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Millennium Episode Profile of The Thin White Line

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This profile of The Thin White Line has been viewed 10061 times and was last accessed on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 10:47 AM (BST).

Episode Info

Title:

The Thin White Line


MLM Code:

#MLM-113


Production Code:

4C13


Season:

1


Original Airdate:

1997-02-14




Nielsen Rating:

6.8


Episode Music:

Alternative Episode Titles:

In France, this episode was entitled Les Blessures du Passé which translates into English as The Wounds from the Past. [View all]

In Finland, this episode was entitled Aivopesun uhrit which translates into English as Brainwash victims. [View all]

In Germany, this episode was entitled Zwei und Zwei which translates into English as Two And Two. [View all]

Random stills from The Thin White Line:

A random image from this Millennium episode.
 
An random image from this Millennium episode.
 
An random image from this Millennium episode.
 

There are a total of 175 images for this episode of Millennium which are available in the Episode Image Gallery.

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Awards Won:

  • Sadly The Thin White Line didn't win any awards.

Award Nominations:

  • 1998 American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in a Regular Series (Robert McLachlan, "The Thin White Line")
 

#MLM-113 The Thin White Line



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An image from Millennium: The Thin White Line.

Episode Summary:

Frank Black’s memories of a prominent serial killing case from his past become intensely vivid as he prepares to interview a murderer he locked away decades ago in order to catch that man’s protégé, a copycat killer. Frank’s concerns torture him day and night, giving him bizarre nightmares and a conscience which insists he should have killed the original killer when he was given the opportunity.

Main Crew:

Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong
Directed by Thomas J. Wright
Edited by Stephen Mark


Main Cast:

Lance Henriksen as Frank Black
Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black
Bill Smitrovich as Lt. Bob Bletcher


Guest Stars:

Jeremy Roberts as Richard Alan Hance
Scott Heindl as Jacob Tyler


Supporting Cast:

Ken Tremblett as Agent Riley
Allan Harvey as Agent Johnson
Nancy Sivak as Anne Rothenberg
Mark Holden as Agent Clark
Larry Musser as Warden (I)
Tom Heaton as Store Clerk (I)


Uncredited Cast:

Eric Breker as Howard Rothenburg

More...



Quotation/Proverb:

A man's past is not simply a dead history... it is a still quivering part of himself, bringing shudders and bitter flavours and the tinglings of a merited shame. - George Eliot


Promotional Episode Tagline:

The first time he saw through a killer's eyes... was almost his last. Tonight, Frank Black must relive his first case... or die trying.


Seasonal Episode Tagline:

wait... worry... who cares?



Synopsis:

Please note that this is the original Fox synopsis and occasionally this may differ from the events that were actually filmed. Please also view the The Thin White Line episode transcript which has been painstakingly checked for accuracy against the actual episode.

Frank enters a hospital emergency room looking for Catherine, who is working the night shift in child counseling. Suddenly, paramedics rush in with a bloodied woman on a gurney. Frank is inexplicably drawn to the stranger, and as he moves closer, notices a curved slash on her palm. He raises his own right hand, revealing a thin white scar which matches exactly the slash on the victim’s hand. The woman dies from her injuries.

Frank asks Bletcher for any information pertaining to the victim. Bletcher reveals the woman was Anne Rothenburg, whose husband found her body when he returned home from work. It’s believed the woman surprised a burglar and was then attacked. A short time later, the same man who killed Mrs. Rothenburg shoots a liquor store clerk. Frank and Bletcher examine a security video of the murder. Frank notices the killer tossing something on the floor. When Frank searches the store, he discovers a torn playing card, half of the Jack of Spades, on the floor. A search of the Rothenburg home turns up the second matching half.

Frank tells Bletcher that, twenty years earlier, a man named Richard Alan Hance, was discharged from the service after serving two tours in Vietnam. That same year, a woman was found dead inside her home. Half a "death card," used by soldiers to designate their kills, was found at the scene. Three days later, the other half of the playing card was found beside the body of a jogger. A week after the first two murders, another pair of bodies was found. The FBI then received an anonymous tip indicating the killer was living inside an abandoned building. Frank and three of his fellow agents searched the structure for clues. Hance murdered two of the agents, dropping a playing card piece near each victim and cutting their hand with a knife. Hance then cornered Frank, scarring his hand just before moving in for the kill. But the fourth FBI agent interceded. Hance turned his gun on the agent and opened fire, killing him. During the commotion, Frank grabbed his gun and took Hance into custody.

Frank realizes that Hance’s former cellmate, Jacob Tyler, is responsible for the current murders, calling him the "living reincarnation" of Richard Alan Hance. Shortly thereafter, two more bodies are discovered in a remote area.

