The Thin White Line   Credits   Gallery   Transcript    

"The Thin White Line" is the fourteenth episode of the first season of Millennium.


Frank Black is haunted by a case he worked on twenty years ago involving a serial killer who murdered three FBI agents on a stake-out that he participated in. Blaming his own inaction for the deaths, Frank desperately tries to stop a criminal who has learned to kill by copying the same serial killer.


Anne Rothenburg answers a knock on her front door. When she speaks to the man waiting there, he hears something else entirely; believing that she is giving her consent to be murdered, he attacks her.

Millennium Group consultant Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) visits a Seattle hospital to pick up his wife Catherine (Megan Gallagher), who works there as a counsellor. Rothenburg is brought in on a stretcher by paramedics. Black notices a peculiar slash across her palm, and glances down at his own, which bears a scar matching the woman's cut exactly. Rothenburg then dies of her injuries.

Black contacts Seattle Police Department detective Bob Bletcher (Bill Smitrovich) for information on Rothenburg. Her husband found her when he came home, assuming that she had surprised a burglar. Elsewhere, her attacker shoots the clerk in a liquor store, again hearing the victim give permission to be killed. Black and Bletcher review security camera footage of the crime, which leads to them discovering half a playing card—the Jack of Spades—at the scene. Rothenburg's home is searched and the other half is found there.

Black tells Bletcher about Richard Alan Hance (Jeremy Roberts), a serial killer Black had helped to apprehend twenty years before. Hance was a disturbed Vietnam War veteran who marked his kills with half a playing card, a custom he picked up during his tours of duty. Black was one of a number of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who responded to an anonymous tip, leading them to Hance's location — however, the tip was called in by Hance himself and the raid became an ambush. Three agents were killed, and Black was cornered by Hance, who cut open his palm and nearly took Black's life before the young Black was able to overpower and arrest him.

In the present, Black realizes that the current murderer must be Hance's former cellmate Jacob Tyler (Scott Heindl). Black visits Hance in prison, and upon speaking to Hance, realizes that Tyler believes himself Hance's reincarnation, aspiring to follow his methods exactly. Meanwhile, Tyler calls the police and leaves an anonymous tip, telling them that the liquor store murderer is hiding in an abandoned building. Black accompanies a SWAT team encircling the building, but the officers come under sniper fire from a construction site across the street. Black and Bletcher separate as they search for Tyler, who gets the drop on Black. Black disarms Tyler, attempting to talk him into surrendering. Tyler empties a handgun at Black, but misses; when Bletcher confronts him, Tyler points the gun and Bletcher instinctively shoots and kills him.

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