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Barney Miller

By Paul Gaita

The brainchild of veteran writer-directors Danny Arnold and Theodore J. Flicker, the comedy/drama Barney Miller (1975-1982) offered a very human look at the inner workings of a New York City police precinct; its wry and observant scripts, aided by a stellar cast, helped earn the series three Emmy Awards and a devoted fan base, which should be pleased by this two-disc set that compiles its entire first season. Viewers familiar with the series' later seasons will notice substantial differences in the cast and storyline; episodes divide Barney's (Hal Linden) time evenly between the 12th Precinct and his apartment, which he shares with wife Barbara Barrie and two children (all of whom would be phased out of the series). The first season squad was composed of Abe Vigoda's dyspeptic Fish, the overeager Wojciehowicz (Max Gail), dry-witted Yemana (Jack Soo, who passed away during the fifth season), and street-smart Chano (Gregory Sierra, who departed the series after the second season); Ron Glass's dapper Harris would not be listed in the opening credits until subsequent seasons.

Arnold, along with Chris Hayward (Get Smart) and other scribes, would pen the majority of the first season, which set the tone for the series by pitting the squad against a host of offbeat criminals, other cops, and regular citizens, several of whom would become semi-regulars; James Gregory's crusty Inspector Luger makes his debut in "Vigilante" (episode 9), while unscrupulous lawyer Arnold Ripner (Alex Henteloff) and Detective Wentworth (a pre-Alice Linda Lavin) have their first appearances in "The Experience" (episode 2) and "Ms. Cop" (episode 8), respectively.

Columbia/TriStar's two-disc set offers all 13 episodes of the first season, as well as short credit lists for some of the major players; the little-seen 1974 pilot, "The Life and Times of Captain Barney Miller," might have made an interesting supplemental feature, but fans should be pleased to have this set regardless.

 

Share Your Memories In Our Forums!

Check out our Barney Miller forum! Do you have a favorite episode of the show? What do you remember about the series? Do you have any questions about it or its stars? Now you can post comments and questions directly to our TV forums! Click here to see what other Barney Miller viewers have said or to post your own comments about the show!

Your Memories Shared!

I was very young when the show first aired. I'm enjoying the shows more, now that I'm so much older and can appreciate the show's slick comedy. It's difficult to believe that the show was written back in the '70's. Barney Miller was ahead of its time!

--S.L.

Note: This is just a random sample of the Barney Miller messages in our TV forums! Click here to see what others have said or to post your own comments!

 

TV TIDBITS

Aired: January 23, 1975 - September 9, 1982

Cast: Hal Linden, Abe Vigoda, Gregory Sierra, Jack Soo, Maxwell Gail, Ron Glass

Network: ABC

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

Image courtesy of ABC


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