Season 1 Episode 14

The Thin White Line

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Feb 14, 1997 on FOX
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Thin White Line
When Frank links two seemingly unrelated murders he finds that a killer seems to be committing murders in the exact style of serial killer Richard Hance, whom Frank put behind bars twenty years ago. The case warrants Frank’s attention, and he is forced to his personal demons before he can help Bletcher track down the copycat killer...moreless

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  • Frank faces a demon from his past and recalls his days as a green FBI agent...

    This episode pits Frank Black against a disciple of a murderer he helped capture years before. To catch the protege, Frank must interview the imprisoned killer to gain insight into his motives and methods. Shades of "Silence of the Lambs" and "Red Dragon" are evident in the interview scenes, where one killer must be consulted to capture another.

    Flashback scenes show us Frank (Lance Henriksen does a great job of conveying a younger, inexperienced character) learning to use his gift and the botched raid that captured the killer and cost two agents their lives. The scenes from the killer's POV are very effective, where he imagines them asking to be killed. This series more than any other did a great job of showing the perceptions and attitudes of the killers it portrayed.

    It's a Morgan and Wong episode, so Frank seems a little more human in this outing. His interplay with Bletcher is nice (he even cracks a smile at one point.) Carter tended to make Frank grim to a fault. I understand he was supposed to be the "calm in the storm," but sometimes it went too far. I think Morgan and Wong were the guys who understood the best how to write for Lance Henriksen.

    If there's a minor complaint, it's that Frank uses a gun at the end of the show. I always liked the fact that he didn't carry one. All in all, it is a great episode and another in the string of the 2nd half of "Millennium's" first season that is good from start to finish.moreless
Jeremy Roberts

Jeremy Roberts

Richard Alan Hance

Guest Star

Scott Heindl

Scott Heindl

Jacob Tyler

Guest Star

Ken Tremblett

Ken Tremblett

Agent Riley

Guest Star

Bill Smitrovich

Bill Smitrovich

Lt. Bob Bletcher

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • The "death card" used in Vietnam was only the ace of spades. This because it was considered unlucky by the Vietnamese. None of the other cards in the deck were used.

    • Hance's birthday is given as February 1953 and that he entered the Army after his grandparents were killed when he was 17. This gives an enlistment date sometime in late 1970 at the very earliest. While it would be possible for him to have served two one-year tours in Vietnam before the final pull-out in early 1973, they would not likely have been ground combat tours as to viewer is supposed to infer. After the Cambodian campaign in early to mid-1970, Vietnamization (turn-over of operations to the Vietnamese Military) American military operations were limited to advising, intelligence, supply, and various forms of combat support. After 1970 there were too few American combat troops for any sort of major combat operation.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Hance: I mark 'em, on the palm. That's my trademark. That makes them my property - my meat.
      Frank: And the third?
      Hance: The third one was a coward. I ate his fear up like it was a Thanksgiving meal. His sweat was the cranberry sauce. His breath was the stuffing. And those frozen eyes? They were the dark meat.
      Frank: You marked him - but you didn't kill him.
      (He bends back his hand to show Hance his scar.)

    • "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

  • NOTES (1)


    • In the security tape of the convenience store, the time reads: 10.13.** (where each star is a constantly changing digit). Chris Carter's (the creator of the show) birthday is 10/13/56 (that's why his company is named 1013 Productions). This allusion is seen much more on The X-Files.