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The Long Blue Line


When a 10 year old homicide is resurrected, a fourth generation Irish cop is chosen to lead the investigation. As he closes in on the answers, he is disturbed to learn that his retired father is involved in the case.



Air Dates

  • First Run - April 24, 1981
  • Repeat - July 28, 1981





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9 Responses to Episode 1189

A few thoughts...not as long-winded this time. - One of if not the best Mandel Kramer performances, IMO. He was best known on the small screen, I think, for his 20 year role as Police Chief Bill Marceau on the old "Edge of night" series (where he acted alongside a LOT of future TV stars). Kramer seemed to play the role of detective fairly well...I remember him doing so on a former episode, "The raft". Earl Hammond and Marian Seldes did well in this three-person play, too. The RMT's "A-team" was in on this one, including scriptwriter Sam Dann. - It's hard for me not to comment on the CBS RMT/Twilight Zone music library as it was so well done. One thing that I remember far more of on the RMT than TWZ is "dream sequence" music...usually involving a Fender Rhodes or acoustic piano over a sustained string and/or woodwind music bed. There were at least four such "dream sequence" music beds that I recall and probably more that I don' was used at the end of the second act (right at the end of the "clothing incident") on l"Star Sapphire". One was used extensively during Ian Martin's narration of the wonderful "Secret chamber". And one of the "four" is used frequently in this episode several times (one right after Kramer's character has used the silencer). This bed's been used frequently in the RMT, and it never gets old to me. MAN, I'd love to have met some of those CBS composers. - This episode is far from being as controversial as "Star Sapphire" but... In these days of political correctness, how frequently do we hear of an ostensibly communist man of questionable sexuality in an apparent "Brokeback Mountain" style (as defined by Hollywood) marriage who plays a bad guy? It's almost as if, IMO, "Star Sapphire" would have been a provocative play in its day of first airing, but "The long, blue line" might be more controversial today. - Finally, I'm sure there've been TV shows and movies where a policeman/detective son has had to arrest his policeman/detective father...I just can't remember any whatsoever right now. I thought this was handled quite well, which leads me to... - Any of you "X-files" watchers (former or current in rerun) out there remember an episode entitled "Travelers", with Fox Mulder's TV Dad making an appearance? Remember that hideous creature that was in that episode, that had been planted by the government (of course) in some innocent guy, who when the creature inside him was hungry would corner his victims (one of them his loving, supportive wife) whereupon the thing would pop out of his mouth and do unmentionable things to the victim? Remember how when Mulder's father finally corralled the guy, he did the thing a good law enforcement officer would do to protect other innocent people. He...let...him...go?!?!? (I remember in narration that Mulder, Sr. said that by doing so he hoped the "truth would eventually come out" or some such rubbish.) I first saw that episode in rerun about the time I first heard RMT's "The long, blue line". The difference in values, and generations, between the RMT and the X-files couldn't have been more stark.

Jones P.

I liked the episode a lot. I'll echo the above comments - a t.v. episode that portrayed a 50's-era actor as being a Communist agent, would draw so much heat, that it would unfortunately never make it on-air.

Willmon Ryan

And this isn't even a "whodunit", much less a scary mystery show (though it has it moments of suspense (of sorts), I guess, at the very end.) It's a good old-fashioned morality tale, the kind that pretty much only the RMT did within its radio theatre genre. It's funny...last night we had a suspected prowler at our business (where I frequently work by myself without any worry) and I called in the police...two officers arrived with a german shepherd. They weren't able to find anyone in there so maybe it was a false alarm. But I was sure glad they were there. And I'm also reminded of an early 70s era bumper sticker I saw in my hometown of Springfield, MO: "If you don't like the pigs, next time you're in trouble call a hippie." Both instances cited above would mesh well in a montage with "The long, blue line".

Debbie Lawson

I liked this episode. Though the accent of the main character was so bad I almost didn't notice he had one. lol

John Byron C.

I thought this episode could have been better. I was a little boared half way through and found myself drifting a bit. The ending was a bit anti-climatic. I thought all along that the sone would take that course of action and that the father would have the respose he did in return. I'm trying not to give the ending away. But like I said, I didn't find it too difficult to figure out.

J. Scarr

A good show, well acted and produced, but I find it difficult to comment on. There doesn't seem to be much to say. It's straight-forward, unambiguous, and all the loose threads are tied up. Not sure why the ailing, dying spouse had to die for ten years before she died. A detail that did surprise me was . . . the murder is done to prevent the spouse from learning of the infidelity, but she knows of it all the while, which makes the crime even more evil and useless. Been moving across the country . . . hope to contribute more regularly now . . . now that I'm in North Dakota!!


The "long Blue Line" is an excellent episode, plays out well with interesting flashbacks slowly revealing all. It is very layered if you give thought to how useless the crime was. This was well written and acted, just ignore the accent attempts!


I couldn’t get beyond Mandel’s horrible attempt at an accent. I agree with John in that for a good part of the episode I was blissfully unaware of his attempt to affect an Irish accent. Then when the realization sunk in I couldn’t get beyond it. Sam Dann contributed SO much to CBSRMT that I am reluctant to criticize but this IMO was not one of his better efforts.


"Not as long winded as last time.." thank goodness I missed that one...


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