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The Thin Blue Lie
The Thin Blue Lie.jpg
Written byDaniel Helfgott
Directed byRoger Young
StarringRob Morrow
Randy Quaid
Paul Sorvino
Music byPatrick Williams
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producersDaniel Helfgott
Janet Turner
Roger Young
ProducerFritzi Horstman
CinematographyDonald M. Morgan
EditorBenjamin A. Weissman
Running time97 minutes
Production companiesHelfgott-Turner Productions
Paramount Network Television
Showtime Networks
Original networkShowtime Networks
Original releaseAugust 13, 2000 (2000-08-13)

The Thin Blue Lie is a 2000 television film directed by Roger Young and starring Rob Morrow, Randy Quaid, and Paul Sorvino. It was released on August 13, 2000. The title is a reference to the phrase "thin blue line" used to describe the hypothetical role of law enforcement as the line between order and chaos.


The premise of the film concerns Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jonathan Neumann (Rob Morrow), who, along with his partner Phil Chadway (Randy Quaid), won the Pulitzer Prize in 1978 for a series of articles exposing Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo (Paul Sorvino) and the Philadelphia Police Department for corruption. According to the articles, suspects were beaten and tortured in interrogation rooms in an effort to meet the high quota of criminal cases solved by Philadelphia detectives. Neumann and Chadway met extreme opposition from the police department, working amidst phone tappings, apartment ransackings, and threats of death and bodily harm.


Issues pertaining to journalism ethics

Throughout the movie, Neumann faced a number of ethical dilemmas. First, most of his colleagues disagreed that he should pursue claims of torture from "suspects," citing that the city's crime level was at an all-time low, and to question Rizzo's police policies would put the city's safety in jeopardy. Second, when interviewing victims of police brutality, Neumann had to assure the frightened victims that they would not be harmed by talking to him, when in fact, they had been threatened by police and warned against talking to and/or cooperating with reporters. Third, Neumann had to find one detective willing to essentially betray his fellow officers in order to substantiate his claims.

See also