The Blue Line is the sixteenth episode of Due South's first season.

Storyline: Fraser encounters a childhood friend, Mark Smithbauer, who is now a major hockey star receiving death threats. Smithbauer's enormous hubris complicates Fraser's efforts to help him.

Original Airdate: March 9, 1995

Written by David Shore

Directed by George Bloomfield

Synopsis Edit

To Fraser's dismay, Ray is putting his newly acquired 1971 Buick Riviera through its paces by executing a number of illegal turns on city streets when they spot Mark Smithbauer - a childhood friend of Fraser's, now a prominent Chicago hockey player - going into a liquour store. As Diefenbaker is a huge fan, Fraser promises to get an autograph for him. Just after he follows Smithbauer into the store, a masked gunman barges in and attempts to hold the store up; but Fraser checks him by warning him of the consequences. The gunman flees amidst a hail of bullets from the other patrons. When Fraser tries to assure Smithbauer that the danger has passed, Smithbauer clobbers him with a bottle and dashes out the back door.

Hoping to jog Smithbauer's memory, Fraser goes to his penthouse, where he and Ray find Huey and Gardino interviewing Smithbauer about the holdup. Smithbauer, in the midst of ranting about his star power over Chicago's economy, contends that it was an attempt on his life. He shows no sign of remembering Fraser, who nevertheless obtains the coveted autograph for Diefenbaker. On a later visit to Smithbauer's motor home, Fraser recalls the hockey games they played together as teenagers in Inuvik. Smithbauer doesn't share the memories, but instead hires Fraser as his bodyguard before stepping out to play a publicity-stunt hockey game with a group of local kids. His publicist, Dawn Charest, shows Fraser several threatening notes that Smithbauer has received in recent weeks.

Fraser Hockey Player The Blue Line
Fraser sits down to watch several videotaped hockey games with his neighbours, and spots an irate fan screaming "You hurt my kid!" at Smithbauer after he threw a broken stick into the stands. With the fan identified, he and Ray make haste to the rink where Smithbauer and the rest of his team are practising. The irate fan is posing as a janitor; after Fraser and Ray apprehend him, he shouts that Smithbauer cut his own stick. Confronted with this news, Smithbauer angrily tells Fraser to keep his nose clear, but he narrowly escapes being deliberately hit by a car after he leaves the rink.

With no one to trust but Fraser, Smithbauer pays him a friendly visit at his apartment. They reminisce about old times, but not before he explains his dilemma: he was paid to throw a game a couple of weeks ago, but he denies having done so, or accepting the payment. Ray learns more: he identifies a well-known bookie named Turk Broda as the owner of the car that tried to run Smithbauer down. Ray believes that Smithbauer took the money and reneged on the deal, but Fraser denies it, insisting that the sport is his friend's life. He is forced to think again as he and Smithbauer walk home from the rink and are once again assaulted by Broda's thug-filled car.

Fraser and Smithbauer skate for their lives down ice-covered streets, with Broda and his men close behind and Ray giving chase. Reaching a parking lot, Smithbauer trips on a manhole cover and injures his knee; but with Fraser creating a diversion, he manages to stand up long enough to shoot a rock into Broda's car with his hockey stick, sending the car sliding out of control and smashing into two other parked vehicles. The same befalls two arriving police cruisers. Later, Smithbauer tells Fraser the whole story: his avarice had reached the point where he took the money without an argument, and though he had intended to throw the game as asked, his childhood love of the sport came rushing back to him in the final moments of the game and he scored the winning goal. He receives a lifetime suspension, but the episode closes with him playing on a frozen downtown pond with Fraser, Ray, and a local boy.

Cast Edit

  • Rick Rossovich as Mark Smithbauer
  • Miguel Fernandes as Turk Broda
  • Tracey Cook as Dawn Charest
  • Gordon Pinsent as Robert Fraser (voice)
  • Kevin Hicks as Henderson
  • Wayne Best as Hall
  • Andrew Moodie as Dryden

Soundtrack Edit

  • Theme from "Hockey Night in Canada" by Dolores Claman

Memorable Quotes Edit

Benton Fraser: You know, he probably assumed that I was an accomplice.
Ray Vecchio: You're making up a lot of excuses for this guy, Benny.
Benton Fraser: No I'm not, I'm just trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. There is a difference.
Ray Vecchio: What he doesn't need is more benefits! You know what a place like this costs? This guy must be pulling down seven figures for playing one of the stupidest sports ever invented. Every time I pick up the paper, he's whining about his knee, complaining about this, moaning about that...
Benton Fraser: Hockey is a very demanding sport, Ray.
Ray Vecchio: Oh, gimme a break, I was just being polite calling it a sport. You know what hockey's like? Hockey is like figure skating with clubs!

Ray Vecchio: After further consideration, I have changed my mind, sir. I do not believe it was a robbery.

Lt. Welsh: Liquour store, mask, think we're jumping to conclusions, do you?
Ray Vecchio: Uh, yes, sir. The gunman, sir, he was wearing a cashmere jacket and driving a black Cadillac. These are kind of expensive things for a two-bit hood, would you not say so, sir?
Lt. Welsh: Detective, I'm surprised you haven't picked up on that little-known fact about thieves - they usually don't pay for things.

(using the Riv for gunfire cover)

Ray Vecchio: Brand-new paint job, waxed and detailed! You have any idea what the windows for a Buick Riviera cost?!
Benton Fraser: Thought you went home.
Ray Vecchio: Oh, you're welcome!

Ray Vecchio: Not too smart, using a stick to attack a player in full gear!

Angry Fan: I wasn't attacking him!
Ray Vecchio: Yeah, and I'm not arresting you, either!
Angry Fan: Look, I just wanted to put it in his face! He can't do that and get away with it!
Ray Vecchio: Do I look like I'm interested? You have the right to remain silent, why don't you use it!

Ray Vecchio: (calling out on his radio) Officer in pursuit of black Cadillac, in pursuit of two guys on ice skates! Why is that so hard to believe?!