Despite a great deal of trepidation, Frank meets with Hance at the prison. During their discussion, Hance admits he enjoyed killing the FBI agents, as "the hunters became the hunted." Frank then realizes it was Hance who placed the anonymous tip that drew the FBI to the abandoned building twenty years earlier. And he also realizes that Jacob Tyler intends to follow the same pattern.

Tyler phones police with an anonymous tip, claiming the man who killed the liquor store owner is living inside an abandoned building. Frank and a SWAT team set up a perimeter around the structure. Suddenly, several officers are hit by sniper fire from a nearby building. Frank and Bletcher, guns drawn, rush inside. Tyler smashes Frank from behind, sending him to the ground. Thinking quickly, Frank plays to Tyler’s delusion. He shows him the thin white scar already etched in his palm. Seizing the moment, Frank knocks Tyler’s gun away from his face. Frank retrieves the weapon, but not before Tyler pulls out another handgun and opens fire, emptying the chamber. But Tyler proves a poor shot, and Frank avoids being injured. Frank then attempts to reason with Tyler in an attempt to convince him his personality has been altered. Suddenly, Bletcher arrives at the scene. Tyler raises his gun, tightening his finger on the trigger. Frank attempts to avert disaster, but Bletcher instinctively opens fire, killing Tyler.



1013 References:

While Frank Black and Det. Bletcher are watching footage of video surveillance of the liquor store robbery/homicide by Jacob Tyler, the video timestamp rolls from 10:12 to 10:13.

Credit: Theo Mistwein via e-mail - 21st May 2010



Episode Trivia:

Writers Glen Morgan and James Wong, like the show's other writers, clearly spent time researching the stories of real life serial killers. The conversation between Frank Black and Richard Alan Hance, which provides one of this episode's highlights, was directly inspired by famed FBI profiler Robert Ressler's interview with serial killer Edmund Kemper. Similarly, Jacob Tyler's delusions, in which he seems to believe his victims are volunteering themselves, were inspired by delusions professed by real life serial killer Herbert Mullin.

This episode marks the first occasion in the series, and one of a scant few, wherein Frank Black takes up a firearm. Both Chris Carter and Lance Henriksen were adamantly opposed to depicting Frank as a character who was willing to use guns or take the life of another person, regardless of circumstances.

The death cards seen throughout the episode serve as a means of delivering Glen Morgan and James Wong's trademark references to their work on the science fiction drama Space: Above and Beyond. Each playing card bears the insignia of Space's 58th Squadron along with their motto, "Expect no mercy." Each of the cards left by Jacob Tyler throughout the episode corresponds to the call sign of a character from that series.

At the end of the episode Frank Black shouts to Jacob Tyler, "You are not who you are!" The line is taken from The X-Files episode "Ice," also written by Morgan and Wong.

Credit: Brian Dixon, The Millennial Abyss



Mortality Count: 
14 Deaths


(Comprised of 13 murders + 0 kills in self defence + 1 justifiable homicides + 0 suicides.)

NB. Where applicable, large groups of victims (such as multiple victims in a plane crash) are represented by a count of group count of 1 due to impracticalities with listing so many unidentified persons. For enhanced details, see the Violence Markers below.



Original Fox Episode Stills:

View the original 1996 Fox Millennium Episode Guide images for this episode of Millennium where available here.



Available Violence Markers:

  • Jacob Tyler was responsible for the attempted murder of Frank Black during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Richard Alan Hance was responsible for the attempted murder of Frank Black during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Jacob Tyler was responsible for the murder of Anne Rothenburg during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Jacob Tyler was responsible for the murder of liquor store clerk during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Jacob Tyler was responsible for the murder of unnamed person (1) during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Jacob Tyler was responsible for the murder of unnamed person (2) during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Richard Alan Hance was responsible for the murder of His Grandfather during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Richard Alan Hance was responsible for the murder of His Grandmother during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Richard Alan Hance was responsible for the murder of Sandra Bishop during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Richard Alan Hance was responsible for the murder of Jogger during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Richard Alan Hance was responsible for the murder of unnamed person (1) during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Richard Alan Hance was responsible for the murder of unnamed person (2) during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Richard Alan Hance was responsible for the murder of Agent Clark during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Richard Alan Hance was responsible for the murder of Agent Johnson during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Richard Alan Hance was responsible for the murder of Agent Riley during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line).
  • Lt. Bob Bletcher killed Jacob Tyler during this episode of Millennium (The Thin White Line) in a justifiable homicide.

(View all violence, killer and victim stats)