habib as a Honey Trap to capture a criminal. Dawkins thinks Fowler and Habib are having an affair and, in retaliation, breaks Fowler's new royal crest, which he claims represents all the values he stands for. She then replies he doesn't stand for any and mentions knowing what he and Maggie are doing. Wrongly believing she figured out about the Honey Trap, he comments about it, revealing to her the truth. She then lets him think he was right, and he tells her he agrees with her reaction.
    • In "Rag Week", Dawkins is venting her frustration with Fowler's near complete lack of interest in sex by answering his reverie about doing something "splendidly heroic" to make her "proud and happy" by saying he could make her happy by "occasionally giving [her] a damn good rogering!" Gladstone walks in during the last three words and is almost as embarrassed as Fowler and Dawkins; Fowler fumbles an explanation about their "damn good" friend "Roger Ring", and Dawkins plays along but snipes about how little they see of him (or his Swedish cousin Bonk). Gladstone, who just wants to forget the whole thing, accepts their explanation, and, having completely forgotten why he wanted to talk to Fowler, quietly leaves.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: After Kray and Grim spot the fake carol singers in "Yuletide Spirit" doing their thing, the latter decides to call in for backup, not wanting to get in a fight. Unfortunately, the only description he gives dispatch is that they're 'highly dangerous carol singers', which leads them to arrest a group of real carol-singers - the chief constable, the local MP, their wives, and the Bishop of Gasforth.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Kray was replaced with Boyle for series two. The general opinion is that Boyle was a lot funnier.
  • Take Me Instead: The episode "Fire and Terror" ends with a double Take Me Instead, the second instance throwing Gary the gay fireman out of the closet.
    Lunatic: I'm armed, and I'm dangerous, and I'm gonna take a hostage.
    Habib: Take me!
    Goody: No Maggie! You're too beautiful to die! Take me!
    Gary: No Kev! You're too beautiful to die! Take me!
  • Take That!:
    • "There's a place for fatuous flippant would-be humorous inanities, and that place is on Noel's House Party."
    • "There is a place for smutty innuendo, Constable Kray, and that place is on Birds of a Feather."
    • Fowler doesn't seem to care for Captain Kirk's grammar or the Rubber-Forehead Aliens trope, as seen in "Night Shift".
      Goody: To boldly go where no man has gone before.
      Fowler: To go boldly, laddy, don’t split your infinitives.
      Goody: Captain Kirk does it.
      Fowler: Captain Kirk regularly accepts figures painted blue with plastic forehead extensions as beings from another planet; I think we can dismiss him as hardly being an expert on anything.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Played for laughs in the first episode, when a burglary victim climbs on to a high ledge, and asks for a reason not to jump. Fowler tells him officiously that he is standing above a public pavement, and pedestrians should not have to dodge him.
  • Talking in Bed: Several episodes feature bedtime conversations between Fowler and Dawkins, usually with the latter trying unsuccessfully to inflame the former's ardour while he'd rather just read a bit and then go to sleep.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: In the episode "Honey Trap", Inspector Fowler attempts to find someone who can replace Constable Habib in the upcoming trivia contest. He resorts to the perps in the detention room. Fat chance.
    Fowler: How far will Fred have to travel to reach the fire extinguisher?
    Perp 1: Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...
    Perp 2: What?!
    Perp 3: Who cares?
    Perp 4: (Vomits into a bucket)
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    • Raymond Fowler. Take this example from "Kids Today", in which he fondly describes his childhood Meccano sets, much to Habib's amusement:
      Fowler: They'll never know the joy a young lad can have sitting alone in his room... with his tool in his hand, tightening his little nuts.
    • Grim: "It'll be my arse on the line and I don't want a cock-up!" and many variations.
  • 30 Minutes, or It's Free!: Inspector Fowler says this in "Rag Week" while pretending to be a pizza delivery boy so he can gain access to a bank where robbers are holding people hostage.
  • Title Drop: In the very first episode.
    Fowler: In the grand order of life there are but two forces: those of order, and those of chaos. And between them there lies us, the thin blue line.
    (Goody immediately points out that that means three forces.)
  • Token Minority: Habib (Asian and Muslim) and Gladstone (black Caribbean). Of course, this is modern day Britain, so an ethnically diverse workplace makes sense.
  • Two Words: I Can't Count: Grim is prone to this when trying to act the part of a hard-boiled detective.
    • From "Fire and Terror", when boasting to Fowler about potentially cracking "the biggest case of [his] career":
      Grim: Two syllables: [holds up one finger] "Terror" and [holds up a second] "Ism".
    • From "Night Shift", addressing the detectives on his squad about a rash of car thefts:
      Grim: The problem can be summed up in one word: organised crime.
  • Unfortunate Item Swap: In "Yuletide Spirit", Goody has bought Christmas gifts for Fowler and Habib: a puncture repair kit for the former's bicycle and some lacy red lingerie for the latter. However, he puts them in identical boxes, so Habib gets the puncture repair kit and Fowler gets the lingerie. Matters are complicated further when Dawkins finds the lingerie in Fowler's office and assumes they're his gift to her... and then complicated still further when Fowler only discovers after swapping the gifts back that Dawkins enthusiastically approved of the lingerie.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: At the end of "Rag Week", Fowler and Dawkins have foiled a robbery at their bank (although Fowler thought it was a prank), and the manager congratulates them on their courage and asks if there's anything he can do in return. Dawkins notes that between understaffing and the robbery, they were unable to renew their standing orders (which must be done that day to avoid incurring penalties)... and the manager says it's three minutes after closing time, so he can't help them.
  • We Should Get Another Tape: In "Court in the Act", Inspector Fowler attempts to record Inspector Grim confessing to planting evidence, but when he triumphantly plays back the cassette, all they hear is his girlfriend's work-out routine. Boyle, Grim's crony, points out that Fowler needed to push down "play" and "record" for it to work. At the end of the episode, as Patricia does her work-out, she hears what was recorded afterwards: the mayoress apparently propositioning Fowler.
  • Wiki Walk: Constable Frank Gladstone is a master of this, often omitting the intervening steps and just announcing his seemingly random conclusions to his perplexed comrades. For example: His theory behind rampant graffiti in "Kids Today"?...Fridge magnets and the parents who use them to put their toddler's childish drawings on the fridge as adorable mementos, which causes the now teen kids to use graffiti as a method of gaining that familiar adoration from standing around the fridge.
  • Women Are Wiser: Habib, and to a lesser extent Patricia, are more sensible and less often the butt of jokes than the male characters.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: When drilling Constable Habib for his quiz team in "Honey Trap", Inspector Fowler says "Give me the first six primary numbers". She replies "1, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, sir." The first six prime numbers (not "primary") are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Constable Maggie Habib is very keen on the homoerotic aspects of football and in one episode speculates on the relationship between both Biggles and Ginger and Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson ("sometimes there's months between cases - what do they do then?"). The somewhat old-fashioned Fowler is horrified ("They chat! They smoke their pipes!").
  • You Watch Too Much X: When Grim wants to buy a water cooler for the CID in "The Green-Eyed Monster", Fowler responds, "You just want to walk around with a paper cup in your hand like an American police officer. You watch too much television".


Video Example(s):


"My officers and I"

Much to the chagrin of DI Derek Grim, Raymond Fowler corrects his sentence about tracking down a bank fraud gang.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / GrammarNazi

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