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The Thin Blue Line






Dir Errol Morris
1988
My highest rating doc. The movie was made to help reverse a death row sentence of a convicted cop killer. Erroll Morris spent 30 months researching the case against Adams. The documentary was originally going to look at a state psychiatrist named James Grigson (Dr. Death) who almost always found his patients capable and most likely to murder again. It was during this process that he came upon Adams case. It was not so much that Adams convinced Morris that he was innocent, but rather that another young man (Harris) who was involved, was guilty.

In the course of Morris's interviews he asks Harris if Adams is innocent? Harris replies I am sure he is. Morris asks, How can you be sure? to which Harris says because I am the one who knows. When the dust cleared Adams was released.

many who do not usually enjoy documentaries might enjoy this one. Morris blends official police transcripts and evidence with his own interviews with many of the significant witnesses in the case. The result makes the film seem more like a drama than a documentary. By the time the film is over he has, in my opinion, humiliated the Dallas police force and Grigson. He shows how the police likely targeted Adams because he was the right age for a death sentence, while Harris is still a juvenile; how Grigson based his testimony on minimal interaction with Adams; and how most of the evidence that convicted Adams came directly from Harris mouth. Good doc. Recommended for those who enjoy documentaries, true crime movies, or those who would like to give documentaries one last shot.


That is my last documentary on my top 100. I am not a documentary nut, but there also two others I recommend even though they are not in my top 100. "Jesus Camp" and "One Day in September".