The Thin Blue Lie

  • 2000
  • 1 HR 36 MIN
  • PG-13
  • Crime, Drama

Though not in the league of such films as ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976), this above-average cable drama salutes a reporter who digs into a police cover-up because his dedication to finding the truth won't let him give up. New to the Philadelphia Enquirer, brash reporter Jonathan Neumann (Rob Morrow) gets the scoop on the Legionnaire's Disease crisis in...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Though not in the league of such films as ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976), this above-average cable drama salutes a reporter who digs into a police cover-up because his dedication to finding the truth won't let him give up. New to the Philadelphia Enquirer, brash reporter Jonathan Neumann (Rob Morrow) gets the scoop on the Legionnaire's Disease crisis in 1976, but doesn't fit into his assigned post as a court reporter. Inherently inclined to stir things up, Neumann pries into the closed case of a mentally retarded man accused of setting a fire that killed a Puerto Rican family. A cursory look at the facts convinces Neumann that the police coerced confessions from innocent suspects, and that this isn't the first time they've done so. Though both Neumann's co-worker, Kate Johnson (Cynthia Preston), and his predecessor, Phil Chadway (Randy Quaid), admire his determination, they feel compelled to point out the popularity of Mayor Rizzo (Paul Sorvino) and the fact that Philadelphia residents are happy with the dip in crime that's taken place during his term in office. Neumann finds that witnesses are afraid to come forward, let alone recant their testimony, so he turns his attention to the Goon Squad, a cadre of homicide detectives more concerned with clearing cases than serving justice. Chadway eventually joins Neumann's crusade and their teamwork elicits death threats from the corrupt cops. The Goon Squad intimidates Neumann at every opportunity, even trashing his apartment; inside sources confirm Neumann's suspicions, but no officer will breach the blue wall of silence. Then the killer cops find out about Neumann and Chadway's rendezvous on a boat with a potential whistleblower. Will any honest detectives back up Neumann's claims, or will the Mayor keep ruling through fear and patronage? Based on real-life events, this often-frightening crime drama is occasionally preachy and over emphatic, but draws viewers into Neumann's gripping quandary.

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