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Barney Miller is the kind of cop we'd all like to run into. He is always sensible. He maintains order over a squad room of detectives who gamble for a hobby, get hit on by anything in skirts, go to renaissance philosophy conventions for fun, and would really prefer to be writing. Nearly all of the action takes place in the squad room where the citizens and criminals are brought in to complicate the mix. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of the props used on the police station set was a chalkboard used to show whether the policemen were on-duty or off-duty. When the show ended, the chalkboard was donated to the Smithsonian Television Museum. In addition to the names of the characters on the show, the board listed other names which were those of technicians who worked on the show's crew. The Smithsonian also has the police badges used by the actors (signed by producer Danny Arnold) and Jack Soo's coffee mug. See more »
"Barney Miller"....A Quality Series that was one of the best to come out of the 1970's and survived the early 1980's
If there was a great TV show that emphasize the decade of the 1970's,the situation comedy series "Barney Miller",was just that. This was a quality series that became one of television's greats. In perspectives,"Barney Miller" was a show that changed dramatically during the course of its seven year run,despite the fact that its plot,setting and basic cast remained the same. This was a show that quickly became one of the biggest hits for the ABC-TV network,producing 170 episodes during its seven year run on the network from the premiere episode on January 23,1975 until the final episode of the series on May 20,1982. The series was created by Danny Arnold,who served as the executive producer along with Theodore J. Flicker. Arnold also served as one of the writers of the show along with Chris Hayward. The series was produced by Arnold's production company Four D Productions in association with the ABC Television Network(the series was filmed in front of a studio audience at ABC Television Center in Hollywood).
The show was about a detective squad at a precinct house in New York City's Greenwich Village,and often the strange people from the community went in and out their door each week. At the beginning of the series,the pace of the police department was fast and the comedy a bit loud.,and the emphasis was one-on-one liners and quirkiness rather than on real characters. Captain Barney Miller(Hal Linden)was head of the precinct,very put-upon and overworked,but nevertheless always wise and friendly. Wojo(Max Gail)was the well meaning detective who was a bit lacking in smarts. Harris(Ron Glass)was funny,fashion-conscious,and cool,while Yemana(Jack Soo)was much more introverted,though he also would provide the occasional witty commentary. Fish(Abe Vigoda,who was on the show for two seasons before being spun off into their own show "Fish")was the elder statesmen,the old man on the verge of retirement who had more ailments than you could imagine. Chano(Gregory Sierra)was the normal of the bunch after Barney,and always tried to have a positive outlook despite being constantly exposed to the less inspiring side of life. Other characters that appeared were Barney's wife Liz(Barbara Barrie),Barney's supervisor Chief Inspector Frank Luger(James Gregory),and Officer Carl Levitt(Ron Carey),and Detective Arthur Dietrich(Steve Landesberg).
The detectives were racially mixed,which,at the show's inception,would occasionally provide for some comedy. Other detectives came and went after an episode or two,especially during the very early years of the series. Its amazing that "Barney Miller" survived,but it laid the groundwork for what was great comedy and the awards that this show received: It won the DGA Award from the Directors Guild of America in 1981,and it won back-to-back Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series(Hal Linden)in 1979,1980,and 1982. Not to mention winning the Peabody Award in 1979,and the Golden Globe for Best Television Comedy or Musical Series twice in 1976 and 1977.
Almost all of the action took place in the squad room and Barney's adjoining office,despite the fact that the station seemed very small considering its location. "Barney Miller" during the seven seasons that it ran on ABC,became a literate,well-written show with interesting characters and story lines mixed in with some grand comedy. In its later years it unfortunately suffered from "social-cause-of-the-week",syndrome by way of a'la' Lou Grant and every other socially conscious show that exploded onto TV screens in the mid-1970's and early 1980's. This was a series that is highly recommended as one of the best to come out of the 1970's and survived until its demise in the early 1980's.
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